The answer, and a common-sense one, was that plenty of our money is flowing to local governments, only it's not being spent very effectively. No surprise: Look at the reaction when Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker talks about using more seasonal staff for a seasonal service such as parks or when he brings up hiring lower-cost private contractors. It's plain that some people see lowered labor costs as being incompatible with the public interest.
It is as if public services were, literally, priceless. From the standpoint of companies that employ the people who pay the bill, that's a hard attitude to justify. Our present ways of doing things, even our present levels of service, really do have a price, as does the attitude that it's gauche to bring up the cost.
Again, McIlheran is behind the times, but at least not by three years this time. That witty, charming, and ruggedly handsome contributor at folkbum's already covered the subject, pointing out there is a better way than to decimate the county and to sell off the remains.
Oh, and Patrick--There are thousands of people in Milwaukee County who receive services, which, to them, is literally a matter of life and death. I would think that someone that values life as much as you, would be all for them to get these services.