Of ‘Czars’ and History

The recent Senate hearing on the Obama administration’s ‘czars’ deserves more attention than the facetious comments of Dana Milbank. We see now the latest instance of a bi-partisan and recurrent problem, last seriously discussed at the time of Watergate. At that time the constitutional scholar Alexander Bickel observed “In opposing cant of ‘not men, but […]

At the Court of the Sun King: The Vice of Centralization

What can be said of the Obama administration? This is not Roosevelt’s 100 days: it has left no permanent impression on the American economy or government. This is no reform administration, though it follows 16 years of inadequate presidential leadership. When it is considered that the Defense, State, Treasury and Justice Departments are all led […]

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 […]

Sun ignores facts in DHR suit

Your editorial of August 5 on the Massinga foster care decision fails to make clear the reasons why Attorney General Douglas Gansler and Judge J. Frederick Motz properly felt that a further hearing was required (“A breach of trust,” Aug. 6). The recent decision of the Supreme Court disrupts cozy arrangements between advocacy groups and […]

Maryland and the Stimulus: Responsibility Deferred

Few states can have used the benefits accruing to them in the Obama administration’s stimulus bill as irresponsibly as Maryland. We may pass in review the bill’s effect on Maryland public policy: Pension and Retirement Systems The Calvert Institute and the Maryland Public Policy Foundation recently published a study of Maryland’s public pension and retiree […]

Not Just for Mother in Law: Accessory Apartments Benefit Society and the Economy and It’s Time for Tax Credits to Promote Them

baltimoresun.com Not just for mother-in-law Accessory apartments benefit society and the economy, and it’s time for tax credits to promote them By Patrick H. Hare and George W. Liebmann January 29, 2009 Twenty years ago, we separately produced publications urging that governments should provide incentives for the creation of accessory apartments (sometimes called “mother-in-law apartments”) […]

Passing The Buck: Maryland’s Unfunded Liabilities For State And Local Retirees

SUMMARY Maryland’s state and local pension and retirement benefits plans are in for some hard times ahead. Facing budget shortfalls, governments are underfunding their retirement plans, while at the same time expanding the benefit promises to public employees. This unsustainable financing places both taxpayers and public employees at risk. Today, the Maryland State Retirement and […]

Move Beyond School Voucher Fantasy to Focus on Real Reforms

The recent, ringing defeat of a referendum on school vouchers in Utah – generally thought of as America’s most conservative state – should be a wake-up call to critics of our public school system. The proposal failed for several reasons apart from the might of the teachers unions. Chief among these is that it was […]

Clinton Coronation?

A rash of recent newspaper stories have proclaimed, a year in advance of the Presidential election, Sen. Hillary Clinton to be the next Democratic nominee, and the next President. The fixation of these stories is on campaign contributions and poll results, a sort of ‘inside baseball’ that our great newspapers now seem to regard as […]

Enter O’Malley

The new administration has now been in office for nine months, an acceptable period of gestation, and it is now not too early for a preliminary assessment. Let us first accentuate some positive developments: 1. The administration appears to have placed the Departments of Public Safety and of Juvenile Services in the hands of fully […]