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Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Red Notes From a Blue State - Trump, Help Or Hindrance In Connecticut
While in the South – land of opportunity for Northern expats
– I was asked by a Connecticut resident who had moved below the Mason-Dixon
line several years ago seeking relief from ever-expanding taxation, the general
reluctance to make long term permanent cuts in spending, excessive regulation,
and the arrogance of progressives who had ruined his state, “Will President
Trump be a help or a hindrance for Connecticut Republicans running for office
The non-simplistic answer to the question on everyone’s mind
is, as the new moralists might say, complex. The complex answer depends upon a
shifting political frame.
Will Connecticut Democrats be able to disassociate
themselves sufficiently from the ruinous policies of departing Governor Dannel
Malloy, whose approval ratings, never high, have now dipped far below the
approval ratings of the Democrat’s straw man, the redoubtable Trump, whose
ratings are in the ascendancy – though, one supposes, not in Connecticut?
Have voters in Connecticut been sufficiently racked and
thumb-screwed to cause them to alter usual inflexible voting patterns?
Registered Democrats still outnumber registered Republicans by a two to one
margin; unaffiliateds slightly outnumber registered Democrats. “Fool me once,
shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you,” the old adage warns us. Are
Connecticut voters who have not yet expatriated themselves fools? Are
Connecticut politicians shameless?
On the Democrat side, the likelihood of a radical break with
progressive policies – increasing taxes to discharge repetitive deficits, declining
to make necessary long-term adjustments in union contracts, filching from so
called lock-boxes to maintain irreducible and increasing spending limits, relying
upon what Sharyl Attkisson has called “transactional journalism” to maintain a
political status quo,
banking functions to prop-up failing companies or to give a market edge
major home-grown companies that are looking with longing at the exit
heavily regulating all enterprises but state government, fooling most of
people most of the time – probably is not in the campaign cards. It is
nearly impossible to sugar-coat the state’s depressing realities:
Connecticut has yet
to recover from a protracted national recession that began in December
ended in June 2009; a number of major businesses native to Connecticut
either left the state or merged with out-of-state companies, sometimes a
prelude to painful leave-takings; and progressive incumbent politicians –
Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen –
The alternative default plan is to drape Trump, regarded as
a political albatross by progressive Democrats, around the necks of Connecticut
Republican politicians and hope that voters will not, as is generally supposed,
vote their own interests.
This plan may self-destruct for several reasons. Trump is a
national, not a state figure, whose indirect effect on Connecticut has not been
nearly as disastrous as the policies of unrepentant progressives such as
Malloy, who has firmly established a government of, by and for state employee
unions. Important job increases in Connecticut can be attributed to Trump’s increased
military expenditures – his is not a budget constructed by a “lead from behind”
commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed services -- and Trump’s successful tax reform efforts may increase both profits AND TAXES reliably paid by
redundantly wealthy millionaires huddled together in Fairfield County’s
so-called “Gold Coast” who cough-up every year more than their fair share of
Malloy has yet to devise a plan to prevent such valuable tax
resources from leeching into near-by states. Perhaps an anti-migration wall
might be constructed to hem in Fairfield hedge-funders and Connecticut’s highly
offensive conspicuous consumption millionaires. Poaching Connecticut
millionaires became a successful enterprise only after the state had leveled
its tax playing field by instituting an income tax, for which we must thank
former Governor Lowell Weicker and the late Lieutenant Governor Eunice Groark,
who cast a deciding vote in favor of the tax.
National Democrats are now crowing that gas tax increases
will eat-up any benefits accrued by Trump’s tax reforms. They may have a point,
though they fail to note that gas prices decreased largely owing to a change in
oil recovery, fracking being the culprit. The average regular gas price in South Carolina presently
is $2.605; in Connecticut the price is $3.124, much higher because nutmeggers
pay a double tax collected both at the delivery port and at the pump.
Author Don Pesci
To read the rest of Don's commentary, visit his web site.