Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Is Connecticut Losing Its Sovereignty?


States' rights under a federated system still mean something – except when they mean nothing to the reigning power.

Britain, by withdrawing from the European Union (EU), has just provided to the free world’s democratic remnant a valuable lesson in sovereignty. Among other reasons the “Leave” party in Britain was anxious to dissever the ties that bound it to the EU was a loss of decision-making power, the leeching of sovereignty from Britain to Brussels, where matters of national import were decided by EU bureaucrats fortified against a democratic voting process to which the government of Britain had since the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, which led through Britain’s 1689 Bill of Rights to a Parliamentary ascendancy, willingly bent its knees.

Within the EU, borders were less than red lines, and questions that had been decided pre-union by individual nations were, post-union, framed by EU exigencies. When Greece, a member of the EU, predictably went broke, the country was bailed out by more responsible nations. When a failed Western foreign policy, the product of agreement between the EU and a lead-from-behind US President, produced an indigestible crop of unprocessed – and perhaps unassimilable  – illegal immigrants, borders became terms of art, as nations were muscled by the European Union to accept a massive influx of war-torn migrants, some of whom had pledged their fealty to ISIS overlords. That fealty has been written in blood in the streets of Paris and in terror attacks inspired by ISISmost recently in Orlando, Florida and Turkey.

Connecticut, under the governorship of Dannel Malloy, has been very good to the Barack Obama administration.  Connecticut was, to cite only two examples, one of the first states in the union that warmly embraced what has come to be called Obamacare. Under the Malloy administration, Connecticut adopted stringent gun regulations that all the members of the state’s all-Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation believe should become a national template. Following an attack by a militant Islamic follower of ISIS on an Orlando, Florida gay club, the Democratic members of Connecticut’s Delegation arranged to shut down profitable discussions concerning possible gun regulations and then engaged in a 1960’ “sit-in” to grab headlines and provide the Democratic Party with campaign donations.

In return for Mr. Malloy’s fealty, the Obama administration has graced the state with certain favors. If there is any politician in Connecticut who does not yet know that the state’s recurring budget deficits have been caused by high taxes, excessive regulations,  business flight and the replacement of high salary earners by lower paid workers, he or she has been hiding behind flower pots for the past five years of the Malloy administration. Mr. Malloy has many times announced firmly that there will be no more tax increases, a pre-campaign pledge followed by both the largest and the second largest tax increases in Connecticut's history.

We know that elections follow campaigns and, once politicians who play loose with their promises are safely returned to office, campaign pledges are quickly shelved in favor of politics as usual. Who does not remember former Governor John Rowland's campaign promise to repeal the Lowell Weicker income tax should voters have the good sense to elect Mr. Rowland Governor? Who does not remember Mr. Malloy’s campaign pledge, at the end of his first term, to eschew further tax increases? That pledge was followed, once Mr. Malloy had been re-installed as Governor, with the second highest tax increase in Connecticut’s history.

Mr. Malloy’s approval rating has now, he hopes, bottomed out at 24 percent, a suitable badge of courage for the governor of a state whose citizens are among the highest taxed in the nation. What a fix: Deficits recur with alarming regularity, and Mr. Malloy has promised on a stack of Bibles several times -- no more tax increases.

Ah… but… Enter the Obama administration, with a nifty “pilot program.” Gas prices in the nation have plummeted in response to increased supplies – thanks fracking! -- and an economic strategy pursued by oil rich Saudi Arabia. The drop in the price of oil and Hugo Chavez’s brand of Latin American socialism is responsible in Venezuela, a country that sits atop the largest oil reserves in the world, for the absence of toilet paper and food. Here in Connecticut, plummeting gas prices have trimmed tax receipts.

Mr. Obama’s “pilot program,” which would tax miles traveled, will provide a desperate Malloy administration with a saving buoy.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano got it exactly right:  “They’re going to wait until after the election, have this hocus pocus study and then come with this vehicle mileage tax which is going to increase the cost for everybody in the state of Connecticut.”

Ah… but… rejoined spending-cut averse Democrats such as co-chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee Representative Tony Guererra, “We have to throw these ideas out there. Whether we’re going to use this is probably, you know, far reaching right now.” The operative words in that sentence are “probably” and “right now.” After the election period has passed, revenue hungry Democrats will raise taxes. It’s what Democrats do – but not right now. In the post-election period, revenue hungry Democrats will boost taxes yet again– unless they are effectively rebuked by a politically and morally awakened voting public.


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