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As America deals with the left’s latest effort to dominate local governments, we need to make two principles clear:

First, whether it’s Detroit or anyplace else, local decisions must bring natural consequences. No bailouts, no rescues. No protection from free-enterprise cities that outcompete authoritarian cities.

Second, a local authoritarian government is not superior to a federal authoritarian government.

Many local leaders are adept at politicking for federal money. Over $600 billion a year flows from the federal treasury to local and state governments for grants and projects. That’s more than enough already.

Ernest Istook is a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma. Listen online to his daily talk-radio show at, noon to 3 p.m. ET. Get his free email newsletter by signing up at