Marylanders Keep Close Eye On Debt Negotiations

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — People in Maryland are keeping a close eye on what’s happening in Washington.

Derek Valcourt shows the impact the debt crisis will have on the state.

Maryland has a lot to lose in this deficit debate.  As a stalemate in Washington over the debt ceiling and spending cuts reaches critical levels, Marylanders of all walks are getting nervous.

“We can settle all this other policy stuff later, but don’t hold the economy, don’t hold the country hostage,” said Cindy Barocca.

Marylanders on fixed incomes are especially worried.

“If Medicare costs and benefits go down and costs go up for me, I can’t meet my basic living expenses,” said Rosemary Peternill.

Also on edge are Marylanders who work for the government.  But economists say slashes to federal spending under debate could mean big trouble for all of Maryland.

“One could argue that Maryland is more vulnerable to federal government downsizing that any state in the country,” said Anirban Basu, economist.

That’s because in 2009 alone, Maryland benefitted from $52.4 billion in federal procurements, wages and grants.  There are 250,000 federal jobs located in Maryland.  In all, federal agencies employ nine percent of Maryland’s workforce, even more than nearby Virginia.  That doesn’t even include the tens of thousands of Maryland contractors working with the federal government.

Basu says if Congress makes cuts to entitlement programs, it would spread the pain evenly throughout the country.

“If instead they cut agency employment, cut defense procurement and other forms of procurement, cut NIH grants, including the Johns Hopkins and other institutions throughout the state, that would disproportionately fall about Marylanders and that’s probably the greatest fear,” Basu said.

Either way, he predicts nationwide economic trouble if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by next week.

“It’s really unfair for the federal policymakers, be they Republican or Democrat, to put the American people in such jeopardy,” Basu said.

Economists say Maryland would need to attract significant private sector investment to offset the losses associated with federal government downsizing.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • Concern

    A cent for Remote Area Medical Foundation.

  • Gobbglertrees

    no more gov’t handouts, time to get a real job you clowns. welfare loser is no longer a job title that pays! HAHAHAHA

    wake up maryland you can’t tax a person without a job, you need to balance your budget with spending cuts to your welfare slave voter base.

  • TaxYouToDeath

    if they downgrade US debt, maryland and virginia will get their downgraded as well. moody’s dont play, prepare for higher interest rates and taxes since Maryland doesnt know how to budget!

  • Steven Cville

    Time for Government too stop spending more then they have! Don’t let Obama buy 4 more years in office with our money! Tea party candidates won office for a reason in there districts and Obama won his seat for another reason ( Welfare State Voters, those with there hands out) I watched one sister on TV saying she voted for Obama because she would not have to pay for her house if he was elected, that was a inner city street interview. These clueless uneducated people vote which is why Maryland is such a mess.

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