About equal to any other level of gov with the added benefit of being neighbors that I can harangue weekly at council meetings or the chance encounter in a grocery store. They are also more easily turned-out of office at lower levels and are themselves under less incentive to become careerist politicians than some guy in Washington or even the state capital.
All-in-all, I think local politics compares very favorably with national. Devolution from the fed would of necessity empoer the state and local levels. A good thing!
I do think there are many services that are very well suited on the local level. I have never argued that. But just as much, there are services that are much better suited at the Federal level. It is those services, that ultimately affect ALL Americans where it makes more sense to me to place the responsibility on a Federal level so as not to provide uneven or scattered value of service or to insure that the services are being done across the country in an even fashion as either commerce, health or the environment knows no state boundaries.
And, ultimately, though Bear will deny it, what we had in mind a couple hundred years ago.
Hard to know. If they were so intent on "State's Rights" you would think they would have been less interested in drawing up a SINGLE Constitution, a SINGLE Declaration of Independence and a SINGLE government with simple Representatives from the States.
If the founders had been so intent on the States being the primary focus of our Government the would not have had a President, a Congress, a Capitol with all the flourish of importance that it imparts.
From day one we started doing stuff as A COUNTRY. We bought the Louisiana Territories . Sent Lewis and Clark out west to explore and claim. We routed the Native Americans out of their homes as a Country, not as individual States.
Seems to me we have acted pretty much like a Country, acting for the good "off the Country" since pretty much Day1. Not a whole lot of "let's see what we can do for the ol' States".