Public Sector Unions

A reader emails a pair of editorials from The Economist on public sector unions. Here’s a taste: Politicians have repeatedly given in, usually sneakily—by swelling pensions, adding yet more holidays or dropping reforms, rather than by increasing pay. This time they have to fight because they are so short of money. But it is crucial [...]

What Do We Want From a Mayor?

What does a mayor do? My understanding is that a mayor’s goal is to preside over a growing population, lower crime rates, rising test scores, and improved municipal services. By all accounts, Bethlehem has experienced all of those conditions over the last decade. People are free to quibble on the details of specific decisions, but [...]

Harrisburg’s Fiscal Woes and the Case for Government Reform

Many of the stories I am reading about Harrisburg the city’s fiscal problems have suffered from underrating the importance of government structure in Pennsylvania as a contributing factor. Harrisburg is probably at least around stage 3 or 4 in the 5 Stages of Municipal Death. Chris Briem has a very good take on this: What [...]

PA Legislature Website Still Horrible

Scott Detrow reports on a new mobile website for the PA Legislature. It’s a nice enough gesture, but it’s not significantly more user-friendly than the horrible PA Senate website that looks like something I might have made on Geocities circa 1997. How hard would it be to spend a few thousand dollars to pay a [...]

Can YOU Solve America’s Problems?

The Obama administration is rolling out a platform for X-Prize-style contests across the federal government, tapping the cognitive surplus of the American people by crowd-sourcing ideas to make government more efficient, transparent, and responsive: The United States General Services Administration, or GSA, will run government-wide contests on a new prizes-for-solutions platform, in an attempt to [...]