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You know, if you look back in the 1930s, the money went to infrastructure. The bridges, the municipal buildings, the roads, those were all built with stimulus money spent on infrastructure. This stimulus bill has fundamentally gone, started out with a $500 rebate check, remember. That went to buy flat-screen TVs made in China.
As it happens, Chicago is the nation's leader in municipal privatization efforts. That's right: The city that conservatives portray as the citadel of the power-grabbing, government-growing left has been selling itself off in pieces for years. It signed a 99-year lease for the Chicago Skyway, a toll road in the city's South Side, back in 2005.
Public borrowing is costly these days, true, but interest rates on municipal bonds are still considerably lower than those borne by corporate debt.
My view is that good community management is like having good municipal government: You should be able to have dissenting opinions and so on, freedom of speech, but your grandmother should also be able to walk down the street at night without having to worry about getting mugged.
Lebanon is restless, Syria got its walking papers, Egypt is scheduling elections with more than one candidate, and even Saudi Arabia, whose rulers are perhaps more terrified of women than rulers anywhere else in the world, allowed limited municipal elections.
Norway is a small country, about half the size of Sweden, but it has a very good film climate because they have municipal cinemas, so even in the smallest towns you have a cinema that shows art house films from all over the world.
Municipal networks expand economic opportunities. We've got to open new doors, not slam them shut.
Municipal debt outstanding doubled in the past 10 years. And in the past 30 years, the U.S. has been in real economic nirvana.
There are great municipal investments out there, but on a blanket basis you have to be really careful about knowing what cash flows are supporting your investments.
No sane local official who has hung up an empty stocking over the municipal fireplace, is going to shoot Santa Claus just before a hard Christmas.
Alfred E. Smith
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