Who's Mark Critz, besides being a Democrat candidate for the seat of his old boss, John Murtha, in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District? One writer (John Morgan) says that, when it came to Murtha's corrupt earmark deals, Critz was his "bagman."
In fact, Critz was the guy who gave Murtha what's called "plausible deniability." Before Murtha handed out multi-million dollars "earmarks" (our tax money), Critz would work out the deal.
That way Murtha wouldn't get arrested, as he should have been.
Specifically, Critz would tell the favored contractor exactly how much was expected in campaign contributions. Isn't that really a form of bribery? Well, yes, but it's the way Murtha did what he called "business." In Illinois, it's called "pay to play."
Now, somebody else is serving as Mark Critz's bagman. Critz been promoted. On television, he talks about how he was Murtha's "Director of Economic Development." (He was really a "depty director" of the Murtha Bribery Department, but what's a little exaggeration among friends?)
In the 12th District, one of Pennsylvania's true depressed areas, there's been no economic development that anyone would notice. In Michael Barone's The Almanac of American Politics, he notes that the population of Murtha's (and Critz's) hometown, Johnstown, has dropped somewhat.
Just before John Murtha was born, the city had 67,000 residents. By the mid-1990s, when Murtha had already been in Congress a long time, the population was 22,000. In this decade, the 12th's population has declined by 3% -- and it's not going to be heading upward any time soon. There's speculation the 12th might be redistricted; the real question is if it will dry up and blow away.
Economic development? No, economic disaster. The median income in the district is $37,000, the worst in the state outside Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The poverty rate is 14.8%. In an adjoining district (the 18th), the poverty is half that level. The median home price in the 12th is under $85,000, 40% below the level in the rest of the state. How much credit for this mess does "economic development" guy Critz get? He gets some, and Murtha gets the rest.
The 12th district has the largest elderly population in the state. Young people have been leaving the area in droves for generations. The proportion of college graduates in the 12th is a little over 16%. In my own western Pennsylvania district (the 4th, west and south of the 12th), the percentage of college graduates is twice as high. Any college graduates who stay in the 12th district are probably satisfied to be working at McDonald's or Wal-Mart.
This is the kind of economic "development" that resulted from all those earmarks . . . and the tens of million in campaign contributions Murtha solicited (extorted). What kind of company in its right mind was going to start a business in a district dominated by a blowhard (Murtha, abetted by Critz) who was always standing there with his hand out? When it came to creating real jobs, Murtha was radioactive.
I can say these things, because they're true. A great conservative candidate like Republican Tim Burns probably can't say them -- even though they're true. Critz's idea of economic development is to set a hefty price for an earmark. Did he get a percentage of the take? Overall, the number of "jobs" created by sleazy political deals is near the economic equivalent of absolute zero.
In Critz's latest commercial, he's telling western Pennsylvanians he would have "voted against" ObamaCare? When do we stop laughing? Critz would have voted for the heath bill just as John Murtha did. Of course, Murtha was Pelosi's strongest ally in the House. And Pelosi just raised Critz a truck-load of cash. Trust me, Mark Critz will do what he's told.
Tim Burns would be a godsend to the 12th district. He's a businessman who has actually created jobs. Mark Critz is John Murtha -- without the political clout, the red face, and the potty-mouth. If the 12th has any hope, it will come in the form of Tim Burns. Critz? He's another word that begins with "c-r." More on Monday about Critz and criminality . . .
Mark Critz, Tim Burns, John Murtha, Johnstown, PA, Pelosi, ObamaCare, John Morgan