The ghost of progressivism past has now formerly entered the body of Gov. Dannel Malloy, and to memorialize the occasion Eyewitness News Channel 3 titled a story following news of the governor’s “historic” tax increases -- “Malloy Proposes Largest Tax Hike In History: Every Tax To Be Raised.”
The governor’s budget proposal represents the best of all possible worlds for Chris Donovan, the most faithful Speaker of the House state employee union workers ever had.
In presenting his budget to Connecticut’s left of center legislature, Mr. Malloy, dangerously inattentive to budget politics for the last decade, has now repeated the mistakes of former Gov. Jodi Rell. Forewarned that if she presented to the legislature a budget that satisfied half the spending ambitions of the legislature, she would end up with one that satisfied nearly all the ambitions of the Democratic dominated General Assembly, Mrs. Rell proceeded to do just that. All Republicans governors – AKA “spending firewalls” -- who began negotiations with ardent progressives in the legislature by giving the General Assembly half a loaf inevitably ended up with crumbs from the table. So it was said, so it happened – time after time.
Prior to his formal presentation of the budget, Mr. Malloy here and there gave hints that sacrifice would have to be shared among all the passengers aboard the Pequod. Now that the budget has taken shape, lashed taxpayers may well grouse, “Shared sacrifice me’arse!” No matter; these few quibblers now have no effective representation in a legislature crowded with special interests, spending addicted progressive Democrats and overpaid lobbyists, some of them former politicians waiting their chance to carve out for their clients special exemptions that will leave them half flayed.
The Malloy tax increases will be permanent, assuring surpluses -- IF Connecticut ever survives its rapid descent into unreality – for years to come. Spending cuts, however, will be but a temporary inconvenience to Connecticut’s only growing sector – public employees. The spending cuts in Malloy’s budget can always be restored; indeed, anxious consumers of tax dollars need only wait for new increased revenue streams to fill temporarily reduced reservoirs. There are plenty of new feeder streams in Mr. Malloy’s progressive budget. The tax increases proposed by Malloy, on the other hand, will never be cut. When, in Connecticut’s recent history, have tax increases been reduced? The prospect of permanent tax increases and temporary spending reductions has brought a bloom, very much like a blush, to Mr. Donovan’s pale cheek. Additionally, it has put a spring in the step of Republicans who hope to fill the seats left empty by previous Malloy appointments.
We are told by progressives – Mr. Malloy counts himself among their number – that Connecticut’s budget ecology has been made more progressive by the addition of an earned income tax credit. There is not one political commentator in the state who is aware that the income tax credit, previously called a negative income tax, was first propounded by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman as a policy instrument designed to REPLACE the welfare bureaucracy. As an add-on to Connecticut’s burgeoning public sector incubus, the income tax credit is little more than the final straw laid on a camel’s breaking back.
In The Malloy dispensation, the income tax credit has become simply another drain on a rational free market system, now near collapse. The same is true of charter schools: Initially, they were sold to the public as a free market alternative to public schools that were failing inner city children. In the absence of a voucher system that would allow parents to vote against failing schools by using vouchers as tickets of entry to functioning schools, the charter system was designed to REPLACE failing public schools. The charter system of schools in Connecticut, some of which have been extraordinarily successful, will soon be de-financed in an era of scarcity so that dollars once again may flow to failing public school systems.
It does not take progressives long to kill success. In his budget, Mr. Malloy has cast the die. The question yet to be answered is: Where is the resistance, and will it succeed?