- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
How many times in your life have you heard this phrase: “If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk?” In politics, this platitude is trampled on regularly. During the last presidential election cycle, President Barack Obama made statements on how he would govern. He also was quick to point out President George Bush’s wayward undertakings. We all know Mitt Romney’s campaign has over and over again used President Obama’s proclamations that did not materialize as political fodder in his presidential bid. These unrealized utterances by our president may prove to be the undoing of his re-election aspirations.
When I was an adolescent, I remember times where I voiced glorious platitudes that to me seemed irrefutable. I, however, grew up and realized that in the grown-up world, my visions from childhood would dissipate just like a fog. Obama now realizes that governing a nation is a lot harder than he perceived when he made many statements that electorate was willing to believe. As we know, many of the things he railed against are still problems and, in fact, many of these problems he has either embraced or ignored. Why are many voters willing to give him a free pass? He talked the talk, didn’t he? Has he walked the walk?
Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush both talked the talk, and they in their own ways were not able to back up what they said. Both were removed from office after one term. Carter lost the election for a myriad of reasons. However, I believe that the famous President Bush line, “Read my lips, no new taxes,” cost him credibility with the taxpaying voters and, therefore, the election.
Currently in the election cycle, there are two national legislators from Maryland who have direct impact on taxpayers in Southern Maryland. Here are statements recently made by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th):
Ÿ Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance and Budget Committee, made the following statement after the Senate approved the Democratic Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2012: “The Senate took positive action today to extend tax cuts for all Americans on their income under $250,000, which will help our economy continue its climb out from the depths of a deep recession.” Let me get this straight. Sen. Cardin is looking out for the middle class.
Ÿ A message from Hoyer’s website on July 30, 2012, said, “With middle class tax cuts set to expire in January, I have been urging Congress to pass legislation that would extend tax cuts for income up to $250,000.” Again, let me get this straight: Congressman Hoyer is looking out for the middle class.
An article written by Annie Linksey and Michael Dresser in the May 16 edition of The Baltimore Sun stated, “After almost three hours of debate, the House of Delegates voted 77-60 to approve an income tax increase on individuals making more than $100,000 and families making more than $150,000. The measure which is projected to raise an additional $250 million was the largest of a part of $264 million revenue package. It will increase rates on about 14 percent of Marylanders by one-quarter to three-quarters of a percentage point while also phasing out personal exemptions.”
As I see it, Cardin and Hoyer stated that they would extend federal income tax cuts for couples making up to $250,000. They say that this is the fair thing to do, as it would protect the middle class. However, their Democratic counterparts in Annapolis passed — and I again quote — “an income tax increase on individuals making more than $100,000 and families making more than $150,000.”
Finally, my question to Cardin and Hoyer is why do they define the middle class federal taxation threshold for couples at $250,000 and then sit idly by when colleagues in Annapolis pass a punitive state tax increase on middle class Southern Marylanders, which incidentally will also include the phasing out of personal exemptions? Come on, you talk the talk; will you please walk the walk? An honest middle class answer will do. Folks, what do you want to bet that the silence will be deafening? As you know, platitudes are in vogue. However, in reality, they are ignored when they do not prove to be a beneficial political tool. Do you believe that these two politicians should man up and not only talk the talk but walk the walk? Do you believe that when it comes to taxation issues, the federal and state Democratic leadership should deliver a consistent middle class message? I know that the Democrats’ approach to the middle class in Maryland is confusing and disheartening. Do not allow progressive platitudes to fool you by clouding up significant issues. When the fog lifts, I hope that we are not left holding the bag. After all, we are the people.
John Petralia, Sunderland