Not sequestration but Md.'s inept leadership that hurts

In his commentary ("Sequestration hurts," July 22), U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin criticized the political gridlock which led to sequestration. But the senator was an influential participant in the political process whereby Congress could not agree upon which functions are normal, regular and essential. The goal should be to end sequestration only if Congress agrees to reign in out-of-control spending and reduce the national debt and annual deficit.

Unfortunately, Maryland is particularly vulnerable to any plan to reduce federal spending because it is so dependent upon the federal government for its economic well-being. For years, long-serving Democratic senators and representatives moved to positions of power and influence in Congress, enabling them to bring home the bacon. They represented their constituents so well that the state boasted about an economy that managed to survive the recent recession better than most states. It takes entrepreneurial and organizational skills to build a diverse economy in the private sector. It takes political influence and muscle to build an economy that depends upon the federal government. More recently, local economists have unfurled the caution flags warning that the state will be hard hit by any cuts in federal spending.

By contrast, the economy of South Carolina was devastated by the demise of the textile and apparel manufacturing industries. To its credit, the state solicited manufacturing entities such as BMW, Michelin and Boeing to locate in the state. Maryland's senators and representatives are part of the political dysfunction that Senator Cardin laments. They created a public sector economy and have demonstrated a lack of leadership that is required to become less dependent upon federal funding.

Lowell E. Abramson

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