I have read the entirety of independent gubernatorial candidate Barbara Merrill's campaign manifesto, Setting the Maine Course: We Can Get There From Here, and have much more positive than negative to report.
She is that rare liberal who understands and respects market forces, and the importance of free enterprise with few regulations. (I realize her concept of few regulations will be much different than mine, but her definition more nearly corresponds with mine than with Governor Baldacci's. Not that he'd ever try to achieve that.)
She recognizes Tax Increment Financing and Pine Tree Development Zones for what they are: protection for politically favored businesses, regardless of their economic benefit to the citizens of Maine. She has seen the poor track record of government in picking industries or particular businesses to support. She states as her goal the reduction of regulations and taxes for all businesses in Maine, and letting the market determine which businesses thrive. Music to a libertarian's ears.
She recognizes the flawed strategy of rewriting law to attract a few large businesses to employ Maine workers, when economic growth is better served by attracting entrepreneurs who will grow many small businesses into middle-sized businesses. A few of them will no doubt become large.
She actually believes Maine should become, in her words, become "the first 'free enterprise state.'" The fact that she recognizes that nowhere in the U.S. does a free enterprise economy currently operate speaks volumes about her economic understanding.
The major drawback of her proposals concerns education. She's a typical socialist when it comes to keeping state control of education, which is astounding, considering her appreciation of free markets. Her proposals in some ways are meant to provide more local control for public education, but will actually cause more of the centralization and depersonalization of our cookie-cutter McEducation system. Shifting funding for teacher salaries to the state coffers will inevitably result in less local control of hiring and make getting rid of bad teachers all the more impossible.
But I'm unaware of any candidate for governor (or any other Maine statewide office) who isn't in favor of maintaining our socialist status quo in education. So we'll just have to take some satisfaction in the prospect of Merrill's jousting with the teachers' unions to get any of her reforms through. Yes, I can find pure entertainment value in politics.
I can also find entertainment value in Merrill's apparent lack of a friend or family member who could proofread. Pundit Al Diamon already noted how his name picked up an extra "d" as a bookend to the first one in his surname. There are at least a couple of instances of superfluous (and meaning-altering) "d" placement in the word "averse." "Fair" serves as an ersatz "fare" at one point. Those are just the instances I remember, having taken no notes. Barbara, if you read this, I hereby offer my proofreading services for any written materials you may wish to distribute for your campaign, regardless of whether I end up supporting you.
Tagged as: Barbara Merrill Maine Governor John Baldacci Maine Politics