Spare Us the Ponies, We Need Jobs

Commentary by Ron Miller

Commentary by Ron MillerAs the Maryland General Assembly begins its session today, a lot of attention is being given to the budget, and rightfully so. A $2 billion deficit for a state that must balance its budget every year is intimidating, and special interest groups have gone from soliciting the government for more money to begging them not to cut what they currently receive.

The Democratic monopoly in Annapolis is already bringing out their talking points, one of which is how Maryland is better off than California. OK, but must we wait until we've become California before we do the right thing by the people of Maryland?

Another is that, in October, Wall Street credited Maryland for the state's financial management. The more than 120,000 people who've lost their jobs since 2007 don't care what Wall Street thinks of the state's financial track record, nor do the more than 30,000 who declared bankruptcy last year. Wall Street also gets excited when a major company lays off thousands of people; the stock almost always goes up.

Why would anyone who claims to be in touch with the people make statements like these? I've said it here and elsewhere; until people are working again, it's not a recovery.

The light of recognition seems to be flickering in Governor Martin O'Malley's mind. He's been talking more about jobs lately, and he's proposing that Maryland become the "Silicon Valley of cyber security". He's even proposing to offer tax breaks and financial incentives to attract these businesses.

That's all well and good, but if we're so strapped for funds that we're down to bone and gristle, as they like to say, where's the money for these incentives going to come from? And if such incentives make Maryland more attractive to businesses, why not offer them to all businesses, especially small businesses which account for more than 97 percent of employers in Maryland, and over 53 percent of all private sector jobs?

Offering them "training, information and opportunities", as one O'Malley press release put it, won't do nearly as much for their bottom line as cutting their taxes and reducing their regulatory burden.

I know a little something about the hidden tax of government paperwork on small businesses; I was a member of the federal government's Small Business Paperwork Relief Task Force and a primary author of their final report. Government paperwork costs a small business owner around $50 an hour in lost productivity, and that cost is passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, or employees whose paychecks are smaller or disappear altogether when they lose their jobs.

The Democrats have to find the pony in the pile - I understand political parties are, first and foremost, about maintaining power. We the people aren't under any obligation, however, to let them deceive themselves or us. Positive reports from Wall Street aren't putting food on people's tables, clothes on their backs, gas in their cars, medicine in their cabinets or a roof over their heads. Until everyone that wants a job has a job, spare us the self-serving platitudes.

Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a military veteran, conservative writer and activist, former and current candidate for the District 27 Maryland Senate seat, communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party, and executive director of Regular Folks United, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Ron is a regular contributor to, American Thinker, and You can also follow Ron on his website, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

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