The Washington Post can be amusing, sometimes. In this article (via Instapundit) they provide a comparison of two counties - Montgomery County in Maryland, and Fairfax County in Virginia - to the former's distinct disadvantage. The short version: Montgomery County is stuck with an elected Democratic leadership that is beholden to public sector unions*, spends in a fashion that insults drunken sailors, and... actually, those two statements sum it up neatly. Although Montgomery County having a maxed-out local income tax can't be helping, either. The end result: with comparable budgets and populations, Montgomery County had to reconcile an almost 1 billion dollar budget deficit and is facing worse, while Fairfax County had to work out deficits one quarter that and is pretty much no worse off than most of the rest of the country.
With regard to handling the problems of the former, the WaPo offers three suggestions:
-- Candidates for council and school board in Montgomery should foreswear all donations to or from public employees unions. This is a minimum necessary step to sever the cozy ties that have indebted officeholders to the employees they are supposed to oversee and whose compensation forms a critical aspect of the county's fiscal integrity.
-- Candidates for public office, who are routinely asked to fill out questionnaires from public employees unions and other special interests in election years, should refuse to answer any question that would commit them to undefined future spending.
-- The county should beef up its rainy-day reserve funds as a means to protect against future downturns, provide an incentive to fiscal restraint and safeguard the county's shaky AAA bond rating.
Which is... nice, but since there's not a chance in Perdition that any Democrat in Maryland is going to credibly run on a platform like this this year (their party leadership cadre does not boast the sharpest knives in the drawer**), I would like to offer an alternative suggestion:
-- Vote for the Republican.
Radical idea, yes - but these are radical times, no?
*The WaPo actually absolves the public sector unions of any wrongdoing in any of this. I don't know if that's utter fear, or utter paternalistic contempt.
**"The Republican questioned why O'Malley's campaign would run the ad when the state Democratic Party is contending that program sponsors are in effect subsidizing Ehrlich's campaign." Because it's O'Malley? As I said: not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
I'm still deciding which candidate to endorse in the GOP MD-GOV primary (I live in Maryland, so I need to have an opinion), so until then here's the Maryland GOP site.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.