Thursday, May 06, 2010

Weicker At UConn Law

Ex-Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker appeared at the UConn Law School and gave a talk that touched on a number of subjects: health care, beltway manners, and bill paying averse legislators at the state capitol among them.

Weicker on his reluctance to run for governor, as reported by Jeff Cohen of WNPR: "Somebody asked me, when I came on campus, wouldn't you like to be governor....Helloooo????"

This as our tax belabored state is poised to celebrate the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Axe The Tax rally in Hartford. It seems like only yesterday, except for the many UConn students too young to have a personal memory of the event.



All the spirits that hovered around Weicker on that grand day are very much in the air we breathe. Joe Markley -- who, along with Tom Scott, was responsible for the anti-tax rally in Hartford – is once again running for his old seat in the state senate, and he has a righteous wind at his back.

The Weicker tax, as it was designed to do, made life very easy indeed for tax and spend state legislators. The highly regressive income tax – most of which comes out of the pockets of millionaires, some of whom live in Weicker’s old digs in Greenwich, Connecticut – has contributed billions of dollars in surpluses that should have been returned by the spendthrift legislature to the little folk living on Main Street, who now are having some difficulty sending their children to UConn Law.

One of the signs at the Axe The Tax rally 20 years ago was a very modest, hand written one emblazoned with the legend: “Hartford Tea Party.”

Lately, the tea parties have gown in size and strength in direct proportion to the ill conceived Weicker tax and its inevitable consequence: a budget that has grown, since Weicker introduced his tax, from 7 to 14 billion.

Weicker on health care:
“When Weicker got to the heart of his talk, he said that preventing illness is cheaper than treating it and it's better for patients. And now that the nation has a new health care law, Weicker says it's time to make it better.

"’The time has come now to move on past all the rhetoric and do the right thing. Repealing healthcare it isn't going to happen. I don't care who's in power. To be in pain or in fear of death with nowhere to go is not something that I would wish on anyone.’"
Weicker on beltway habits:

"The last several months of public discourse have marked a low point as to how we treat and view each others as Americans. The debate has been just as bad on the floor of the house and the senate as it has on the streets of America,” a rather prissy attitude for someone who once described himself as a “turd in the Republican Party punchbowl.”

And touching upon flabby spines state legislators, Weicker managed to sound like a cross between Billy Graham and Zarathustra:

“And, speaking of political will, he had a few words after his speech was over for leaders at the state capitol, as this year's legislative session wound to a close with an apparent one-year budget fix.

"’The time has come to pay the bill here in the State of Connecticut and you can't kick it down the road. I pray for a little steel up the spine. This is the moment that they're elected for.’

“Because, Weicker said, a solution that lasts just 365 days isn't much of a solution at all.”
When Wicker made his remarks, he was well outside the epicenter of the implosion at the state capitol, where spineless legislators decided to burry their heads in red ink.

Weicker has not said whether he would prefer to liquidate the state’s ever growing debt through spending reductions or tax hikes, though if personal history is any predictor of behavior, one supposes he would prefer to raise the income tax he bestowed upon us, lo those many years ago.

Calling for specific tax hikes – or perhaps spending cuts that might make the dean of UConn Law a bit queasy – would take some courage.
Post a Comment