Why does the government not understand it is running out of other people's money? Politicians think the answer is not to cut spending but to increase taxes.

The state of Maryland subscribes to the same cure. It cranks up the tax on cigarettes saying the higher price will deter people from smoking, but if people actually did stop smoking the state would lose that income.

Now the state Transportation Trust Fund needs bolstering, so the government is talking about a 15-cent-a-gallon increase in the gas tax. Of course the federal CAFE standards call for vehicles to continue to get better mileage, which means less gas will be consumed and tax revenues will continue to decline, prompting calls for even higher taxes.

Maybe the state should look at becoming more efficient and cutting spending instead of raising taxes. Let's start with Gov. Martin O'Malley's world tours.

Craig Garfield, Ellicott City