Tags: Money | U.S. State Facts

Bloated Government Needs to Fast: Permanently

Friday, 20 November 2015 11:55 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Barack Obama’s greatest gift to the people of Maryland was the election of Republican Governor Larry Hogan, although that certainly wasn’t his intention.

Political experts initially gave Hogan almost no chance to win. Just before voting began the same experts continued to give him no chance.

Hogan wasn’t an ideal candidate. Twice before he had failed to win smaller races, meaning he had none of the “experience” so treasured by the media and Big Government supporters. Even worse, Hogan was matched against media darling Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a black man who spent most of the campaign measuring drapes for the governor’s office.

Hogan was outspent over 3 to 1 and behind in every poll save the last. Yet Hogan remained optimistic because he had secret weapons: Obamacare, executive order amnesty and Barack Obama’s general incompetence.

Faced with a choice between a handsome, incompetent, potentially first–black–governor–of–Maryland Democrat and a pasty–faced, overweight, real estate developer; Maryland voters took one look at Washington, D.C. and reached for the white bread.

Maryland voters have been reaping benefits ever since. As I wrote here in July, Hogan lowered bridge and highway tolls for the first time in 50 years and ended the monthly E–ZPass fee. Reductions predicted to result in a $336 million dollar saving for taxpayers.

At the same time he boosted spending on roads by 57 percent and cut the state’s contribution to another one of the left’s boutique transportation “solutions” — light rail between Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.

One complicating factor for Hogan is both the state senate and house remain in the hands of big-spending Democrats. The Republican governor only controls that portion of the executive branch not subverted by embedded leftist moles. Now you’re thinking, so?

The same situation hasn’t fazed Obama. Like Hogan, he controls the executive while the GOP controls the House and Senate, yet Obama runs roughshod over the government and the country.

True. But Democrats running the house and senate in Maryland aren’t political eunuchs afraid to stand up to the executive. They have no problem passing bills Hogan doesn’t want and then daring him to use his veto.

A predicted budget shortfall of $1.7 billion over the next four years enabled Hogan to convince the legislature not to fight his plan to reduce state spending by 2 percent.

Of course the legislature didn’t support the plan by voting to cut spending, that’s a precedent Maryland Democrats aren’t interested in establishing.

Instead the Democrat spenders supported the plan the same way Washington GOP leaders fight Obama: By doing nothing.

Hogan made spending reductions that don’t require legislative approval. Unfortunately his $118 million reduction is achieved by cutting 2 percent from every state agency, which is politically expedient, but not leadership.

Uniform reductions penalize the priority agencies and spare the peripheral.

In Hogan’s situation this is probably the best Maryland conservatives and taxpayers can realistically expect. Yet it is not enough. Victories like this are in the end ephemeral, because all Hogan has done is let a little air out of the balloon.

The big government Hindenburg still retains the capacity resume its former shape or to expand its diameter far past where it was before. All it requires is a new governor and an appropriation increase.

In fact the Washington Post reports the legislature is already trying to undue Hogan’s tiny reductions. Democrats are demanding “austerity relief” based on “higher-than-anticipated revenue projections.”

This is Charlie Sheen economics: Any spending cut or reduction in the rate of increase, however slight, is viewed as crushing austerity. Be optimistic about the future and party now!

Small cuts followed by spending increases that surpass the former baseline are the fiscal equivalent of yo–yo dieting.

This is why cuts are not enough for serious conservatives. Obama has given us a golden opportunity. His leadership failures have resulted in 32 Republican governors and 816 new Republican legislators. Republican control of legislatures has doubled since 2008.

Yet, what do conservatives have to show for it?

Too many of the newly elected consider their victory a personal triumph rather than a mandate to restore conservative principles in state government. This means voters must continue their vigilance and not view GOP control as an opportunity to relax pressure on government.

Don’t be satisfied with a governor, state senator, or state legislator that boasts of how much spending he’s cut. That’s impermanent and easily reversed by the spending–dependency complex.

Demand to know what state agencies have been eliminated. What regulatory bodies have been abolished? What taxes have been repealed?

Don’t settle for once again letting a little air out of the big government balloon.

Electing conservatives should have conservative consequences.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.


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Small cuts followed by spending increases are the fiscal equivalent of yo–yo dieting. Don’t settle for once again letting a little air out of the big government balloon. Electing conservatives should have conservative consequences.
Money, U.S. State Facts
Friday, 20 November 2015 11:55 AM
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