Maryland Unemployment Rate Rises: Who’s responsible?

People attending a jobs fair in New York.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Today’s story in The Baltimore Sun wasn’t good news. Take a look at the screenshot of the article’s headline and first few sentences.

Maryland Lost JobsWhile the Maryland economy is such that it tends to perform better than the national numbers, rising unemployment, at whatever level, contradicts the definition of “recovery.” Needless to say, for the families whose income has been lost or threatened, this headline and the story below it are not encouraging, to put it mildly.

Who or what is responsible? Without question, there are many, many factors contributing to the condition of our national and Maryland’s economy. Most are economic forces beyond anyone’s power, including the federal government, to control. Even so, it is the responsibility of our government, of the President and everyone we elect to Congress, to facilitate a recovery.

That the economy has failed to recover and may be on the verge of a second stage decline isn’t the valid political issue. Not really. The question for voters is, “Have our incumbents in The White House, the House and Senate, done everything reasonably possible to promote economic recovery?” Did they understand the economic problems we’re up against? Did they design and implement intelligent programs that were as effective, and as fiscally responsible, as any alternative programs others might have devised?

If you believe they have, then re-elect them. If not, you need to vote for someone else who has an alternative approach to solving our economic problems. Only results count. Just because someone is an incumbent, regardless of party affiliation, doesn’t mean he has some inherent right to be re-elected. (For the most part, all it means it that he has more money to spend to keep himself in office.)

Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who represents Maryland’s Second Congressional District, have, for example, consistently supported the President’s and their party’s economic recovery programs. By the simple, compelling logic of their actions, they are responsible for those programs and their effectiveness or lack thereof. They’re not, of course, going own up to that reality, in light of continuing negative economic data, because they want to keep their jobs. They’ll point in every other direction to explain the failure of their programs, except at themselves.

From the Baltimore Sun article, “…the state lost 11,000 jobs in June — among the worst performances in the country.” That’s the fourth straight month the state has lost jobs.

Maybe today would be a good day for Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger to be honest with themselves and Maryland voters and tell them – June’s 11,000 newly unemployed, in particular – why they deserve to re-elected.

-Next Contestant

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