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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CONGRESSMAN DELANEY: FIRST IMPRESSION

    Congressman John Delaney appeared and spoke at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues event. It was my first opportunity to see him in person and to hear him speak. I was glad to see that he didn't have horns and he had left his pitchfork at home. I admit he has been somewhat demonized in Republican circles. First, we did not take kindly to having District 6 gerrymandered for the sole purpose of almost ensuring that a Democrat would oust our long-time Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett. It really got our back up when John Delaney, a Democrat, did in fact win that seat in the 2012 election. Since winning that election I have not heard a positive word spoken about the man. I too felt a little sour, but I went to this event feeling more curious than bitter.
    I have to say that I found his style to be quite disarming. I knew that he is a successful award-winning businessman. It was touted all through the election cycle, and we were reminded again in his introduction. I get his newsletters and emails, and clearly he tries to present himself as a moderate Democrat...almost a Republican whisperer, but of course I had my doubts.
    He began by stating that he wanted to talk about our region from an economic perspective as of now and over the next couple of decades. He acknowledged that there has been a lot of debate on economics and how to be able to solve our problems as a country, as a state, and as a region. He does not agree that the answer is about taxes being too high or too low, or government being too large or too small. He said that these issues are important but not central to creating jobs. These are things that are easily calibrated. The budget is very fixable: tax reform policy and entitlement reform would fix it. It's not that hard. He couldn't very well tell Conservative Western Maryland that new taxes are necessary, nor could he say they are not...because he is branding himself as a moderate. It was quite fascinating to watch. He later disarmed the crowd about Obamacare by throwing in a statement that the state of Maryland has the worst access to healthcare in the country. It was almost an afterthought just thrown in while talking about something completely different. You could almost hear the collective sigh in the room..Oh, OK he understands that problem. Then he quickly moves on having sowed the seed.
    Delaney said that the real challenges are getting business and government working together, and the dominant trends in the world, i.e., technology and globalization. Now this is where he begins to shine. He is in his element. Economics is not one of my strengths, but I will attempt to pass on his wisdom, and I say this with all due respect. In a nutshell, I paraphrase:
Today, there are about 7 billion people in the world and about 5 billion of those are participating in the global economy in some way.  Thirty years ago there were 5 billion people and only 1 billion in the global economy. That is 5 times as many in 30 years, and computing power has increased 100 fold. These are the things that have disrupted the world. We need to figure out where this is going and be equipped as a country, a state, and a region. 
I told you he is good! Conservatives don't get upset. Keep reading! He goes on to say, and again I paraphrase:
We have to be competitive because the bar has been raised. Standards are higher. We have to educate our kids and adults too or they will be phased out of the economy.  Government can help us to that end. What the government does well  [could not say as provided in our Constitution] we need it to do more, and what the Government doesn't do so well [could not say sucks at and appear moderate or be true to his Party]we need it to do less. With this global technology-enabled economy some do very well. You have to have skills, an education, and capital. If not, you will be displaced and you will be working unskilled labor and not doing so well. It is not the fault of tax policy or those who have done well. How many of us have capital in this economy? According to him if you don't have an adequate education you better have skills and capital.  
     Bottom line is, according to Delaney, government is the answer. It does not look good for those who do not or cannot meet the new world order criteria. This is a stunning statement, but I see the reality all around me. There are people with degrees who are out of work for years now. There are people who were productive at an  executive level most of their adult lives, with impressive experience and sufficient education, but they have no capital. How about the many, whom I suspect are the majority, who have no education or a minimal college education, no experience, and no capital? I don't disagree with his grim perception on the state of things. Of course, I do not agree that government is the answer. I just want to say, thank you globalists! We are lucky enough to have a president who calls himself a citizen of the world and takes great pleasure in humbling us by redistributing our wealth amongst his new BFFs globally.  Delaney went on to say that this is how we make our country competitive:
1.  Invest in infrastructure. (yawn) This will create jobs right away. Can somebody say shovel ready? Yes transportation, but also communications, energy, and education. Can somebody say Keystone Pipeline? I think I even heard the word stimulus.
2. Research. Cyber security is expected to go from a $60B industry to a $600B industry in 10 years. Everyone should be investing 10% into cyber security.
 3. Immigration reform. (I'd be yawning if I wasn't so aggravated.) This has moral and business dimensions. He offered no specifics. 
4.  National energy policy. We can achieve lower prices and cleaner energy. Keystone Pipeline...just saying. He offered no specifics.
5. International tax policy. This is where he talks about a bill that he introduced called the Partnership to Build America Act (HR 2084). This bill attempts to get people to bring their money back into the U.S. from overseas. This is a problem, and this bill may work. It would require a lot of cooperation from many entities to even get it started because it depends on U.S. corporations putting up $750B to be sold as cheap bonds that will not be  government guaranteed. Every $1 that they "invest" they can bring $4 back tax free. You can read about the bill at http://delaney.house.gov/information-on-congressman-delaneys-infrastructure-bill
    There was a short time for a few Q&As. The first question was asked by Brian Poffenberger and one that I appreciated. He asked Delaney to, without using common superlatives, please explain specifically how Washington County can participate in the good things that are going on in Maryland. I was not as impressed by his vision for Western Maryland as I was by his knowledge of economics. Delaney's answer had three components:
1. Play a role in the economy of the super-region of Boston to Richmond. He plainly stated that we would never be a hub of any great importance in this region, but that we could build on transportation and logistics. Our role would be distribution and logistics fulfillment. In other words, trucking and warehousing. That left me feeling a little cold.
2. An indirect issue to our region is I-270. I-270 needs to be easier to travel (no way?), and the I-270 bus rapid transportation corridor is the best value for investment over the Red and Purple Lines. He wanted us to note that this was a statement outside of his Party line. Noted, along with the many times the word bipartisan was spoken. He was still building the brand. So, what about I-81? 
 3. Cyber security. Spend 10% on non-government cyber security. He said tax free zones should be considered.
     Another question was asked about his opinion on the regulatory environment. He answered way overloaded and offered an opinion on Dodd Frank. He thinks that Dodd Frank was a good bill that got out of control. He blames it for the failed economy of 2006 when 19 out of 20 top corporations needed government money. However, he does not think it should be repealed. He believes parts of it should be dismantled taking a reasonable approach.
      In summary, this is my first impression. If I didn't already know that he is a Democrat, he may have skillfully been able to sell me on the moderate non-partisan brand, particularly when talking about  economics, which is his forte. He is likable in every way, not offensive or arrogant, and seems completely genuine except for his attempt at branding. That said, I know that his opponent Dan Bongino has graduate degrees in both Business Administration and Psychology, and he is also a business owner. I am sure that he could very aptly talk about economics, and with the mess this country is in I am glad that both candidates share this knowledge. What makes Bongino stand out in a big way over Delaney is his grasp for the entirety of what is plaguing this country and this state. In addition to economics he speaks passionately about protecting our Constitution, about 2nd Amendment issues and issues of privacy. He doesn't measure his words when addressing the largest threat to our economy, which is the failure called Obamacare. He is not worrying about his brand or even his Party when he talks openly about career politicians on both sides of the aisle.  Dan Bongino gets it! Bongino has a vision that includes but is larger than economics. Delaney does not. I am happy to report, however, that he is not a demon and I will no longer be interested in any further opinion in that regard. Issues! Issues! Issues!





2 comments:

  1. Linda, I am once more impressed with your writing, both the content and the style. You can actually write which is not as common as most suppose these days.

    Also, I am appreciative of the time you put in to report this. I don't have the time right now to attend meetings and you make it as if I were there.

    My experience with the Congressman (and I share your pre-bias about the way he was imposed upon Western Maryland by the gerrymander) has been that both times that I sought assistance from his office the office has required me to fill out a privacy release before they would move towards any action on my behalf. I declined both times, the first because the issue became moot and the second is pending since I want to know exactly what I am permitting his office to do if I fill out the privacy release.

    The reason (or rationale as the case may be) for demanding the release is so that the office may satisfy privacy legislation when dealing with public agencies on my behalf. It sounds reasonable; however, it also sounds abuseable, say, if a passing volunteer decides to use it for nefarious reasons. I am sensitive about this and have been for a very long time even predating the world wide web and all its security considerations.

    I will end this comment here and am considering making a further comment on the body of your report on Congressman Delaney and his recent visit.

    Bravo.

    Roberto

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roberto- Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. When you said that I "made it as if you were there" I knew that I accomplished at least one of two goals: 1) Give the reader not just the facts as I saw them, but also the feel for the setting and 2) to be fair.

      I have no firsthand knowledge about the privacy forms or the policy surrounding them. I'd be interested in an update if you get further information. It sounds like it could be useful information for others who may seek his assistance. I did see that one of my Facebook friends had great results getting passports for her two little boys expedited with his assistance. Maybe I can ask her about it.

      Thanks again Roberto!

      Delete

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