Friday, February 05, 2016

Mother Aetna’s Spoiled Children


Mark Bertolini CEO Aetna Humana
In Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather,” Michael Corleone, plotting to kill a crooked cop, says to his brother Sonny, “It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.”

Ya’gotta do what ya’gotta do.

If Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini does move Mother Aetna’s home office from Hartford, Connecticut to Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city, he can also plead it’s only business. General Electric (GE) recently uprooted itself from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts – just business, nothing personal… please try to understand.

"We've done the analysis," Mr. Bertolini said five years ago, "and, quite frankly, Connecticut falls very, very low on the list as an environment to locate employees . . . in large part because of the tax structure, the cost of living, which is now approaching, all in, the cost of locating an employee in New York City.”

Such “hits,” to borrow the Mafia term, are not generally shouted from the rooftops. The possibility of dramatic uprootings are conveyed by subtle body language, a frown here, a warning word there, and threats so understated it would take a raw-nerved politician weeks to decode them.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The State Of The State – Crooked


“No one believes him anymore,” said Republican Assistant Minority Leader Senator Toni Boucher of Governor Dannel Malloy.

The lady doubtless has her reasons. Responding to Governor Dannel Malloy’s recent boast, “I have made it clear that I am not proposing the raising of any taxes and I oppose the raising of taxes across the board,” Mrs. Boucher said, a note of exasperation in her voice, “Where are they going to take the money from? You can’t be running hundreds of millions in shortfalls every year. It sounds like they want to withhold road and education aid to towns and cities. People are worried about the financial crisis and tolls and higher gas taxes and mansion taxes.”

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Malloy Says No Tax Increases… But

The headline – “No Tax Increase Expected” – was unintentionally misleading. Plenty of people in Connecticut expect tax increases – or, at the least, revenue enhancers – sometime after elections in Connecticut have been put to bed. In our fair Republic, governors propose and legislatures dispose of budgets. Recurring deficits demonstrate that neither Mr. Malloy, the first Democratic governor since the Bill O’Neill administration, nor the Democratic dominated General Assembly have been adept at writing budgets.  The lede to the story in the Hartford paper was accurate: “Governor Dannel P.  Malloy will not propose tax increases next week during his annual budget speech at the opening of the legislative session, his spokesman said Wednesday.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

All The Governor’s Men


It’s not at all unusual for aides employed by governors and presidents to make their way into lucrative businesses that are, once the aides have left public service, profitably engaged with entities connected in one way or another with their former bosses. Communication directors for presidents or governors occasionally are hired by news networks that report on government operations, or governmental aides join lucrative firms that advise businesses or politicians how best to interface with government bigwigs. The walls that separate politics and corporate entities that do business either with a state or national regulatory octopus are semi-permeable.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Where Have All The Democratic Moderates Gone?

William Butler Yeats
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity –
William Butler Yeats

The split in the national Republican Party on the right has been visible for months, while the split among Democrats on the left has not been as publicly evident. But it is there, rankling just beneath the surface of the Democratic Party, and every so often the horned beast shows itself.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

National Review Spanks Trump



What follows below is an abbreviated commentary on Donald Trump that may be found in an upcoming issue of National Review. All the commentators are credible conservatives. A full throated version may be found here.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Democrats In Denial, Connecticut’s Spending Problem

If you’re passing by a house on the street and see flames licking the windows, hear the screams of people rending the air, watch them as they pour out of the house carrying with them their prized possessions, note the blasts of firetrucks approaching, it would hardly be presumptuous of you to conclude that the house is on fire.

Politicians and legislators do not as quickly reach such obvious and solid conclusions; they are extraordinary people whose sensory apparatus is… well… different. For the lean and hungry ambitious politician, whether or not the house is on fire depends upon whether it is politically prudent to reach the obvious conclusion. One must consider exigencies before pulling the alarm: For instance, “If I cry fire, will I be elected next term?”

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Malloy Lipsticking The Pig

The news was leaked in advance of the formal announcement. Capitol Report, Tom Dudchik’s popular Connecticut aggregation site, announced in a bold red headline -- BOSTON GLOBE: GE MOVING TO BOSTON, BOMBSHELL: GE EXEC CALL BAKER, WALSH. And several sub stories were listed:

FLASHBACK: Looney: 'I think they doth protest too much'...FLASHBACK: Sharkey accuses GE of 'fear-mongering'...FLASHBACK: Aresimowicz tells GE suits 'take a weekend off from the yacht'...

Monday, January 11, 2016

The State Of The Obama-Malloy Union

At the cusp of the New Year, lame duck President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address.

The real state of the union is in disarray, and here in Connecticut many nutmeggers are living lives of quiet desperation: “Dark Clouds, Sunny Speech” ran a page one, top of the fold headline in a Hartford paper.

Dark clouds indeed! The national economy continues to under-perform, and some economic tea leaf readers see yet another recessionary bump in the road. Mr. Obama has added $8 trillion to the union’s already unsupportable national debt, quickly approaching $19 trillion.  After two terms of visionary hope and change, the U.S. Congress has fallen to Republicans. Reports of al-Qaida’s demise, loudly trumpeted by Mr. Obama during his second presidential campaign, have been greatly exaggerated. Mr. Obama has turned over to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the butcher of Ukraine, the U.S.’s Middle East portfolio. Libya – the Democrats' Iraq – is under siege by ISIS following former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ouster of eccentric strongman Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. Former allies – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Israel – have been given the cold shoulder by the Obama administration, while former enemies – Putin’s Russia, Bashir al-Assad’s Syria,  and mischievous “Death to America” Iran – have been smiled upon and tentatively embraced. Mr. Obama’s unsigned and possibly unverifiable “pact” with Iran’s Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei – the President dared not call it a “treaty” because treaties must be affirmed by the U.S. Congress – is regarded by many, not least Israel, as a failure: The pact abolishes a successful embargo and, some would say, extends to Iran a permission slip to deploy nuclear weapons after a lapse of ten years.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Senator Murphy’s Hoplophobia

To begin with a footnote, “hoplophobia” is a political neologism coined in 1936 by military officer Jeff Cooper to indicate “an irrational aversion to weapons" and also “the fear of firearms and armed citizens.” Mr. Cooper was a far-sighted prophet of the our century. The anti-gun careers of Connecticut U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy did not hove into view until the 21st century was well underway.

“This state” – meaning Connecticut – wrote the editors of the Hartford Courant the day following Barack Obama’s utterly ineffective Presidential edict on gun control, “is the cradle of heartache caused by the gun, the site of the dreadful slaughter of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown four years ago.”