What’s The Matter With MoCo?
Remember New York Times reporter Thomas Frank’s book What’s The Matter with Kansas? Frank stated that middle class Kansans were stupid for supposedly voting against their economic interests and voting for Republicans on values issues. That is, the slack-jawed yokels in Kansas are morons or were brainwashed because they did not vote according to the left’s prescriptions. Forget for a moment the myth that voting Republican is somehow against your economic interests, the real issue is this old Marxist trope of the “false consciousness.” While Marxism, for the most part, enjoys a prominent slot in history’s ash heap, “false consciousness” lives on in what Jonah Goldberg accurately defines as cosmopolitanism. “Enlightened” cosmopolitans use this trick to accuse Republicans of distracting the masses away from voting their own economic interests, with faux cultural issues (i.e. guns, gays, and God).
The proposed tax increases for the upcoming special session give us a chance to turn that argument back on the cosmopolitan progressives, and tilt it on its head. Now the question is are the progressive Montgomery County delegates and senators going to vote their “progressive values” against their own economic interests. In other words, turning a popular progressive idiom on its head, is the political, personal? Montgomery County will bear the brunt of the tax increases. Blair Lee noted that:
Montgomery County is the home of 41 percent of Maryland’s families with incomes over $250,000, Montgomery will generate 81 percent of the new state revenues. That’s right, Montgomery County — with 16.5 percent of the state’s population —will pay 81 percent of the state’s $163 million income tax increase. Baltimore city and Prince George’s County taxpayers will actually pay less than they’re currently paying.
Lee is of the opinion that MoCo will vote its progressive values, and play the part of O’Malley’s fellow travelers continuing to provide us with its greatest export, “moral superiority.” Lee writes, “Montgomery’s state lawmakers support the governor’s income tax plan because it’s ‘‘progressive,” it taxes the wealthy who mostly live in Montgomery. So, as usual, our representatives place principle over politics. Taxing ourselves more is the right thing to do, they say. How can you argue against fairness, they ask?
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My Red Maryland colleague streiff thinks differently. He believes that there is already a great deal of local pressure bearing on the MoCo delegation to oppose O’Malley’s massive tax hikes.
It will be interesting to track the MoCo delegation during the special session to see which way they vote. If they vote their values and go along with O’Gov, they would at least have the courage of their convictions, however misguided those convictions are. However, if they vote against O’Malley, then we will have to wonder what it says about the strength of so- called “progressive values;” if progressives abandon them when their own personal economic interests are at stake.
crossposted on The Main Adversary