Thursday, January 24, 2019

Connecticut’s Trump Bump And Culture Reinvention



While Connecticut Democrats were busying themselves thumping President Donald Trump during the recently concluded elections – the state’s all Democrat US Congressional Delegation would not shed a tear if U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi and US Senator Chuck Schumer were to succeed in impeaching him – Trump has delivered the goods to The Provision State.

The state’s underperforming economy may finally join the rest of the nation, much of which had recovered from the Great Recession many moons ago, in a splendid recovery – just in time too. Economists in Connecticut have not titled the coming jobs boom The Trump Bump, although a recent Hartford Business Journal (HBJ) report, “UTC’s 4Q profits jump 73%; CEO Hayes airs separation plans HBJ” comes dangerously close.


Here is the good news: “Farmington conglomerate United Technologies Corp., which plans to split into three separate companies, on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter profits soared 72.7 percent on booming aerospace sales and a favorable U.S. corporate tax rate.”

UTC CEO Gregory Hayes, a smile lighting his face, noted that profits were up and "2018 was a transformational year for United Technologies."

HBJ reported, “The thriving aviation market drove UTC's fourth-quarter surge, Hayes said in a conference call Wednesday morning, with newly acquired Rockwell Collins leading sales growth with $4.9 billion in revenues during the quarter, up 29 percent year-over-year. East Hartford's Pratt & Whitney posted $5.5 billion in sales, up 24.2 percent.”

A rising economic tide, President John Kennedy once said, lifts all the boats. And this rising tide, the result chiefly of Trump’s new military procurements, will re-water Connecticut's parched treasury. A larger employment pie allows state government to engorge itself with new revenue – without raising taxes. It is a win-win for both anti-Trump Democrats in Connecticut like US Representative John Larson and tax-weary  citizens of the state still reeling from former Governor Dan Malloy’s crippling tax increases.

Republicans already are ringing the tocsin:  Maybe if we wait a bit, we won’t need those tolls after all. Also, is it possible we may be fondling too often the third rail of New England’s social issues?

Prior to the progressive take-over of Connecticut, the state was prepared to go its own way, luxuriating in its own unique character. Connecticut was for much of its history a refuge from New York’s predatory politics and brutal taxation. All this changed with the advent of former Senator Lowell Weicker’s successful gubernatorial bid in 1991. Weicker forced an income tax through the General Assembly; the playing field having been leveled, the state found itself in competition with New York City and Boson, Massachusetts.

It was no contest, and Connecticut “got its clock cleaned,” a favorite expression of Weicker’s. How, for instance, can Connecticut compete with New York in job poaching?

Connecticut is now in a race to the bottom on so called “social issues.” Bad political models make for bad cultural dives to the bottom. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, a nominal Catholic, has now begun a scuffle with his wounded Catholic Church. “Andrew Cuomo,” Fox News reports, “is under fire from faith leaders after he signed a bill into law that legalizes abortion up until birth in many cases.”

Cuomo will have no problem in a fisticuffs contest with his church’s faith leaders. In much of New England, it pays politically to scuff up Catholic doctrine. His real problem will be with pregnant mothers – they are women too – who have consulted ultrasound images and found that late term fetuses bear a striking resemblance to born babies. But New York, in any case, has taken a great social leap forward, and Connecticut, a national leader on progressive social issues, has a bit of catching up to do. Progressives do not believe in definitional lines – fetus or baby? -- whatever science and common sense suggests.

Connecticut’s own Senator from Planned Parenthood, Dick Blumenthal, has yet to tell us, perhaps because no one has put the question to him publicly during one of his frequent highly scripted media availabilities, why his most cherished industry should be the only one in the United States that remains unregulated. The suit-prone Blumenthal was, for more than two decades as Connecticut’s Attorney General, the state regulator-in-chief.

Connecticut’s cultural re-invention is well underway, and the political map has changed as well, mostly owing to the inattention of Republicans and the approval of the state’s left of center media. Culture is an Archimedean lever: Give me a place outside the world where I can place my lever, said Archimedes, and I will move the world. This is the progressive order of business; first change the culture and politics will meekly follow in its train.

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