Purporting to Argue Otherwise

Thanks to Andrew Kujan for making my argument for me. Not surprisingly, he does it while enjoying his own high dudgeon at disagreeing with me.

Let’s see, where to start.

First, there is nothing “grandiose” about “The Main Adversary.” The Main Adversary is the term Soviet intelligence services used to identify the United States in its internal memoranda and communications. The Soviets used this term even as far back as 1919 when Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky the founded the Cheka, the precursor to what we know today as the KGB. See Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin’s The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB.

I chose The Main Adversary because I studied the Soviet and American communist movements in graduate school and I happened to like the idea of using that term as a name for my blog. How that constitutes “grandiose” is anyone’s guess.

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Here is the link to the Blair Lee column I referenced, a regrettable error on my part for not supplying the link. However, if Kujan was interested in reading the whole piece, he would not have had to look to far as one of his FSP colleagues recently blogged about it.

Young master Kujan writes:

Mark Newgent is missing the point. I still believe that Montgomery County reaps many benefits from the taxes they pay, and based on the relative wealth in the county, I am not sure how he purports to argue otherwise.

Well I do argue otherwise, with actual data. Kujan merely states his “progressive” beliefs as proof and leaves it at that. After all, he is a “progressive” and how could anything they believe in be wrong. Kujan, as he often does, creates a straw man to burn, by arguing against what someone DID NOT say. For example:

Blair Lee, who argues that because Moco pays the majority of state taxes, they deserve the majority of state services.

That is not what Lee argued. His argument was not that MoCo should get the majority of state services. Rather, Lee argues, MoCo would like to see a little more than the pittance they get from the state, in return for bearing a major portion of the costs for services that overwhelmingly benefit other jurisdictions, namely Baltimore City.

Kujan creates his assertion from some very thin air.

Kujan goes on to create a catastrophe scenario from his invented straw man:

This statewide economic and social catastrophe would find it’s way to MOCO, bringing an influx of the poor, looking for the social services they once enjoyed in Baltimore City. Their public schools would be strained to the breaking point, as failing schools in districts in Baltimore City and western Maryland would drive familes [sic] to the already overburdened county.

So now Montgomery county is overburdened?. I thought he just got done arguing they could afford to pay more, you know, because they reap the “many benefits from the taxes they pay, and based on the relative wealth in the county.”

Kujan’s “catastrophe” scenario is actually not far from the truth, but not a truth Kujan is willing to recognize, because progressives like him see the world as they wish it to be not as it really is.

In his column, Blair Lee notes an astounding demographic shift occurring in MoCo:

But while Montgomery is busy enlightening the world by example — by practicing fairness until it hurts — something is going on below the surface.

According to the latest census data an alarming population shift is taking place. During the last six years, Montgomery’s population grew by 58,000 but only because births exceeded deaths by 49,000 and because 62,000 people from foreign nations immigrated to Montgomery. The number of Montgomery residents who left the county for other parts of the state and nation actually exceeded, by 51,000, the number who moved into the county. In other words, thousands of Montgomery Countians are fleeing the county but their net 51,000 loss is masked by foreign newcomers. Only Baltimore city had a worse (-64,000) net internal population loss.

And how is this population shift affecting the county’s demographics? Well, during that same period the percentage of state taxpayers with incomes over $200,000 who live in Montgomery declined sharply while the percentage of people with no taxable income who live in the county showed a significant jump. Apparently, Montgomery is rapidly losing those two wage-earner families who buy homes, pay taxes and whose kids raise test scores. But don’t worry, when these trends come back to haunt us and when Montgomery needs help from Annapolis, the other counties are bound to recall our decades of ‘‘fairness” and to reciprocate in kind. We can count on it, right?

A good question, one I doubt Kujan has an answer to. Kujan’s “economic and social catastrophe” is on its way to MoCo already, even without it receiving the “majority of state services.”

Next Kujan writes:

Lets also not forget that despite it’s problems, Baltimore City is still an economic engine, providing jobs to many who live outside it’s limits. State funding to support City business, particularly minority and small businesses, if cut to “equal the benefits according to the amount of tax paid” would seriously hamper the Baltimore job market.

Once again, this is a rebuttal to an argument NO ONE MADE. Where in either my piece, or Blair Lee’s column, did either of us write the words, or call for funding “equal the benefits according to the amount of tax paid.” I’m not sure who Kujan is quoting, but it wasn’t Blair Lee or myself.

And finally, Kujan writes:

What it boils down to is that some in the state of Maryland refuse to acknowledge that our state, as all states, is a set of parts that make up a whole. When my tax money goes to pay for Baltimore City public schools, I benefit, despite not having any children. When my tax money goes to pay for cleaning up the bay, I know that it benefits me even though I may never visit the shoreline that was improved. It is a shared sacrifice, and it follows that those who make more will be able to bear a greater tax burden than those who make less.

Exactly how Kujan benefits from his tax dollars going to Baltimore city schools is another assertion he doesn’t justify. MoCo certainly does not benefit. How can it when MoCo tax dollars pay for the lions share of of school construction costs and MoCo gets the same amount money as Baltimore City, yet has 40% more students to service.

I’m sure it will come as a shock to young master Kujan that the flush tax and income tax are two different beasts. We all pay the flush tax, its not determined by income. Although, given the amount of BS Kujan generates he may pay more in flush tax than most of us.

As for Kujan’s “shared burden,” I wonder how much he will be willing to pony up to help the “rich” folks in MoCo when the current demographic shifts begin to affect its tax base, and MoCo residents can no longer afford to pay his “benefits.”

crossposted on The Main Adversary

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