The Nation: New Federalism: Fore!

When Washington began sending revenue-sharing checks to local communities in 1972, the idea was to spur local solutions to local problems. Some cities used the money to meet obvious, social needs: hospitals, sanitation facilities, public transportation. Others, like Atlanta, tried to divide the money among homeowners and landlords. A few country hamlets, suspecting some dastardly Washington plot either to curtail their liberties or buy their allegiance, have sent back their checks uncashed. None of these answers was quite right, though, for the residents of St. Louis County, a wealthy suburban area outside...

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