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Showing posts from April, 2017

A Brief History Of The Destruction Of Connecticut

“The future ain’t what it used to be” – Yogi Berra This year, as in other fiscal years, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Budget guru Ben Barnes has overestimated tax receipts. “ Malloy Calls For Hiring Freeze  As Income Tax Collections Nose-Dive $450 Million ” a recent story screams. Such repeated miscalculations are odd, issuing from a man who not so long ago had been hit by a lightning bolt coming out of the blue. Following a painful Damascus Road unhorsing sometime back, Mr. Barnes told us that Connecticut would in the future have to get used to repetitive deficits – because the state’s economy was under-performing. After the fourth murder, even an amateur detective might begin to suspect a pattern had begun to develop and rule out happenstance.

Tax The Guy Behind The Tree

Don’t tax you. Don’t tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree -- Russell Long Connecticut has suffered – precisely the right word – from three massive tax increases.   The first was the 1991 Lowell Weicker Income Tax, which sent a clear message to contiguous states and businesses both inside and outside our borders: Connecticut has surrendered a no income tax hedge that had given it an advantage over bordering states such as New York and Massachusetts; and the state had committed itself to increases in taxation and spending. The Weicker body blow was repeated twice during the administration of Governor Dannel Malloy, approval rating 28 percent. Mr. Malloy, who lame-ducked himself last week, is the author of both the largest and second largest tax increases in state history.

Diversity Among Change Resistant Democrats

Leading Democrats are not without ideas, but they are the old, tried and failed ideas. Rarely do Democrats mention the devil words “permanent spending cuts” in any of their political prescriptions. For nearly the entire Malloy administration, they have been desperately trying the usual fixes: check the battery, change the oil, don’t forget the filter, but the engine won’t turn over, and more taxes won’t make it go. Democrat Jason Rojas of East Hartford, the finance committee co-chairman over at Spend Central, Hartford’s General Assembly, is certain, according to an item in a Hartford paper , “‘There's a pretty broad diversity of opinion’ among lawmakers about how to tackle the state deficit.” And of course, he’s right. The category “lawmakers” embraces both Republicans and Democrats, usually at loggerheads with each other concerning what ails the state and how best to fix it. But the ruling party – Democrats have controlled the General Assembly for a half century, and the

Soundings: April 2017

“If you don’t know where you are, how can you get to where you’re going? That’s why you’ve got to take stock of yourself every so often” – a waitress to a customer in a diner. Q: You’re getting on in years; isn’t it time for some sort of summing up? A: I don’t see any pressing need. Q: You’ve written a great deal about politics in Connecticut… A: … most of it lying dead in newspaper morgues… Q: Maybe so, but a record has been established in Connecticut Commentary for those who wish to consult it. Has anything changed because of your writing?

Connecticut’s Coming Primary Circus

Governor Dannel Malloy assured Connecticut’s Democratic Party, early on in the political season, that he will not be running for a third term. Democrats are rather hoping this may somewhat deflate the Republican march to the governor’s office. There are two groups that have been running against Mr. Malloy during his two terms: Republican gubernatorial hopefuls patiently awaiting the moment Mr. Malloy would throw his hat in the ring once again, and Mr. Malloy himself, whose progressive political prescriptions have curdled. His own worst enemy, Republicans will sadly bid Mr. Malloy good-bye. Not so Democrats. Mr. Malloy’s not unexpected announcement has thrown wide the door to multiple possibilities. Perhaps the most amusing is the non-announcement of Democratic President Pro Tem of the Senate, Martin Looney, who was asked if he had plans to enter the gubernatorial race. Mr. Looney did have such plans, but they were narrowly circumscribed by conditions: if Mr. Malloy would do M

Weicker Surfaces, Hartford’s Coming Bankruptcy

Former Governor Lowell Weicker surfaced recently and both condemned, unwittingly, and complimented lame duck Governor Dannel Malloy. Every so often, Mr. Weicker, intent on working the dents out of his legacy, pokes his head above the fox hole, scans enemy territory for a friendly face, and spills some political beans. Ken Dixon of the Connecticut Post asked Mr. Weicker to comment on Mr. Malloy’s decision to pack it in, and he obliged. What Weicker said was, as usual, confusing and contradictory.

Save The Children: Malloy’s Finest Hour

At the beginning of April, Connecticut’s State Board of Education, by de-linking student evaluations and teacher performance, dismantled the last remnant of Governor Dannel Malloy’s valiant attempt to reform public school education. For a long, long while it was touch and go. In most businesses – and public education is one of the state’s biggest Big Businesses -- the free market acts as a check on inferior products and services. If the widget or service produced by business A does not perform up to expectations, the purchaser will turn to A’s competitor, business B, and in due course business A will either be driven from the field or improve its product or service. This process, which insures improvement, does not apply to public education – a state monopoly that draws its financing from tax receipts. Only a governor or a legislature can deny public funds to inferior schools, and doing so – if you are a Democrat reliant on state employee unions for sustenance -- is a hazardous

Malloy Exits

There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet…  Time for you and time for me,  And time yet for a hundred indecisions,  And for a hundred visions and revisions,  Before the taking of a toast and tea – T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock In 20 months, reporters in the state will be referring to “former Governor Dannel Malloy.” On Thursday, Mr. Malloy announced he would be passing the gubernatorial baton to some other deserving Democrat, so he hopes. In the last few years, Republicans have made inroads into Connecticut’s one-party state. The State Senate is now evenly split between the two parties, and Democratic hegemony in the General Assembly has had one of its wings clipped.

Twain, Roosevelt and Imperialism

Teddy Roosevelt on Twain – “I wish I could skin Mark Twain alive.” Twain on Roosevelt – “We have had no President before who was destitute of self-respect for his high office. We have had no President before who was not a gentleman; we have had no President before who was intended for a butcher, a dive-keeper or a bully...   Our people have adored this showy charlatan as perhaps no impostor of his brood has been adored since the Golden Calf, so it is to be expected that the Nation will want him back again after he is done hunting other wild animals heroically in Africa, with the safeguard and advertising equipment of a park of artillery and a brass band. ” Occasionally, columnists back up against a thorny subject much in the way an innocent traveler in the woods backs up against a porcupine. The collision is often painful for both the porcupine and the columnist. Although the deathless struggle between Twain and TR has been known for more than a century, it is rarely m

Understanding North Korea Through Dramaturgy

The U.S. military is sending the Vinson Strike Group, including the carrier and two guided-missile destroyers, to operate in the Western Pacific Ocean in response to Pyongyang’s recent missile tests. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, asked about the strike force, issued a terse statement: “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.” Is this a post-Syrian bombing mission? Will the US take out North Korea’s missile launching sites, possibly with the unspoken concurrence of China? Never let a bombing go to waste. There are some in the United States who think any such incident should be used to rid North Korea of that runty little totalitarian cock-of-the-walk who keeps his countrymen starved, in fear and at his knees. Since we only have one chance, they say, go for the clean sweep -- no more Kims. Connecticut Commentary is reprinting an earlier piece about the Kims here. Best read with a glass of port.

The Pretense Of Governing

The more corrupt the state, the more laws -- Tacitus “ What’s the Matter With Connecticut ?” the Wall Street Journal, a publication read by some business investors, asks in a recent editorial. Of course, the editors, businesses that have been fleeing the state, young college graduates who have been kicking the dirt of Connecticut from their feet and moving to less predatory states, all know the answer to the question: If you’re sitting on a bed of nails – you move. It’s the nails – or us! That is the central message young college graduates are sending to state government. Here is the lede to the editorial: “Connecticut’s progressive tax experiment has hit a wall. Tens of thousands of residents are fleeing for lower tax climes, which has prompted Democrats to propose—get this—paying new college grads a thousand bucks to stick around. Maybe they’re afraid an exodus of young people will turn the state Republican.”

Klarides Pounds Democrats

The trouble with bad manners, Bill Buckley used to say, is that they sometimes lead to murder. This is true in more than a metaphorical sense. Murder, in addition to being a crime, also is a serious breach in morals and manners. Frothing over with Democratic bumper sticker propaganda, Democratic State Representative Matt Lesser, addressing Republican Party opposition to what has been called “a pay equity bill” let loose on Republicans. Opposition to the bill, Mr. Lesser said, is “rooted in two things: ‘We’ve always done it,’ and bigotry.” Unfortunately for Mr. Lesser, Republican leader in the House Themis Klarides was within ear shot.

Blumenthal’s Potemkin Village Objections to Gorsuch

At the end of March, U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal announced in a Hartford Courant Op-Ed column that he “will vote against the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch as United States Supreme Court Justice.” His reasons for doing so do not bear close examination, but they correspond neatly to the reasons offered by other Democrats, demonstrating perhaps that Blumenthal is a reliable Democratic Party soldier who comes when he’s called and goes when he’s ordered to do so by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, the unacknowledged propaganda chief of  the party. Had Hillary Clinton won the presidency in her contest with Donald Trump, whose ideology is blurry, Blumenthal would be taking his marching orders from Mrs. Clinton. Alas, as the poet tells us, “the best laid plans of mice and men are often torn asunder.” Mr. Trump was elected President, the House and Senate were lost to Republicans, and Democrats have been choking on bile ever since.

Lieutenant Markley

The bad news, some conservatives in Connecticut will say, is that State Senator Joe Markley will not be running for governor. The good news is that Mr. Markley -- now representing the 16th Senatorial District, which includes the towns of Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Wolcott and Waterbury – has announced he is running for Lieutenant Governor. Why not governor? “When asked why he didn’t aim for the top office,”  the Record Journal reports , “he said there are already many strong Republican candidates considering a run. I’m very interested in having some Republican elected as governor next year because we have to change direction in this state. I feel that this is the spot on the ticket where I can most be of service.”

The Curse Of Victimology

Perhaps the governors of the states should hand out victimization certificates along with birth certificates because – when everyone is a victim, no one will be a victim, and that may help to put an end to the victimization of non-victims nonsense. Students at Yale, we have recently discovered, are victims. One may wonder whether a graduate of Yale or Harvard has been the more victimized. Are any of them more victimized than the fatherless children in Connecticut's shoot-up capitol city, Hartford, which a few months ago was proclaimed the murder capital of New England? Everyone, it seems, wants to get in on the action. In academia, the victimization scam may end in the destruction of the liberties of scientists. Among the most oppressed victims in the 21 st century, we discover, is tortured Penn State University climatologist Michael Mann, who appeared before U.S. Congress at the end of March to declare himself victimized. Consider his bleeding wounds.