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Downtown Detroit: local government has failed in the city

Can Britain go too far in empowering local governments? Strong mayors can be innovators who better understand the needs of their diverse constituencies, but the American experience demonstrates the downside of devolution as well as the upside.

In a sense, the American revolution was an early attempt to devolve power from London to local jurisdictions, and since 1783, the United States has typically had far more local authority than Britain. Our local jurisdictions typically play a key role providing, and often funding, some of the most critical services, including schools and…

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