Monday, October 24, 2016

The Blumenthal-Carter Debate


In Dan Carter, who is challenging Dick Blumenthal for a seat in the U.S. Senate, the State Republican Party may have found its “happy warrior,” a title the Democratic Party once bestowed on Hubert Humphrey.

Looks and presence in politics are not everything, but they are not nothing. U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, whether he is debating or attending a garage sale, manages to look like the Old Man of the Mountain before the slide. Stiff, foreboding, resolute, unbudgeable – most especially on the matter of partial birth abortion, parental notification and the selling of baby parts, all issues that place him very far from his Connecticut constituents. And he is preachy, the very image of a Harvard-Yale educated aggressive Attorney General on the hunt for delinquent business owners, thought abortion in its grosser forms is the one profitable business in the United States that Blumenthal adamantly refuses to regulate.

Perhaps the best line in the recent debate between the two on WFSB Face the State was delivered by Mr. Carter following a windy discourse by Mr. Blumenthal explaining how a solicitous government produces jobs. Mr. Blumenthal thinks it is proper for Washington Beltway politicians to take a dollar from successful company A and give it to company B, which invariably is less successful: Why else would company B be soliciting tax money from crony capitalist politicians in Washington? Mr. Carter thinks it is the role of the U.S. Congress to promulgate general and equitable laws that spur business activity, which in turn increases federal tax revenue, c.f. President John Kennedy’s address to the Economics Club of New York in 1962.

After Mr. Blumenthal had finished describing his Rube Goldberg economic policy, which does exactly the opposite of what he would wish, the “happy warrior” smilingly observed that he was having “a Deja vu moment,” a reference to Mr. Blumenthal’s forgettable answer to a question put to him in an earlier debate by billionaire Republican challenger Linda McMahon: “How is wealth created?” Mr. Blumenthal’s answer showed he knew less about the economy than the Old Man of the Mountain.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool,” said Abe Lincoln “than to speak and to remove all doubt,” good advice now twice spurned by Mr. Blumenthal.

Connecticut is suffering a chronic economic downturn largely because Democrats who have pledged their troth to employees unions, much in the way Blumenthal has married himself to the baby parts merchants, simply do not know that business best flourishes when the withering hand of government – high taxes and unnecessary regulations – only lightly and equitably touches it.  Not for nothing did George Washington say “Government is force,” which is and should be restrained by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Obamacare, now failing, is for all practical purposes an alternative insurance company; it’s failure will almost certainly drive  authoritarian Democrats to “fix” the wreck by transferring to universal healthcare system – Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has hinted as much --  at which point already reeling Connecticut insurance companies will find themselves in competition with a national insurance company far removed from a competitive marketplace and supported through tax dollars. Connecticut is heavily invested in its insurance companies, and there is little doubt that a national “investment” in a government driven universal health care system will transform many of Connecticut’s insurance companies into boutique insurance providers. As a necessary consequence, jobs will be lost, tax revenue will diminish, and Connecticut’s crony capitalist Governor Dannel Malloy will find it even less possible to bribe Connecticut insurance companies to continue to provide employment in a market that has been so substantially transformed.

Following the Blumenthal-Carter debate, one paper reported that there were “notable areas of philosophical disagreement. Asked about efforts to spur job-creation, Carter spoke of the need to reform the corporate tax code and control government spending. Blumenthal called for investment in strengthening national defense, rebuilding transportation infrastructure and investing in job-training as well as offering tax credits for research and ending special tax breaks for companies that take jobs overseas.”

Philosophical indeed! One does not spur job creation in a private marketplace by taking from the marketplace dollars used to create business activity and jobs, then distributing those dollars to projects that never will be self-sustaining. Connecticut itself is flush with jobs created by government; the public employee marketplace has exploded. But every dollar used to pay for salaries and underfunded benefits that are 25 to 46 percent more costly than those provided in the private marketplace, according to the unimpeachable Yankee Institute, is a dollar lost that otherwise might have been used to create jobs now purchased with bribes in the form of grants and temporary tax cuts offered to ailing Connecticut companies. And why, pray tell, are companies in Connecticut ailing – or worse, moving out of state?

We know why. The great rush from Connecticut has little to do with philosophy and everything to do with a government wearing ideological blinders that prevent it from drawing logical obvious conclusions from events politicians would prefer to ignore – in order to win elections so that the reigning power might continue to execute failed policies.

Blumenthal, the third richest Congressman in the Senate and as imperishable as the Old Man of the Mountain before the slide, will not allow more debates between himself and “The Happy Warrior” because it is not in his interest to do so. Absent a great awakening among Connecticut’s voters, Blumenthal at least has a good chance of retaining his job.   


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