Off by a couple days

Last week I said that Change Maryland may get to 70,000 Facebook friends by the end of the week; alas, I was apparently off by a couple days. Maybe it was the weekend ice storm which slowed them down, but Larry Hogan’s group eclipsed the mark earlier today. Here’s some of what the founder had to say:

The growth we’ve seen in the last few weeks is incredible. This further cements what we’ve been saying over the last two years: Marylanders, regardless of party, are ready to say enough is enough, and they’re ready to stand up together and fight back for a change.

When I started Change Maryland, my goal was to provide average Marylanders the chance to hold their elected officials accountable. I had no idea what kind of reaction we would get, so to say I am humbled by this amazing success would be an understatement, and I’d like to sincerely thank each and every person who has made this possible.

This campaign to Change Maryland has never been about Republicans vs. Democrats. It’s much more important than that. This is about all Marylanders and the future of our state. It’s about our children and grandchildren’s futures. It’s about all of us, working together to save the state that we love.

All that is great, and Larry’s group is undeniably one of the leaders in pointing out a number of flaws in the state’s current fiscal philosophy. But what I’m anxiously awaiting to find out is what prescriptions a Hogan adminstration would have to address the problems should he be fortunate enough to move into Government House thirteen months from now. We know all about the dozens and dozens of tax increases which have been placed into effect by Martin O’Malley and his (mostly) Democratic allies in the General Assembly; it’s a litany the release alluded to this afternoon:

The group has gained much attention for its various studies on the economic impact of the O’Malley-Brown Administration on the state, including a report detailing the 40 tax increases that have already taken $9.5 billion from the state economy and will take $20 billion by 2018. They also conducted the Tax Migration Study that showed 31,000 Marylanders leaving the state after the administration’s historic tax increases, taking with them an additional $1.7 billion.

But which ones would be the most likely to be set aside and which ones will be found to be necessary for maintaining a balanced budget in this state? And speaking of that end, what will Larry’s spending priorities be?

Obviously I don’t want to diminish the achievement of Change Maryland, which simply by its name has an image of reversing some of the state’s downward trend over the last seven years. But the question has to be asked about whether all 70,000 will be on board once Larry has to stop identifying the problems and begin to address them with a gubernatorial platform.

I’m not privy to his formal announcement date aside from being told it would be next month, but if Larry wanted to speak to some of the state’s leading conservative activists, he may want to consider having Change Maryland sponsor the Turning the Tides Conference on January 10-11 in Annapolis. That would be a great way for any candidate to consider showing off his or her conservative side.

The futility of incremental change

The story I’m going to reference is a few days old, but the point made is still valid.

On Monday the Washington Times ran this piece which simply restated facts many already knew, but made them clear for comparison’s sake: the entirety of this year’s tax increase on the rich was spent on one storm’s relief. Obviously insurance companies and other private-sector industries had sizable losses on Superstorm Sandy as well, but for the insurance industry it’s chalked up as the cost of doing business and over time they will raise rates (and/or deny coverage) to eventually make themselves whole.

But this piece isn’t being written to argue whether government assistance of victims of freakish weather is good policy. We’ve spent the equivalent amount to all these billions (and more) in recent years to prop up failed businesses, subsidize those in industries the market deemed not ready for prime time, and in giveaways to tinpot dictators around the world. We’ve created weaponry for which there may not be an application, paid producers not to produce, and tried to build nations out of subjects unwilling to cooperate. And $50 billion doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the overall sum millions feel they are entitled to by virtue of reaching a certain age and having a few pennies on the dollar deducted from their paychecks over the lifespan of their respective careers.

To sum up: it’s chump change.

Yet I don’t want to make the case that those who are affected aren’t going to miss it. While I don’t think anyone is going to go to the Jersey Shore specifically to see where their share of the $50 billion went – in many cases, the repairs and spending won’t be on the drawing board until later this summer anyway, with some infrastructure reconstruction still years away – the Times story illustrates once again the folly of Band-Aid solutions to our chest wound of deficit spending.

Moreover, the old saw about raising taxes in a recession? Well, if the economic figures from the fourth quarter of 2012 hold up, we’re halfway to a recession right now. Of course there’s always the prospect for an “adjustment” in the next quarter which will goose the GDP just to the growth side of zero, but most people are believing their own eyes rather than the media hype – consumer confidence is down, the 2012 holiday season shopping was pretty much a bust, and I read a Rasmussen Poll this morning that fewer than 2 in 5 of those surveyed think the economy will be better in five years; the lowest mark since the question was first asked in 2009. (At that time over 3 in 5 believed the economy would be better. Fooled you!) In the perception of many, we are indeed in a recession and the government’s only solutions seem to be promises and handouts. In the oft-quoted words of Margaret Thatcher, that works until you run out of other people’s money.

It’s rather unfortunate that Barack Obama and Harry Reid received another four and two years, respectively, to continue to plunder the pocketbooks of those they deem able to afford such a financial flogging, print more money, and create IOUs to handle the rest. Most of those who have even the tiniest sliver of common sense know that’s not the long-term solution, but voters placed Obama and Reid at the helm, the captains of the government Titanic approaching the financial iceberg dead ahead. And the leaky lifeboat commanded by John Boehner at the House is little better; look for small business owners to be swept overboard and drown in the sea of red ink created by a system which has finally shown itself to be the unsustainable one many seers knew it would be, a theory derived from a careful reading of history.

In general I’m an optimist, and perhaps we as a nation can avoid the iceberg and the rocky shoals which await us about our current course. With luck we can navigate a safe passage with the proper austerity program and leadership back toward a government restored to its rightful place.

But we have placed ourselves in a situation where the results are more likely to be worse than better, as tonedeaf Washington leadership continues on a course to economic destruction. If you thought the “fiscal cliff” was a steep precipice, the chasm of our unfunded liabilities could be the bottomless pit. Mixed metaphors aside, the reality is we aren’t in good shape and solutions won’t be coming very quickly from Washington.

Friday night videos episode 29

Back after a one week hiatus, the focus shifts to fiscal responsibility and TEA Parties.

Obviously the GOP is critical of Barack Obama’s policies, and this video explains why.

The same goes for, which reminds us how California got into its financial mess.

Two filmmakers for Americans for Limited Government bring the green jobs fallacy home by looking at the closing of the BP Solar plant in Frederick, Maryland.

Now it’s time for a little bit of tea. But first, it’s interesting to note the tenor of counterprotests, as an alert reader sent me a video from another March 20 rally in Washington D.C. that had little to do with health care.

To echo one commenter, I bet you didn’t see this on the nightly news.

Fellow blogger and patriot Bob McCarty does yeoman’s work covering the TEA Party scene in the St. Louis area. Here I have two videos, one from their weekly (!) rally last weekend and one from their TEA Party Express 3 stop a week or so back.

Finally, here’s local TEA Party organizer Chris Lewis from yesterday’s Salisbury rally as I excerpted the conclusion of his speech. Good background music, too.

Speaking of music, there’s no local music to wrap up this week, but that’s intentional. Next Friday I’m doing another all-music edition of FNV and plan on making it a regular event every 10 episodes (along with placing a music video or two in most other editions.) I look forward to putting it together so hopefully you’ll enjoy watching!