Thursday, August 21, 2014

Red Maryland Radio: 8/21/2014

It was other big episode of  Red Maryland Radio comes at you tonight  live at 8 PM on the Red Maryland Network.

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On tonight's show:
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

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Red Maryland Radio Tonight

Another big episode of  Red Maryland Radio comes at you tonight  live at 8 PM on the Red Maryland Network.

On tonight's show:
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Editorial Prerogative

In a very interesting editorial this morning in the Baltimore Sun, the Sun's editorial board pointed out the lengths to which Martin O'Malley's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will go to make it look like Maryland has a rosy jobs picture. 

In an ideal world, we'd like to think that the state government would give the straight, unadorned truth about what's going on with the economy. But it is hard to come up with anything but a political explanation for the department's consistently rosy interpretations of the jobs figures. Gov. Martin O'Malley, coming to the end of his two terms and looking to the national stage, has crafted a narrative about his tenure that offers Maryland as a model  for the nation in its focus on education, research and entrepreneurship. A so-so job market, or one with some inconvenient ups and downs, doesn't fit the story.

The Sun's panglossian view of good government, in this instance, clashes with the reality of the Potemkin Village that is Martin O'Malley's record here in Maryland.

Continuing on, the piece picks up on something that we have been talking about at Red Maryland for some time, and that Larry Hogan has harped about during this 2014 campaign; the need to address Maryland's business climate by lowering taxes and rolling back onerous regulations and impediments to business.

[T]he federal government's budget cutbacks are unquestionably having an effect in Maryland, and the state would do well — particularly during a gubernatorial election like the one we're having now — to talk about strategies for diversifying the economy and coping with the likelihood of more government spending reductions in the future. But that won't happen if we let political spin get in the way of a forthright appraisal of the facts.

The editorial went further than that, though. The piece included references to the 2010 incident where the O'Malley Administration set out to cover-up unflattering job numbers during O'Malley's re-election campaign.

Lest you call us too cynical about something so inconsequential as a departmental press release that only a tiny fraction of Marylanders actually read, recall this. In 2010, amid Governor O'Malley's rematch with Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the Democrat had been highlighting Maryland's job growth during the first several months of the year. Then, in August, DLLR briefly posted on its website a news release titled, "Maryland's Market Stalls During July." It further noted "declining consumer confidence and spending" and concluded that "Maryland's economic recovery faltered."

Emails released through a Public Information Act request by two Republican leaders in the legislature revealed a scramble at DLLR to pull down a report "diametrically opposed" to the "eventually-approved messaging." At one point, the agency's communications director wrote to other staffers "Whatever we can do to make it disappear, we need to do it. That's coming straight from the top."

It is interesting that the Sun would reference this story, which we covered extensively here at Red Maryland, culminating in Mark's two-part chronology of events regarding the cover-up (Read Part I and Part II). It acknowledges, possibly for the first time in a Sun editorial, that the story presented by O'Malley Administration's doesn't exactly stand up to strict scrutiny, and that every conceivable effort has been made by the Martin O'Malley and Anthony Brown to present a fictionalized version of the truth. It's a refreshing differentiation from the usual defense of the Maryland status quo.

There is, however, a stark contrast between these type of editorials written toward the end of summer when fewer readers (and voters) and paying attention, and the bread and butter editorials of the Fall. Despite the knowledge of the cover-up (among other noted issues) with O'Malley's first term, the Sun endorsed O'Malley in 2010 and doubled-down on the O'Malley years by endorsing Anthony Brown in the Democratic Primary. And this fall, the Editorial Board will almost certainly endorse Anthony Brown over Larry Hogan in the General Election as well.

The Editorial Board of the Sun continues to send mixed messages on these issues. Is the Editorial Board for good government? Or is the Editorial Board content to continue to serve as, in the words of the late Ron Smith, the North Calvert Street Democratic Marching Society? That's something for Andy Green and the rest of the guys and gals on the Editorial Board to decide. It is the editorial prerogative for the Sun to support and endorse whatever ideas and candidates that they see fit. They can choose to on one hand lament the need for the politicization of basic government while simultaneously endorsing the ideology and candidates who engage in that politicization. They can continue to write about the need for change while embracing the status quo. But the cognitive dissonance between the two messages are real, and goes a long way in explaining the diminution in status of the Sun's editorial page and the shrinking impact of their message their readership for some time.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Your Dollar Doesn't Go Far in Maryland

The Tax Foundation released a pretty cool map today. It shows you how far you dollar goes in each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.

Unsurprisingly, Maryland doesn't fare so well when it comes to this type of analysis. In Maryland, the relative value of $100 is only $89.85, the sixth worse ratio in the country. Our neighbors, incidentally, are blowing us away in this regard. In Virginia it's $96.90, $97.75 in Delaware, $101.32 in Pennsylvania and $112.87 in West Virginia.

With that type of value on the dollar, it isn't hard to rationalize why so many people are leaving Maryland to move elsewhere.

The authors of the piece have a very simple and easy to understand explanation for all of these relative values:
Regional price differences are strikingly large, and have serious policy implications. The same amount of dollars are worth almost 40 percent more in Mississippi than in DC, and the differences become even larger if metro area prices are considered instead of statewide averages. A person who makes $40,000 a year after tax in Kentucky would need to have after-tax earnings of $53,000 in Washington, DC just in order to have an equal standard of living, let alone feel richer. 
As it happens, states with high incomes tend to have high price levels. This is hardly surprising, as both high incomes and high prices can correlate with high levels of economic activity. However, this relationship isn’t strictly linear: for example, some states, like North Dakota, have high incomes without high prices. Adjusting for prices can substantially change our perceptions of which states are truly poor or rich. 
As we showed in an example in our recent paper on income data, adjusting for prices reveals average real incomes in Kansas to be higher than in New York, despite New York having much higher incomes as measured in dollars. 
The tax policy consequences of this data are significant. For example, because taxes must be calculated based on nominal income, the average New York resident pays significantly more in taxes than the average Kansas resident. But the Kansas resident actually has higher purchasing power, meaning that they get to pay lower taxes despite getting to have a richer amount of consumption.
Based on this analysis and on Maryland's economic climate, it's easy to see why purchasing power is drastically reduced:

  • High of earnings from those working in federally-related employment
  • High income, sales gas taxes, 
  • High costs to sell goods high business  taxes and burdensome regulations 
Those factors create a toxic mix that severely diminishes the ability of middle and working class Marylanders to live well here in the state. It's even a fact that hasn't been lost on Democratic # 2 Ken Ulman:

The problem for Ulman is the fact that his ticket is responsible for the toxic mess that has severely harmed the business climate through onerous taxes, fees and regulations. The impact of those poor choices made in the O'Malley-Brown Administration have trickled down to middle and working class families whose bottom lines are being impact by the reduced purchasing power these taxes and fees have brought. And their purchasing power will be reduced further by the inflationary effects of the minimum wage increase being phased in over the next few years.

Elections have consequences. The consequences of eight years of O'Malley-Brown has been higher taxes, a worsening business climate, and reduced purchasing power for Maryland's residents. What better time than now to truly Change Maryland.

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Conservative Refuge Radio 8-18-14

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The Red Maryland Network presents another installment of Conservative Refuge Radio .

On tonight's show:

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In Case You Missed Them....

Two great Red Maryland shows aired over the weekend.

On Friday it was The Red Maryland News Hour with News Director Duane Keenan, where he interveiwed a number of candidates at the Howard County Fair, including Larry Hogan, Allan Kittleman, Libertarian Shawn Quinn, and more:

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Also, last night on The Air Raid I took on to issue of the Ferguson riots and the militarization of the police:

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Giving Chuck Todd a Chance on "Meet the Press"

Richard E. Vatz

     On September 7 Chuck Todd will take over as moderator of NBC’s once-venerable “Meet the Press (MTP).”  The historically pre-eminent Sunday talk show once sported the no-nonsense, tough Lawrence Spivak as host but under David Gregory has become so liberally biased as to make even NBC, the most left-wing major network, embarrassed.

     So what does NBC do in replacing Mr. Gregory after embarrassing him with the modified limited hangout treatment which led to his “voluntarily” leaving the program?”

    They appoint Chuck Todd, a very knowledgeable but consistently Democratically partisan journalist.

     When Sen. Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968, The Washington Post columnist Herbert Block (Herblock) took off the new president’s 5 o’clock shadow in the cartoonist’s depictions of him, writing, "Every new president gets a new shave."

     The implication was that Herblock would not prejudge the new president in his cartoons, and he would give Mr. Nixon a chance to be less corrupt, although Watergate made that a difficult argument to carry the day.

     But in memory of Herblock’s giving Sen. Nixon a new shave, MTP viewers are herein urged to give Chuck Todd a chance to mend his politically prejudiced ways.

     Good luck, Mr. Todd; be fair and balanced.

     Professor Vatz taught Media Criticism for two decades at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2013)

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More Than 6500 SWAT Raids in Maryland Since 2010

Maryland law enforcement agencies conducted more than 6,500 SWAT raids over the last four fiscal years.

Maryland law enforcement agencies that maintain a special weapons and tactics unit are required by law to report specific action and deployment data to the Maryland Statistical Analysis Center, within the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.  The reports were mandated into law in 2009 in the wake of the Prince George’s County Police Department’s mistaken SWAT raid on the home of Berwyn Heights, Mayor Cheye Calvo, which resulted in in Calvo’s two black Labrador retrievers dead from gunshot wounds and no criminals apprehended.

According to the four published SWAT reports for fiscal years 2010-2013 show that SWAT units in Maryland conducted 6,560 raids an average of 4.5 raids per day.  

Prince George’s County conducted the most raids by far of any agency over that time period 1,195 accounting for 31 percent* of all SWAT raids, followed by Baltimore City and Montgomery County with 11 percent each.   The Maryland State Police conducted 201 SWAT raids during that time.

The overwhelming majority reason for SWAT deployments each year (90 percent) was to execute search warrants.  In FY2013 the majority of SWAT deployments (54 percent) were activated to through the commission of Part II crimes as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  According to the FBI, Part I crimes consist of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, breaking and entering, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.  Part II crimes are described as a “variation of offenses.”  In other words the majority of SWAT deployments last year were activated to respond to non-violent crimes. 

SWAT units deployed between FY2010-FY2013 used forcible entry on 68 percent of deployments, and seized property on 84 percent of deployments.

The public’s eye has turned to the “police militarization” with the civil unrest marked by heavily armed police clashing with protesters in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson Missouri sparked by the shooting of Michael Brown, an African-American teenager, by a Ferguson police officer.  The expansive use of SWAT teams and proliferation of use surplus military equipment by civilian police forces through the Defense Logistics Agency’s 1033 program.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland law enforcement agencies have received more than $12 million in surplus military gear from the 1033 program, including 2,000 assault rifles, 873 semiautomatic handguns and 220 12-gauge shotguns—many of the same weapons the state’s recent Firearms Safety Act bans private citizens from acquiring.  Queen Anne’s and Wicomico Counties acquired armored mine resistant vechicles through the program.  Wicomico County Sherriff, Mike Lewis told the Delmarva Daily Times that he secured the 48,000-pound MRAP armored vehicle for use in the event of mass shootings and barricade incidents.

The Baltimore Sun's Ian Duncan posted a spreadsheet of all equipment and value of military surplus transferred to Maryland law enforcement agencies since 2006. 

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Peter Franchot's Dishonest Crusade

Comptroller Peter Franchot has been on a rather quixotic crusade in recent months. He is hellbent on requiring that schools in Maryland not open until after Labor Day. The idea isn't new. Franchot talked about it last year, and the General Assembly created a task force to study the issue before that. A report issued by the Task Force recommended that yes, schools should not start until after Labor Day. In a letter presenting the report to the Governor and legislative leaders, State School Superintendent Lillian Lowery highlighted the supposed economic benefits to moving the start of schools, alleging that the state would see over $74 million in new economic activity if the date were pushed back until after Labor Day.

Except, like most things Maryland Democrats argue, their arguments are built upon a house of cards.

The report lists the following among its data findings:

On August 14, 2013, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and the Bureau of Revenue Estimates released its study titled, “Economic Impact of a Post-Labor Day Start Date for Maryland Public Schools.” This study highlights the benefits to Maryland’s economy and families if schools were required to start after Labor Day. It reports that 8.5% of the 514,680 Maryland families with school aged children would take either a new day trip or overnight trip in Maryland, another 5.2% would take a new out-of-state trip, and the remaining families would devote a least one additional day to family recreational activities if Maryland public schools started after Labor Day. Most importantly, it reports that Maryland would actualize $74.3 million in direct economic activity as a result of the increased tourism. 
That statement was based off of the data in this report. Of course, there is little to no evidence supporting the conclusions that were made in the Comptroller's report, but it appears that the estimates were predicated on the idea that summer vacation would be extended, for all practical purposes, by a week. In Anne Arundel County, for example, students report to school on Monday, August 25th. In Franchot's world, they would report on Tuesday, September 2nd.

But Franchot's idea is predicated on the idea that there a no consequences for delaying the start of school by one week when, in fact, there are. Currently Anne Arundel County students are scheduled to have their last day of school on June 15th (not accounting for snow days). If Franchot's plan were in place, the students would be released one week later, on June 22nd.

What Franchot fails to account for (and fails to tell anybody) is the fact that by law Maryland students are required to be in school for 180 days during each academic year. Changing the start of the school year won't change that fact, and to make up for the one week delay in the start of the school year students will necessarily be in school one week later than they currently are. That's not extending summer vacation, as Franchot would like you to believe. It's merely shifting one week of vacation from the middle of June to the last week in August, with an adjustment in consumer behavior and travel likely to follow. And even that assumes that schools aren't forced to make up days. The date in 2013-14 under the Franchot plan would have been June 26th for Anne Arundel County students, and that's after a three-day weather related waiver from Lowery.

Instead of having students go to school in August, looks like Franchot may have them going in July.

The net impact of Franchot's plan will be the extension of summer vacation by exactly zero days and a negligible change in the amount of tourism revenue.

Franchot has extended his crusade to an online petition drive trying to gather 10,000 signatures in support of moving the first day of school until after Labor Day. It's a quixotic crusade, to be sure, and the idea of shifting the start date is one that I don't necessarily oppose, even if our neighbors in Virginia are trying to scrap the so-called "Kings Dominon Law" that requires post-Labor Day starts in Virginia. But the Comptroller's dishonesty in his motivations, his avoidance of facts, and his make-believe economic impact statement are pure fantasy and beneath both the dignity of his office and an insult to the intelligence of Maryland's taxpayers and parents of school-aged children.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Best of Red Maryland Radio

This week we present the Best of Red Maryland Radio.  On this installment, some of our most popular, and controversial, recent discussions.

  • We share our breakdown of the primary election.
  • We have a fun (and hilarious) discussion of the recent Griffith's nuptials.
  • Some discussion of the candidacy of Michael Peroutka and how it might affect MDGOP chances in November.
All this and much more on the Best of Red Maryland Radio.

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The June Smith Show

June Smith, joins the Red Maryland Network! Whether its politics, sports, or culture
you're in for a high octane dose of the one an only Mrs. Reason!

Check out her debut show, with special guest Mark Newgent.

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