Ben is in DC working as a congressional intern and Leslie takes the opportunity to head to Washington, D.C. to ask for federal funding the clean up the Pawnee River, which is a bit of a “fixer-upper.” This rent seeking behavior is common when entities are seeking federal funding for items that will only benefit their areas.
Ben and Leslie propose a solution to solving the budget crises, but accidentally suggest that all D1 employees (low-level) should be terminated. Because there is a limited amount of funds available in the city budget, any money moving to one department must come at the expense of another department.
Leslie asks a city councilor to not cut the Parks budget 8% and to find the money somewhere else. The counselor decides to propose shutting down the local animal shelter in exchange. Because funding is scarce in the local government, the city councilors have to cut funding in one area to save another department.
The government often provides services for public goods and common goods when the private market isn’t ready to accept that responsibility. Because Ron is a big believe in free markets, he isn’t happy that federal money is being spent on providing common resources for the community. He believes that the best kind of park would be one ran by Chuck E. Cheese.