Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crony Capitalist Democrats

It began as a “First Five” program and then, as happens with the usual governmental fix, quickly expanded, while retaining in its name the modest number “Five.”
The day after Democratic voters in Connecticut went to the primary polls and chose Elizabeth Esty over Chris Dovovan in the 5th District campaign for the U.S. Senate, Mr. Donovan having caught his foot in an FBI snare, Governor Dannel Malloy announced he had given to Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund,  a $25 million ten-year forgivable loan at 1 percent, a $5 million job training grant, a grant up to $5 million for the building's alternative energy systems and up to $80 million in urban and industrial reinvestment tax credits.

Bridgewater is the eighth recipient of state largess in Mr. Malloy’s “Next Five” program; the name of the program, open ended to any business chosen by the governor as a fitting recipient of taxpayer dollars, has been changed to comport with reality, the “Next” suggesting that there will be no terminus beyond “Five.” It does not take long for new governors to become conversant in Orwellian Newspeak.

The reality is: The state of Connecticut is now in the corporate bribing business.

The seven companies that so far have joined the former “First Five” program are: Cigna in Bloomfield, ESPN in Bristol, NBC Sports in Stamford, Alexion Pharmaceuticals in New Haven, CareCentrix in Hartford, Sustainable Building Solutions in North Haven and, most recently, Deloitte in Stamford.

As befits the largest hedge fund in the world, the CEO of Bridgewater, founder and chief investment officer Ray Dalio, is the highest paid hedge fund manager in the world at $3.9 billion per annum. Mr. Dalio will be moving his company from Westport, Connecticut to Stamford, Connecticut. “First Five” originally was intended to lure out of state businesses into Connecticut.

If Occupy Wall Street were still in business, tents would be sprouting somewhere near Stamford's Harbor Point development where, according to co-CEO of Bridgewater Greg Jensen, the company intends to construct a 750,000-square-foot of space in two buildings on a forested campus. Mr. Jensen’s yearly salary was not mentioned in news reports touting Mr. Malloy’s big catch, but it’s probably up there in the stratosphere of other one percenters who’s fannies have been spanked by Occupiers and their sympathizers in Connecticut’s General Assembly, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan among them. Mr. Donovan’s jihad against under taxed hedge fund operators is legendary.  

The Occupiers might have had a sympathetic U.S. Representative in Mr. Dovovan had the FBI not rooted up some corruption truffles in his campaign. Last Tuesday Mr. Donovan was womped by Elizabeth Esty, wife of Mr. Malloy’s Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Daniel Esty. Mrs. Esty is believed to be a moderate Democrat. She will be facing moderate Republican State Senator Andrew Roraback in the general election.

The original progressives, like their modern counterparts, looked upon big business with a baleful eye; Teddy Roosevelt played a prominent role in the election of 1912 by vowing to break up the Big Trusts whose path to power in the economy ran through Washington D.C. and state houses.

Oddly, in the modern period, trust busters tend to be conservative Republicans, who are convinced that too-large-to-fail businesses should not be artificially propped up by Washington and state house crony capitalists. In the progress of progressivism from 1912 to 2012, the impulse to level the economic playing field by removing governmental preferments showered upon large businesses by incumbent politicians thirsty for campaign contributions gravitated from progressive Democrats to anti-crony capitalist conservatives.

The architecture of Mr. Malloy’s “Next Five” program virtually assures that capital investment cash provided by taxpayers will flow to mega-businesses such as Bridgewater, thus giving too-large-to-fail corporations a leg up over their smaller competitors, who are left to struggle in the usual Darwinian economic universe that rewards free enterprisers who have earned their own success without battening on the teat of Trust enablers.

Here is a difference between the two parties that Roraback the Moderate Republican might well stress in his campaign against Mrs. Esty, doomed by her association with the Malloy administration to support the transference of tax dollars from Social Security recipients to Mr. Dalio’s gold lined pockets.

The best, most efficient and least corrupt way to spur business activity in Connecticut is to reduce business taxes – for all businesses, not for those relatively prosperous select few whose tin cups are filled by phony progressive crony capitalist governors. Now that Mr. Donovan has been sidelined by an FBI sucker punch, real 1912 progressives in the state could use an honest political broker.              
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