OpEd Printed in the Capital 12/31/16
Polling data indicate that many who voted for Donald Trump live in a world of misinformation. More than 2.8 million people voted for a Democratic Party platform over a Republican platform, with a 59 percent turnout rate.
The votes that swung the election in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin came from a group of people that would fit inside FedEx Field. The Republican Party clearly has no national mandate. Therefore, it is very important that the GOP elected officials govern wisely, especially at the state and national level. Now that the GOP holds all of the levers of national power, it would be prudent for the president, the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the House to not abuse this power.
Minority rule is tricky business. Examples from the Middle East show us what can happen when a strong-willed minority overrules the will of the majority. At some point, the majority will regain power. Strong, pent-up resentments are not good for responsible government decisions.
We in Maryland, and especially in Anne Arundel County, need to also be sensitive to this issue. We have a Republican governor and a Republican county executive with a Democratic legislature. The balance is delicate for both. Even though Gov. Larry Hogan disavowed President-elect Trump, he is still a Republican governor who will have to deal with fellow Republicans who did vote for "The Donald." County Executive Steve Schuh is a Trump supporter.
The new report on Maryland's underfunding of its education system by the Kirwan Commission should become an important issue for the next state election in 2018. The additional $2.6 billion recommended by the bipartisan commission is a serious amount of money that must come from somewhere. Maryland currently spends about $42 billion a year and that money must come from us.
A simple "anti-tax" Republican agenda cannot provide for this critically needed investment in the state's and the counties' future. The economy and good jobs are dependent on a well-educated population. Anne Arundel ranks 16th in Maryland spending per student and second from the bottom in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
The issues are more than just education. We can no longer count on the federal government to require us to do the right things for the environment. Gov. Hogan is not necessarily a climate-change denier, but he does put microeconomic shortsightedness in front of the reality of the need to change the way we produce electric power. Moving to renewable energy not only helps the environment but also generates good jobs at good wages for the state economy.
Many Republican politicians either do not understand or refuse to tell the voters that trickle-down economics does not produce increased revenue once the marginal tax rates are below approximately 50 percent. President George H.W. Bush correctly called Reaganomics "voodoo economics." President Ronald Reagan reduced federal tax rates and increased, not reduced, the national debt. President George W. Bush made the same mistake with the same result.
The federal government can print money to balance the books; state and local governments cannot. When federal tax rates go down, local tax rates will have to go up, or we sink into the swamp.
With a Trump administration, states are going to have to go it alone. States with Democratic governments should invest in education and infrastructure for the future. Anti-tax Republican-managed states generally receive more federal tax revenue generated from states governed by Democrats than they generate themselves. It is time for this to stop.
It is important that the voters in Maryland and the county elect officials who have a vision for meeting future needs. Voter turnout by Democrats in the last election was very low. For whatever reason, these citizens must have assumed that someone else would be looking out for their best interests. This is not the way democracy works.
Churchton resident George Donohue is a professor emeritus of systems engineering at George Mason University in Virginia. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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