OPINION: Protecting Our Middle Class

Governor Martin O'Malley

As our nation faces an economic downturn not seen since the Great Depression and our federal government prepares a massive bail out for Wall Street, we have worked hard to restore fiscal responsibility in Maryland and protect the priorities that make our state and our families strong.

Yet, as gasoline, food, and energy prices continue to rise, even as wages remain stagnant and middle class families struggle to make ends meet, we know that Maryland is not immune to this national economic crisis.

In the coming weeks, we will be bringing hundreds of millions in further spending reductions before the Board of Public Works to meet the challenges of our national economy, and we will attempt to do so in a way that recognizes the burden middle class families are facing and in a way that protects critical health and social services for the most vulnerable among us.

As we prepare to undergo the largest Wall Street rescue effort since the 1940s – one that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars and compound the national debt – any rescue package passed by Congress should come with real relief for middle class families as well. If we are willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to save Wall Street, it should include relief to save peoples' homes. Rising foreclosures continue to threaten the futures of middle class families, and Congress should demand real relief for these families.

The investments we in Maryland have fought so hard to preserve in public education, public safety, and public health are intended for one purpose only – to strengthen and grow our middle class over the long-term and create a more sustainable future for our children.

This has been our goal from the beginning, and it will continue to guide the actions of this Administration as we work to address this latest challenge.

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