Monday, October 27, 2014

The Second Malloy Administration

It may not be too soon to consider, if only as a hypothetical exercise, what a second Malloy administration might be like.

There is a short and a long answer. A second administration would look very much like the first. Republicans, kept idle on the back benches, would be curtly cut out of governing. During his first administration, Governor Dannel Malloy simply waved Republicans away from the budget negotiating table and formed a tax and spending plan through secret, closed door negotiations with Democratic General Assembly party leaders.

Once a budget template had been agreed upon, Democrats in the General Assembly outfitted Mr. Malloy with near plenipotentiary powers to negotiate union contracts with SEBAC, a consortium of public employee unions. Following negotiations, prolonged because union rank and file members appeared to misunderstand the terms of the agreement – which was exceedingly favorable to them, according to Edith Prague, one of the most pro-union legislators in the General Assembly -- Mr. Malloy’s readjusted budget was not resubmitted to the legislature for re-approval. 

Unless a miracle occurs before people tramp to the polls on November 4th, Democrats will continue to dominate both houses of the legislature. Most media outlets in the state, abandoning any effective opposition to Connecticut’s one party ruling apparatus, appear to be satisfied with the present political arrangement in which Democrats effectively control not only the governor’s office and the General Assembly, but also all the state’s Constitutional offices, as well as the entire U.S. Congressional delegation. Mr. Malloy’s second budget, therefore, is a done deal —maybe.

There is a troubling hitch. The gimmes in the state, progressives with knives in their brains, have set their sights on a more steeply progressive income tax. A soak the millionaires tax has been a dream of the extreme left in Connecticut ever since then Governor Lowell Weicker instituted the state’s income tax. That brass ring is now within reach, and more progressive business taxes are not off the table, which may help to explain why businesses in the state are eyeing the exit signs. The gimmes’ rhetorical opponent is Mr. Malloy, the author of the highest tax increase in state history, who has said numerous times during the current gubernatorial campaign that he a) will not increase taxes or b) cut spending. Ruling progressives in the General Assembly, always averse to spending cuts, are rather hoping that Mr. Malloy’s opposition to further taxation is a convenient campaign pose.

Ironically, Mr. Malloy is the state’s last tax and spend “firewall.” Once the progressive ascendancy has been reaffirmed in the coming general election, the way will open to a more steeply progressive tax on those millionaires in Connecticut whom both Mr. Malloy and other Democrats have assailed as ravishers of the poor. After all, had not Mr. Malloy during his first campaign claimed unequivocally, “Raising taxes is the last thing I’ll do?” Upon being installed as governor, the first thing Mr. Malloy did was to drape around Middle Class necks in Connecticut massive tax increases.

The increases were necessary to restore depleted slush funds later used by Mr. Malloy to bribe multi-billion dollar companies such as United Technologies to remain in a state that has driven away from its doors wealth producing, over-regulated and over-taxed companies. A cut in all business taxes might have lifted all the boats – leveling the playing field at the same time, now tilted to benefit Mr. Malloy’s pet companies -- but progressives such as Mr. Malloy preferred to engage in crony capitalism, a process in which taxpayers assume all the risks of Mr. Malloy’s “investments,” while state assisted companies consume all the tax benefits. The same taxes and regulations that kill entrepreneurial activity in Connecticut boost the political fortunes of its crony capitalist politicians.

Within Connecticut’s Democratic Party, effective opposition to ruinous taxation, over-regulation and crony capitalism has all but disappeared. In Connecticut, and elsewhere in the Northeast progressive rustbelt, what used to be called, rather wistfully, “the vital center,” a moderate media res between right and left, has vanished, the center having moved to the extreme left. Mr. Malloy has become the Eugene Debs of Connecticut politics. There is no effective and active opposition to his right, either from right of center Republicans or vanquished Democratic moderates.

So then, Connecticut citizens may expect during a second Malloy term higher taxes, more spending, more crony capitalism, more puff-puffery from politicians who have pledged to rescue the state from the ditch into which they have driven it, more cuckoldry from Connecticut’s quisling media and more progressivism, which is itself the disease it purports to cure.
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