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November 12, 2010

Blaine’s Single Elected Term

Roy Meachum

Elected primarily on the basis they will slash the budget in all sorts of – but unspecified – ways, Frederick’s new Board of County Commissioners will be sworn-in in three weeks; minus two days.


Fortunately, Winchester Hall’s overseers have no deficit to wrestle with. They inherit a government whose papers of incorporation demand they wind up each fiscal year with zero on the bottom line. Unfortunately, in recent years, boards “borrowed-from-Peter-to-pay-Paul” methods.


Last minute fumbling around to balance budgets is about the only financial technique past commissioners, Democrat and Republican, have unanimously agreed on; and people and departments accepted they might get hurt simply because they had no choice.


Individually and collectively, the new board was voted into office essentially because they pledged: Never again. Instead, they promised to reduce county spending so there could be few surprises in store for anybody and any entity.


Incoming Commission President Blaine Young publicly swears the last election will be his last. Along with many others, on hearing Blaine’s pledge, I doubted it. As the top vote getter in the commissioners’ race, making specific efforts to buttress his Republican credentials, it simply made no sense; especially his statement, almost literally on the Bible, that he would vote for no tax increases.


Many believe President George H. W. Bush’s defeat by Bill Clinton occurred the day, in midterm; he said something like “Read my lips, no new taxes.”


When severely strapped Annapolis turns over to counties’ care entirely the local board of education’s pension costs, the deficit inherited, a source says, would amount to something in the hundreds of millions of dollars – starting next year. In that hypothetical pie, Frederick’s cut amounts to $15 million, more or less in the Fiscal 2012 budget, and growing like a mushroom in future years. I equivocate because readers know I am no student of government budgets; I opt for the human elements.


When Blaine’s promised single term runs out, it looks from here he cannot possibly be re-elected; so many voters will be so angry with him and his board that none will be permitted to hang around Winchester Hall. It’s not that kind of economy. Public bodies and offices, national and local, face a potential revolution, as I said before.


Adding to the possibility of an uprising against all governments, the bipartisan federal Deficit Commissions co-chairmen, GOP ex-Sen. Alan Simpson, of Wyoming, and Democratic former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles issued a report that is under furious and widespread attack from liberals, for the proposed tightening the belt for both education and Social Security.


Conservatives remain relatively still on the question of the last administration’s tax cuts, which would be kept in force, despite all sorts of campaigns fulminating against their extension. Let me emphasize, this was not the bipartisan committee’s platform, only its chairmen’s. The final report from the entire panel is due out next month.


Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson’s “suggestions” follow the same desperate spirit that brought riots in Paris and London in recent days. I understand.


Human beings will go to all measures, including killing other humans, rather than admit – especially to themselves – their guilt. I don’t exclude myself. People in this society greedily accept anything that’s “free” – meaning someone else paid for it. It’s our very human nature.


We shake our fingers at those flagrantly caught; Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere” brought headshaking and dark muttering for months. This country has lacked politicians, of any stripe, who don’t cave in under special interests’ pressure.


President Barack Obama condones deaths and maliciously wounding of military troops and civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, it looks from here, because he has no taste for taking on the Military and Industrial Complex – a phrase concocted by Dwight Eisenhower. The five-star general in the Army warned about his peers and confederates.


The only serious question that hovers over Blaine Young’s one elected term pledge must remain: Who will he cave in to – or for?


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