Liberal Democrats love to couch increased government spending as "investments." It's smart political marketing, but it's a less-than-truthful spin on what government spending is or does. When's the last time you got a dividend check from your state government giving you your share of the "profit" from a road or bridge project?
But it's when journalists buy into that spin that we at NewsBusters really have a problem.
Take the Baltimore Sun, which today told readers that while rivals Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former Governor Bob Ehrlich (R) are focused on the economy in their closing campaign pitches, "Ehrlich wants tax cuts; O'Malley wants more investment."
Noted Annie Linskey in a story filed on BaltimoreSun.com last night (emphasis mine):
Both candidates are focusing on the issue that Maryland voters say is far and away their largest concern in this election season: the economy. Forty-four percent of respondents to a Sun poll this month say they believe it is getting worse, and more than half say the issue will affect how they vote.
Maryland employers have shed 82,600 jobs since O'Malley took office in 2007, and unemployment here doubled on his watch. Still, the state has fared better than most — due in part to its proximity to Washington and federal jobs — and unemployment here remains below the national average.
O'Malley says attracting high-skill jobs requires investments in education and transportation, spending that makes difficult the deep tax cuts that would be needed to boost Maryland's ranking in the surveys of business friendliness that Ehrlich uses to measure the state's progress.
"Economic development is not as simple as the tax rate," O'Malley said. He described himself as one of a group of leaders who "understand that education and economic development go together like eggs at breakfast."
The subtext: moderately conservative Ehrlich wants "deep" tax cuts and can't realistically deliver on them without busting the budget. It's much better, the Sun is suggesting, to stick with the incumbent O'Malley and his "investments in education and transportation."