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(Overtly) political interlude at foreclosure hearing

Those breathlessly following my Twitter feed yesterday at the foreclosure hearing might have noticed this gem:

Aha – GOP member says gov’s solution is to raise taxes. Should have seen that coming.

Here’s some context for my political naivete.

(I went from, “Wow, that sure is nice of a Republican congressman to lob softballs to the guv!” to “I’m an idiot.”)

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., had the floor, and asked Gov. Martin O’Malley what solutions to the foreclosure process are possible without an economic recovery.

“Everything we hope to do as a nation depends on our recovery,” O’Malley responded.

The governor launched into Democratic talking points about how to fix the economy: more money invested in transportation and cyber infrastructure, education, and funding for research institutions.

He bemoaned the fact that China invests more of its GDP into infrastructure than the U.S. and attacked proposed cuts in Pell grants.

“I think we have better days in front of us but not if we continue to hack and cut and slash our way to a better future,” he said.

O’Malley closed with a nifty analogy comparing the country to riding a bike – you need to stay balanced, but you also need to pedal forward.

Amash then moved on to the yawning federal deficit. O’Malley, as if on cue, attacked the Bush-era tax cuts as the root cause. The governor also said spending needs to be slowed but warned against “slamming on the breaks of the recovery and causing us to plunge” again.

(O’Malley also took what I thought was a gratuitous shot at President Coolidge in his defense of Social Security. How dare he besmirch Silent Cal!)

“Let’s go back to the days of rational, fiscally responsible budgeting, where we don’t act like tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent don’t cost all of our nation a lot,” the governor said.

“So, to summarize,” Amash said, going for the kill, “your solution would be to raise taxes.”

“No, that’s not my solution, and that’s not what I said,” O’Malley replied a bit testily.

But the governor admitted sometimes a tax increase can be part of the solution. He touted the state’s AAA bond rating but high-quality public schools, its sales tax increase but steady college tuition the last four years.

“You get what you pay for,” he said. “We owe it to our kids not to be the last great generation of Americans.”