Playing pundit

She’s not known for the op-ed, but Maryland GOP Chair Diana Waterman tried her hand at the art of the written world recently, penning a piece called “Free Markets, Free People Eliminate Poverty.”

In last week’s edition of The Economist, it was reported that capitalism and free markets are credited with helping pull over one billion people out of poverty in the last 20 years. The article also pointed out that the biggest obstacle to bringing another billion people out of destitution are governments that progressively take over more control of the individual and only “boost inequality.” It said, “the biggest poverty-reduction measure of all is liberalising  markets to let poor people get richer.”

This discussion is very important to the future of the United States because the real battle is occurring in state capitals across the county. Republican Governors like Rick Snyder in Michigan, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, and Brian Sandoval in Nevada are working to balance state budgets, lower dependency on government, and create an environment that is more friendly for job creators. However, in states like Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley has continued a sense of hostility and rigidness that has only served to send businesses to nearby states where they are welcomed with open arms.

Prior to the release of that article, Governor O’Malley gave a speech to far-left Washington insiders at the Center for American Progress to discuss his policies here in Maryland, the same kind of policies that have limited the potential success of so many around the world. To highlight his delusion, at one point in the speech, he said, “We have cut, in Maryland, more spending than ever before in state history.” The facts say otherwise. Spending in Annapolis has skyrocketed nearly 30% from $28.8 billion in 2007 to $36.8 billion for 2014. This spending increase has been matched by sharply raising taxes 54 times for a total of $2.8 billion, or nearly $2,000 per family per year.

In his speech, Governor O’Malley attacked reform-minded Republicans like Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin for the broad expansion of jobs and opportunity to all Americans. Well Governor, your tired rhetoric is wrong, your attacks are backwards, and The Economist agrees.  As Republicans, we do not want to limit success. We want every person who has the desire to be successful, a willingness to work hard, and play by the rules to meet their maximum potential.

Martin O’Malley and Anthony Brown’s method of governing has tried and it has failed. Liberalism has failed the unemployed among us. Liberalism has failed the small businesses struggling to survive. Liberalism has failed college students who cannot find a job when they graduate. And catastrophes like the Baltimore City Jail have proven that liberalism has failed the trust of the people of Maryland.

Now is the time for a new direction and new leadership. We invite you, your family, and your friends to join the Republican Party where we believe it is our role to make government smarter, more effective, and more efficient. If you believe that your taxes are too high, your freedom is under assault, and your government is out of control, then we welcome you to join your 1,000,000 fellow voters in the Maryland Republican Party. On Thursday, June 20th, we invite all voters to hear Congressman Paul Ryan discuss his “Path to Prosperity” at the 23rd Annual Red, White, and Blue Dinner at the Renaissance Hotel in Baltimore City.

Republicans are ready to serve and we need your help. If you would like more information about running for office or the Maryland Republican Party, please visit or call us at 410-263-2125.

Waterman’s op-ed has a nice length, and makes some great points. But the message I got out of the piece in The Economist was twofold: it would take a global push to eradicate poverty around the world, sponsored by government, and a social safety net was required. At one point in the Economist piece they remark:

The world now knows how to reduce poverty. A lot of targeted policies — basic social safety nets and cash-transfer schemes, such as Brazil’s Bolsa Família — help.

According to Wikipedia, 26 percent of the Brazilian population is covered under the Bolsa Familia program, which has in the past been propped up by loans from the World Bank. In essence, this is the same sort of governmental wealth redistribution scheme which Martin O’Malley has been trying for seven years to perfect and shore up a permanent underclass which will continually vote Democratic. Perhaps The Economist lauds capitalism for its effect in creating wealth for governments to redistribute as they see fit, so perhaps Waterman picked a weak analogy for her point. After all, it’s those who succeed in Maryland – despite the headwinds put in place by state government – which drive the state’s economy.

A stronger thought piece was put out on Tuesday by Dan Bongino, soon to be officially a candidate for Congress. In speaking about the NSA scandal, he packed a lot of wisdom into a short release called “Why the NSA Scandal Matters”:

As a former federal agent who has appropriately used the judicial review provisions of our Constitution to gather information while investigating criminality, I am tired of the “If you are doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide” argument concerning violations of privacy. You may continue to ignore the government’s relentless pursuit of expansive new powers but I assure you, it is not ignoring you.

As Americans, we value our liberty and its corresponding privacy. We have the right to choose which part of our lives should be public and which should remain private. The fact that we do not want our private lives monitored by government representatives who can use the information for malicious purposes (exhibit 1: IRS), does not mean we have something criminal to hide.

It is the reason we put shutters on our windows, passwords on our accounts and phones and keep the doors to our homes closed. We want to choose when the public self begins and the private self ends and we certainly do not want the government to make that choice for us.

The overwhelming majority of Americans are good people who make mistakes on a regular basis but very few of these mistakes involve criminality or deadly intent and I object to being monitored using the exact same tactics for both.

If an American’s private life does not include criminal behavior or infringe on the rights of others, why should government representatives be allowed an open door into our lives while using their expanding government bureaucracy to hide behind their own?

If you believe, like I do, that we should stand up against big government overreach, please join our campaign today and contribute to our cause.

Now it helps Bongino’s message when he has some personal experience with the subject, but he goes farther to personalize the situation for the intended audience using a number of simple real-life examples. Furthermore, he appeals to the good in all of us while realizing that many of us slip up on occasion – although I would be interested to know what he defines as “mistakes.”

I will make the point here that Dan Bongino has spent the last two years running for some office or other and in that time he’s had many opportunities for refining and honing his message for mass consumption. On the other hand, Diana’s been behind the scenes as an organizer who’s never really had to create a message which appeals to the masses. She did a reasonable job with this opinion piece, as on the surface it makes very good points. And while I have my interpretation of the underlying message of the Economist piece, quite frankly, 99 percent of the people who read this op-ed in their local paper (should it show up there) will never see it. The reference is truly there simply for gravitas.

On the whole I believe we can – and should – point out Martin O’Malley’s many foibles, although it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. But we also have to present a credible alternative, so hopefully Waterman (or whoever is writing these under her name) will continue to work on that side of the equation. Indeed, it’s likely we will be running against a continuation of the O’Malley-Brown regime here in Maryland, but Republicans need to make their intentions clear and defensible against the oncoming onslaught by the state and national media.

2 thoughts on “Playing pundit”

  1. Michael,

    Looking at the Economist article, I’m not seeing the same message that you seem to have drawn from it.

    It is noted in the article that some of these programs can help, but the second half of that paragraph says “But the biggest poverty-reduction measure of all is liberalising markets to let poor people get richer. That means freeing trade between countries (Africa is still cruelly punished by tariffs) and within them (China’s real great leap forward occurred because it allowed private business to grow). Both India and Africa are crowded with monopolies and restrictive practices.”

    That point was the main thrust of the article – government programs may be able to help a little bit, but if people are serious about making headway against poverty than the answer lies in freeing markets and trade, not in government programs or approaches like the Millenial Development Goals.

    It’s a minor point and not really material to the primary point you’re making here, but I thought it worth noting.

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