Mr. Smith Continues to Go to Town ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mr. Smith Continues to Go to Town

The Capital's ever perspicacious and fire-in-the belly columnist, Eric Smith, recently opined how governmental budgets are so complex and arcane (which they often are) that hardly anybody understands them (which may be true.) He extended this "reasoning" to suggest that somehow politics, rather than financial considerations, often end up being the system to determine where real dollars go and how they are spent. Gee-do you think so? Rather than enlighten we the poor readers by providing some explanation of the "budgetese" terms he throws around, Mr. Smith relates the story of his "friend".

To illustrate, my friend told me that years ago an incumbent politician asked him to hide some money in a county budget until it could be used for a phony tax reduction the next year. My friend moved money from the general fund into a numbered sub-account that was reserved for "Spare Motorcycle Tires for Senior Citizens."
Okay Mr. Smith, so what you are saying is that this "incumbent politician" probably committed a fraudulent crime with your "friend" as an accomplice or accessory. Was it legal? Did it require approval from some legislative body? And if what they did was wrong, is it the "system's" fault or the politican and your friend's fault--or all of them? You seem to be making fun of this whole corrupt process because your "friend" was in on it and and yes, it is odd that seniors, or anyone, would need motorcycle tires from the government.
But Eric Smith says:
I'll remember his advice as I watch the governor and members of the General Assembly wrangling over the state's structural deficit. It's not always about the money, but it's always about the politics.
Thanks Eric. We cannot wait to see more of your cynical, bashing of everything government does. Did it occur to you that your "friend" and the politican had a choice in that matter? Did your "friend" have to go along with the game he played? Did you have to write about it as if it were such a silly thing going on? Help us out here, as we could all use a lesson in government finance. It is complex, but the hope is that the people hired to understand and carry it out are honest and law-abiding and that the system will find a way to make amends when they are not. But extolling the thaumaturgical maneuvers by your "friend" while excusing him and blaming the "incumbent politician" serves no purpose. But that is what we have come to expect from all the ink used in your columns.


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