The inconvenient truth about Maryland

March 31, 2010|By Baltimore Sun reporter

Marta Mossburg uses selective facts in very curious ways to make a political point ("Maybe it's time for Maryland to rethink its business plan," March 30). Like Alice through the looking glass, however, hers is an alternate reality.

Saying that the growth in federal government jobs in Maryland is "more of a curse than a blessing" by citing the fact that Maryland was only one of five states where personal income rose in 2009 is bizarre. She implies that state's jobless rate growing from 7.5 percent to 7.7 percent in February (some of that was probably due to the terrible weather we had) is attributable to a failure of state business policy but conveniently neglects to point out that country as a whole is in a severe recession where the national jobless rate is 9.7 percent, and most states are in far worse shape than Maryland.

She somehow sees that Maryland taking a large share of federal jobs, most of which are in defense and national security, and the "re-distribution of wealth" to pay for them, as bad news. The federal base realignment will create new jobs here and save federal tax dollars by closing redundant military bases elsewhere; the consolidation of national security agencies to Ft. Meade will do the same. Moreover, she overlooks the fact that these jobs create wealth in the private sector by increasing demand for goods and services from private businesses already located here.

She says that 50,000 people a year are moving out of the state and that the income of those leaving is greater than those that are arriving, yet even as she notes, personal income is rising and projections show that Maryland's population has increased more than 9 percent since 2000. She implies that millionaires are moving out of state because of a "bad" business climate, but this is a cliché, not a fact. If some of them are retiring to warmer climes, blame that on Maryland's weather, not its business climate.

Like every state in the nation, we face lots of problems. Maryland faces serious challenges in paying for its pension and health care liabilities. Nevertheless, not for nothing does Maryland happen to be one of the wealthiest states in the nation: It has the geographic location, "high tech" government and private sector jobs and a high performing educational system that most states would envy.

This inconvenient truth doesn't fit Ms. Mossburg's political thesis, but it's a fact.

Oz Bengur, Baltimore

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