Franchot: A pragmatic problem-solver trapped by his party's ideological agenda

January 08, 2012

It is refreshing that Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot opposes an increase in the state's debt ceiling ("Franchot: Maryland can't keep borrowing and spending," Jan. 4).

The impassioned "loyalty oath" to the Democratic Party contained in his letter to The Sun is illustrative of the dysfunction that is American politics and the cause of its political gridlock: A need in people to take sides and stubbornly, at times blindly, perpetuate this awful two-party system by avowing support for everything on their party's agenda.

Mr. Franchot opines that it is irresponsible and unsustainable for the state to continue to borrow more money to provide services. He knows that more borrowing would lead to more debt service (interest and principal payments), and probably higher taxes, which would further cripple the state's budget and its economy.

Instead, he favors seeking more efficient government and making Maryland more business-friendly. (My recommendation: Abolish the personal property tax on businesses. Businesses buy equipment to put people to work.)

Mr. Franchot feels he has to fend off accusations that he is "drifting right." This is silliness, because fiscal responsibility is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue. It is common sense, and we all must adopt it or face the consequences. If doing the job that people elected you to do means moving in what might be called a conservative direction, so be it.

It is unfortunate that our political system has broken down along the partisan lines we have. The slavish adherence to partisan agendas is childish and inimical to an intellectual, reasoned approach to problem-solving.

Matt Beverungen, Ellicott City

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