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Connecticut's Corrupt Pension Fund Management

Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his merry band of researchers have discovered that Connecticut’s pension funds “have one of the worst investment track records of any state in the nation with long-term, chronic investment underperformance.” How bad is it? Sonnefeld writes, “With $40 billion in assets — largely the pooled retirement savings of the state’s hardworking teachers, firefighters and public employees — if Connecticut’s investments had yielded just the median returns of all 50 states, the past five years, we would have had $5 billion more and be able to cut taxes by 50 percent instead of 0.5 percent.  Connecticut would have reaped a whopping $27 billion more over the last decade — practically enough to fully fund Connecticut’s pension obligations while simultaneously dramatically reducing taxes.” A $27 billion loss of returns is not insignificant. Yet, to judge from the shallow reporting on the loss, one would think that the startling   report and the meager media
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The Glover Autopsy

Mark Pazniokas of CTMirror tells us “Sandra Slack Glover withdrew Friday as Gov. Ned Lamont’s nominee for the state Supreme Court, unable to overcome legislative questions about her commitment to upholding Connecticut’s strong reproductive rights laws. “Glover, 52, the appellate chief for the U.S. Attorney of Connecticut, was wounded by a letter she signed in 2017 on behalf of Amy Coney Barrett, the conservative destined to play a pivotal role in ending a woman’s federal right to an abortion.” Political obituaries are now rolling in. Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reminds us following Glover’s withdrawal that both Governor Ned Lamont and Glover are new to the serpentine ways of Connecticut politics. If either had been more experienced politically, the nomination might have been saved. During her confirmation testimony before the state Judiciary Committee, Glover had set off too many political tripwires. Glover had signed the usual letter of recommendation for Amy Coney Barret

Self-Interview, May 2023

Me Someone, taking umbrage at something I had written, asked me the other day, “Who do you think you are?” I’ve attempted below in a self-interview a brief answer to the question. There will be no forthcoming autobiography. Q: You have been writing on Connecticut politics for more than 40 years, and your blog site, Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes from a Blue State , is the oldest commentary site devoted to Connecticut politics in the state. How would you characterize yourself politically? A: I like to call myself a contrarian journalist. Q: Not a conservative? A: My wife, Andree, and I were good friends with Bill Buckley, who was, in the view of friends and enemies alike, responsible for the modern American conservative movement. I don’t think he considered me a conservative. He liked my columns and agreed with many of them. But conservatism and its political opposite, neo-progressivism, are political orientations, not philosophies. My orientation is perhaps more cynical, in

The Glover Abortion Kerfuffle

Blumenthal -- One of the many problems with neo-progressives – most especially in Connecticut – is that they never seem to know when they have won a battle. The abortion battle in Connecticut was won in 1990 when the state incorporated into state statutes the dubious provisions of  Roe v. Wade . The high court’s decision in  Dobbs v. Jackson  did not make abortion illegal, nor did it threaten abortion in the states when affirmed by legislative statutes. The opposite is true. The court struck down a badly reasoned prior judgment and ruled that “the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg agreed that  Roe v. Wade  had been poorly decided long before the court decision in  Dobbs v. Jackson . The high court’s decision reversing  Roe v. Wade  leaves in place the Connecticut statute affirming the provisions of  Roe v. Wade . That would not be the case had the high court decided th

Connecticut’s Abundance of Riches

Lamont and the General Assembly Connecticut’s government, if not the state’s citizenry, is suffering from an abundance of riches, according to a piece in the Hartford Courant . “With the state generating record budget surpluses,” Chris Keating writes, “Connecticut legislators are now facing a relatively new situation for a previously cash-strapped state: how much should they cut taxes?” In large part, it is the spending guardrails installed after Republicans in the General Assembly had achieved near-parity with Democrats several years ago, that had produced the state surplus. Cuts in future spending increases, guardrails that prevent profligate spending, do tend to produce surpluses. “The state-mandated cap was reconfirmed by both Democrats and Republicans earlier this year,” Keating reminds us. “The fiscal guardrails were enacted by the bipartisan budget of 2017 that was crafted when Republicans had more power in a state Senate tied at 18-18… The  latest numbers from the state c

How to Avoid Debt Limits

The so called “debt limit” debate in the U.S. Congress – there is no debate on the floor of the U.S. Congress between contending parties, and President Joe Biden; head of the U.S. Senate Chuck Schumer, and all the Democrat members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation, insist there should be none -- is really a campaign kabuki theatre featuring the following question: Should there be a debt limit on borrowing by the federal government  at all ? Democrats have decided there should be no debt limits. There are difficulties in pressing this point, not the least of which is – Congress has established a debt limit to force the federal government to adhere to rational and necessary curbs on spending. The current national debt is about $31.46 trillion and rising. The U.S. Congress, a political body constitutionally charged with getting and spending tax dollars, closed any discussion on the point when it established the borrowing debt limit. And, unfortunately for spendthrift neo-

Government by Caucus

Ritter and Looney -- CTMirror The opposite of democratic government is government by caucus. The state’s General Assembly has been crowded with Democrats for the last few decades. The last time Connecticut's Senate and House had majorities of different political parties was in the 1963 and 1965 sessions, nearly 50 years ago. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by a two to one margin, and unaffiliateds are slightly more numerous than Democrats. Previous Democrat governors allied with Democrat caucus leaders have formed budgets and created laws without effective input from Republican Party leaders, some of them, such as former Governor Dannel Malloy, boastfully. Connecticut has been a one-party government for decades. Jodi Rell, now residing in state income tax free Florida, was the last Republican governor; the General Assembly has been controlled by Democrats for nearly half a century; all constitutional offices in the state are held by Democrats; and the state’s U.