TAKES ON THE
4 and 8 Year County Council Incumbents
Resort to Infamous, Well-Worn
Wimpy, you well-mannered scoundrel!
You remember Wimpy, of course? He was a character in the old Popeye comics and cartoons.
Wimpy was most famous for approaching someone and saying, "I will gladly pay you tomorrow, for a hamburger today."
Well, the tired and budget-busting incumbents of the Montgomery County Council have updated Wimpy's line...
In a taxpayer-funded press release, they have floated a very predictable trial balloon: they will appoint a "blue ribbon commission" (again, at taxpayer expense) of political cronies who will tell them how to restructure the county government - in 2011!!
"I will gladly balance the budget next year, if you will reelect me this year," the council is saying.
Only, this isn't as new of an idea as it seems.
Set the Wayback Machine for 2006, when many challengers in that year's election were gaining major traction on the issue of portable classroom trailers. These "trailer parks" are outside almost every school in Montgomery County. It is well-known that these trailers are unsafe for a variety of reasons. With Election Day approaching, Councilmember George Leventhal suddenly announced that the county would phase out portable classrooms - by 2012!
True? Wrong. It wasn't worth the paper the press release was printed on.
But, the gimmick! "Reelect us today, and we will fix everything we messed up tomorrow!"
Good deal, eh?
Only for the failed leaders of Montgomery County.The time to fix the structural deficit is NOW. We are in a fiscal crisis NOW. Real leaders don't wait. Real leaders don't delegate. Real leaders act like mature adults, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.
The other cop-out in this Wimpy scenario is that "delegating" issue. We've had this happen at the Federal level, where a "blue ribbon panel" is going to report -after
the 2010 election! - that we need higher taxes, a VAT, and more, to reduce the deficit. The President and Congress will say, "they made us do it."
Recently, the Rockville mayor and council did the same thing. The city's professional budget staff presented a budget outline that took into account the current issues, as well as the real possibility that the state would make further cuts in the coming months. This meant that certain politically-popular items and tax credits were not affordable.
It was now time to make the hard decisions. The new councilmembers and mayor then voted to appoint a commission that would make recommendations, rather than take an unpopular position. The staff recommends, the council decides - or at least, that was the old theory.
The county council has done this the last two years: refuse to make the tough decisions. Last year, they were literally able to "cheat" to balance the FY2010 budget. They made minimal cuts (like taking dentures from low-income seniors, eliminating weekend and holiday transit in Damascus), got a sweetheart giveaway of COLAs from the unions, and then threw in a bunch of stimulus funny money. Finally, they illegally cut $90 million from the MCPS budget. They were able to officially break the law on that when their cronies in the Montgomery County delegation rammed a lawbusting measure through the General Assembly. That new law has shattered the claim of county politicians that they are committed to education, as it makes it possible to cut the MCPS budget every year in perpetuity.
Cheaters can win in Montgomery County, especially with the help of the Powers That Be and the local media lapdogs.
But they won't be able to do it this year - the deficit is $1 billion dollars!!!
They're getting ready to wave the magic wand again, but that doesn't solve our structural deficit.
The council doesn't plan to solve it. They will make minimal changes such as combining the Recreation and Parks Departments. But that won't solve anything. They won't anger the unions or politically-connected non-profits by making any real structural changes this year. They won't cut the waste at the management/executive level.
Then next year, their Blue Ribbon cronies will report: raise taxes. We'll have the same structural problems, but they'll try to just increase revenue to cover it.
Unfortunately, while the council has studied much about politics, they've proven they know nothing about economics.
We've reached the tipping point, where you can raise taxes as much as you want, and revenues will continue to decline each year. Meanwhile, if you fuse a few departments and leave all the political payoffs on (or under) the table, your expenses continue to increase.
This is what is called a budget catastrophe. And they're doubling down on the same failed tax-and-spend policies that got us here. The AAA bond rating will be gone, and only the most passionate limousine liberals among the rich will remain, further reducing revenue. Bankruptcy will loom, and that is a real possibility at this point.
You simply cannot tax your way out of this mess.
What's sad is that, in this case, Wimpy won't pay you tomorrow for that hamburger today.
You'll pay the taxes tomorrow, and the council will be laughing all the way to the bank. They may even believe that the Washington Post, et al will continue to passionately defend and rationalize the county's financial situation through bankruptcy and beyond.
We can't go on like this.
I urge you to consider the reality of our situation, and vote for Change Beyond Belief on Election Day.
Watch my campaign announcement video to hear about a new approach to responsible government in Montgomery County:
Change Beyond Belief, transforming our government into one that serves the People, not the other way around.