Piled High and Deep

Tom Schaller proved once again in this morning’s Sun that just because you have a PhD in Political Science doesn’t mean you have any clue what you are talking about when it comes to actual policy:

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the union. Sure, it would be nice to recover revenues lost to neighboring states, but Maryland’s problem is not a lack of wealth but a lack of will.

The state’s structural deficit means that spending priorities outpace revenues. If Marylanders want the money to continue to invest in and develop their state – such as the Thornton Commission education goals – they should pay more in taxes. Alternatively, they can decide what programs they want to eliminate. Even in the Free State there are no free lunches.

Further complicating the slots issue is that you have too many groups promoting their individual agendas, with little if any regard for the state’s fiscal solvency.

Reread Schaller’s remarks here again. He is simultaneously complaining that:

  • The General Assembly lacks the will to raise taxes;
  • People in Maryland want Big Brother to do more and more; and
  • Every special interest group is promoting their special interest regardless of its impact on State Government.

It is fascinating to think that Schaller seriously believes that special interest groups, who are the genesis of a lot of our silly government spending programs, are the problem. The problem is, in actuality, decades of Democratic leadership that lacks the fiscal intelligence to rein in spending before the state begins to run out of money. They are the ones who cave in to these special interests that Schaller blames. If “spending priorities”, as Schaller likes to call government handouts and government largesse, are outpacing revenues, then clearly spending needs to be brought under control to ensure that revenues outpace spending. It does not take a PhD to figure that out.

Issac Smith tries to join the fiesta with this comment:

Trending: Red Maryland Radio: The Final Episode

Conservatives like to write off all government spending as pork, but the problem here isn’t quite so nefarious: The Thornton plan — perhaps the biggest contributor to the budget deficit — was meant to, among other things, eliminate funding disparities in the public schools, which I, and many others, think is an eminently worthy goal. One can question the efficacy of Thornton, or whether it’s a policy worth keeping in financially lean times, but to assume that the deficit is the result of the greedy maw of government is bizarre, I think.

Except that “the greedy maw of government” is exactly what the Thornton Commission created. A multi-billion dollar boondoggle without either revenue sources or budget offsets to pay for it. And let us not forget, also, that the Thornton plan was only passed when the formula was finessed in order to ensure that more money flowed to Montgomery County than in the original plan, since the Montgomery County delegation was the the margin of victory in carrying the Thornton vote.

One would do best to ignore Schaller’s suggestions entirely, and instead following a common sense approach of drastically cutting state spending, reducing taxes, and then beginning the process of phasing in new forms of legalized gambling as soon as possible. Instead, Schaller, Smith, and Democrats like them would prefer to do the same thing they always want to do; pay for Democratic mistakes out of the wallet of the poor and middle class taxpayers…


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