Here’s an idea from Britain that American taxpayers might want to adopt. In a 9/2/09 Financial Times article, Nicholas Timmins, the public policy editor, summarizes a concept called Total Place, a comprehensive analysis that adds up all the public money spent in a region. In Britain, the results of two pilot studies has raised some eyebrows and led to the call for several more studies.
In the U.S., the Census Bureau maintains statistics on the amount of funds that state sends to and gets from the Federal Government. But there is no comprehensive analysis of total Federal, State and local public spending. Would we find the same disparities in per capita spending in regions of similar population density and how would we react if there were striking differences?