Socialism Isn’t The Answer

If you want to see yet another manifestation of Maryland’s gerrymander created Democratic dominance, look no further than this:

Fifty Maryland lawmakers are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to cancel rent and mortgage payments in the state for residents and businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent to Hogan Wednesday, the 50 Democratic lawmakers thanked the Republican governor for the actions he’s taken during the pandemic shutting down businesses and limiting gatherings, which they said have saved “countless” lives.

But they said they shutdown orders to slow the spread of the virus will cause “economic hardship on millions of Marylanders for months and years to come.”

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“Bold action is necessary to mitigate this financial devastation,” states the letter, written by Del. Jheanelle Wilkins of Montgomery County and signed by 49 other state delegates. “We therefore urge you to implement aggressive housing relief measures, such as cancelling rent and mortgage payments for businesses and residents affected by COVID-19.”

Now we obviously understand and agree with the idea that the Governor’s actions during this pandemic have saved lives, and we also agree with the fact that many Marylanders have suffered economically from those actions.

(Of course; there is nothing to suggest that these economic calamities would not have occurred anyway given the likely reticence of people to go places and leave their houses during a pandemic. But I digress.)

Unfortunately, 50 members of the General Assembly want to expand that economic suffering to even more people. Their proposals go far beyond just canceling rent and mortgage payments. They also include:

“In addition to rent and mortgage cancellation, we urge you to take executive action to require renewal of expiring leases, prohibit rent increases and late fees, and require that landlords negotiate reasonable, long-term payment plans. Finally, the undersigned urge the creation of a robust housing relief fund for renters and homeowners alike,” the lawmakers wrote.

The thing that Democrats, particularly the style of Democrat that we have in the Maryland General Assembly, is that they are incapable of grasping the real economic realities of their proposals.

What happens if rent doesn’t get paid? It means that landlords and property management companies don’t get paid. What happens if they don’t get paid? It means they too have to declare bankruptcy, lay off workers, or default on their mortgage and rent. Which then spirals to the people who own their property or their mortgage. And then they have economic hardships. And the cycle keeps repeating itself.

What happens when you prohibit rent increases? It means that property owners can’t cover the costs of doing business, especially during a time when the cost of business has increased due to the necessary precautions of social distancing and deep cleaning of public spaces in apartments, businesses, and other locations.

And those are just a few of the economic realities of their plan. That doesn’t even take into account the philosophical problem of requiring owners of private property to enter into any mandated long-term payment plans for mortgages, rent, or the like.

And then we get to the budget expenditures. The Democrats want to create a publicly-subsidized relief fund for renters and homeowners that will no doubt be filled by the taxpayer dollars. Of course, we already know that the state budget is already in a pandemic-induced tailspin that has already seen serious reductions in revenue estimates and will likely require serious reductions in state spending in this and future fiscal years. This tailspin is already likely to torpedo the Kirwan Commission recommendations, among other things. How could we possibly afford the creation of a new fund to pay for everybody’s housing?

These Democrats also discount all of what Governor Hogan has already done to protect housing in this time of pandemic. The Governor, by Executive Order, temporarily banned foreclosures, temporarily banned repossessions, and worked with private sector banks to make sure that borrows get financial relief.

(I hasten to point out that nobody has suggested doing anything for the landlords who own, maintain and rent out the property. Nor has anybody suggested doing anything for mortgage holders either.)

What Governor Hogan has already done is enough to make sure that people don’t lose their residences and, even further than what the Democrats wanted, don’t lose their electricity. What these Democrats (again, 50 Democrats; that’s almost 40% of the Democratic members of the General Assembly) want to do is to create a command economy. They want the government to decide who has to pay rent. They want the government to decide how leases are negotiated. They want the government to pay for people’s housing.

Yes, in the middle of a serious economic and public health crisis, 50 Democrats want to overthrow the economy and create an even bigger economic crisis.

Governor Hogan will surely never go for the radical proposals these Democrats have proposed. And this, once again, goes to show the importance that redistricting will have on Maryland. When Governor Hogan finally gets a chance to pay attention to this next year, we will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create fair districts that accurately represent the people of Maryland. Districts that do not allow Democrats to nominate the person who carries around the most radical proposals and thoughts deep in the recesses of their minds. And maybe we can live in a world where there aren’t 50 Democrats in the General Assembly who want to implement their socialist utopia in the middle of a crisis.

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