“Connecticut’s political left," as Mark Pazniokas of CTMirror has taken to calling them, met in New Haven at a “People’s Symposium” -- what else? – to grill Connecticut’s Democrat candidates for governor in 2018.
The interrogators, members of Connecticut’s “Working Families Organization,” a left-wing subset of the state’s Democratic Party ideologically affiliated with state union employees, itself a subset of the Connecticut’s much more numerous real working families, came away from the grilling somewhat satisfied that the candidates had met their non-negotiable demands. The next Democrat governor must soak the rich with progressive taxes, support a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, oppose any and all efforts to “erode collective bargaining for public-sector employees in Connecticut,” and agitate against President Donald Trump – which, in Connecticut, is not a high hurdle to overleap.
And never mind that “Connecticut lost $2.6 billion in 2015 as high-wealth residents moved out,” an item reported by Marc Fitch of the Yankee Institute. Citing data provided by the Internal Revenue Service, Fitch notes, “A total of $2.6 billion in adjusted gross income was lost to other states as Connecticut experienced a net loss of roughly 20,179 residents… The largest group of tax filers leaving the state were those earning over $200,000 per year. Between 2015 and 2016, Connecticut saw a net loss of 2,050 tax filers who earn more than $200,000 per year, the most since the IRS began tracking that income bracket.”
These are real-world losses – permanent losses. But then, when ever have progressives in the state attended to the real-world consequences of their ruinous policies?
Only one of the candidates on the dais, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, has declared he is running for governor; his stablemates are still exploring the possibility. They are: Joe Ganim, the felonious Mayor of Bridgeport, Dita Bhargava, a former Wall Street executive from Greenwich, and former State Senator Jonathan Harris of West Hartford. Out in the pasture, chewing their cuds and considering a run for governor are Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut’s bankrupt Capital City, Luke Bronin, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Ned Lamont, the darling of progressives who successfully challenged former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman in a Democrat primary. Lamont lost in the general election when Lieberman “pulled a Weicker” and ran for governor as an independent.
Asked whether they would support additional taxes on the top three percent of earners in Connecticut, all of whom have wings on their feet that easily could carry them to a more welcoming state, two of the gubernatorial wannabes, Harris and Drew, replied unequivocally “yes,” Ganim hedged his bets – “I don’t think you can exclude any options at all, so the answer then is yes” -- and Bhargava, who has had some real-world experience in economics, replied, as unequivocally, “no.”
Bhargava has a degree in computer coding and engineering, describes herself as a pro-business feminist, and hopes as governor to be able to bring back to a floundering state “the Obama-era campaign of ‘hope and change’ with a fresh outlook on politics and a knack for facing challenges head on that people say are impossible,” according to a profile in Elite Daily.
Malloy -- the most progressive, tax prone, union friendly governor Connecticut has had in living memory – has said no to new taxes several times, while winking at new taxes. For a while, Malloy seemed to be unwilling to send to the execution block the goose that long has been laying the golden eggs deposited in Connecticut treasury. But, unwilling to defend his legacy at the polls, he has written himself out of Connecticut’s future, which now is to be placed in the hands of the state’s junior varsity Democrats, the party’s major players having left the game.
Had former Governor Ella Grasso been on stage, she would not have survived the “People’s Symposium” inquisitors, which raises the question: Are there any moderate Democrats left in the party of John Bailey, Abe Ribicoff and Grasso, a pinch-penny governor who was an ardent foe of a state income tax – for reasons that have now become apparent?
Mark Twain, Hartford’s own temperamental social and political critic – “Whiskey is carried into committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues” -- used to grouse about the weather in New England – “We all grumble about the weather, but nothing is done about it." And the same may be said in the “State of Steady Bad Habits,” everyone talks about spending, but nobody does anything about it. Indeed, so long as progressive demagogues are at the helm of the state, increasing taxes will always be the default position for politicians in trouble.