Hit and Run Politics: Baltimore City and Maryland State Pensions: A Short History

In March 2006, the Institute issued a Report, The Baltimore City Retirement Systems: Heading for Trouble. The summary at the front of the Report stated: “The skimming off of surpluses to provide new unfunded benefits in good investment years, together with mediocre or worse investment performance and an escalation of disability claims in the Fire […]

Reform crime laws

Let's hear from the state's attorney candidates on peremptory challenges, drug offenses In a little more than two weeks, Baltimore City voters will participate in a seriously contested election for state’s attorney. There are various suggestions for rendering the criminal justice system more efficient. “Smoking out” the candidates would be useful to city voters next […]

Obama Keynesian Gift Shop

The economists of this administration hold Keynesian beliefs, but their belief is in one-way Keynesianism. The stimulus package has not produced its expected multiplier effects for several reasons, but one of them surely is its superimposition not on a previously balanced budget but upon enormous structural deficits. No credible proposal has been forthcoming for the […]

Schools of thought on looming teacher layoffs

White House economic adviser Christina D. Romer tells us [“Keeping teachers in the classroom,” op-ed, May 28] that by “preventing layoffs we would save on unemployment insurance payments, food stamps and COBRA subsidies . . . and we would maintain tax revenues.” So much for productivity in the education system or anywhere in government. A […]

Baltimore City Pensions: A Worthy Report

The recent report of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Task Force on Fire and Police Pensions under the Chairmanship of Donald Fry is a worthy effort, and repeats many of the observations in Calvert’s The Baltimore City Retirement Systems: Heading for Trouble report in 2006. Task Force recommendations fall into three broad categories- PLAN MANAGEMENT, FUTURE […]

Maryland’s ‘Race to the Top’ Application: Failure Revealed

The Obama Administration’s education reform effort continues Washington’s enthusiasm for intellectually bankrupt ‘top-down’ reforms. As in foreign policy and policies relating to financial regulation, there is essential continuity between the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. The Obama reform approach essentially abandons any significant effort to alter failed grant in aid programs. The Individuals With […]

Policy Wonk’s Guide to the Gubernatorial Election

To the uninitiated, the choice between two remarkably similar candidates, Govs. O’Malley and Ehrlich, must seem like a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Both are candidates whose past appeals have rested on personalities rather than issues. Both have become expert at deferring hard fiscal choices. Neither has been vigorous in cutting budgets. Both have a […]

Now What For Obama?

Now that President Barack Obama has achieved the long-time goal of the Democratic Party of passing a comprehensive health reform bill, he must ask himself what comes next. He has achieved a great political victory but now comes the difficult part of paying for and administering the now greatly enlarged government responsibility for the nation’s […]

Terrorism trials: no new issues, no need to panic

The controversy over the upcoming Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial has not enlightened the public. Those who would deny rights to persons denounced by the president and those who automatically reject all alternatives to criminal trials have seen to that. Prisoners of war are persons captured in uniform of whose enemy status there is no doubt. […]

Beyond drug law reform: We need a new Wickersham Commission

Change is in the offing for U.S. drug policy. More than a dozen states, including Maryland, have adopted medical marijuana laws. Attorney General Eric Holder, a decisive member of a sometimes indecisive administration, stated that federal laws against marijuana possession would not be enforced against persons immune under such state laws. Various jurisdictions in California […]