Taxes and budgets reflect our moral priorities of shared resources. We have reached the point in Connecticut where political immorality and corruption have become outright willful stupidity.
In our culture, many believe that “morality” and “character” mean adhering to “principles” of achieving external outcomes of wealth, status, power of privileged entitlement entrenched in free-market capitalism: Do whatever you want to make and keep whatever you can. This “character” and “morality” are relative, based in belief systems.
True morality and character are human values that are exemplified in all aspects of life: Inner qualities that include empathy, compassion, ethics, integrity, and honesty in service to justice, equality, equity, dignity, and well-being for all.
The loss of our individual and national morality began with Reaganomics and has been reinforced by politicians from both parties ever since. Trickle-down ideology and agenda extracts money from the economy to clench wealth and power, privilege and entitlement for a few. Its “benefits” for society have been fabricated and repeated so often that many believe it is beneficial, even with the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. It’s a lie. The ultimate danger of our post-fact, post-truth world is that eventually we develop the desire to be lied to. Adhering to lies is willful stupidity.
Here are a few examples:
The $150 million tax increase on working and middle class people takes this amount directly out of the economy (business revenues). For the working class, it is money that would otherwise go towards food, shelter, fuel, utilities, etc. so impacts basic survival and will likely result in more people needing public assistance. It will disproportionately impact women and minorities. For the middle class, it is money that allows for discretionary spending, so impacts appliance and auto purchases, hospitality and tourism, etc. Undermining the dignity and well-being of people deemed “undeserving” or “unworthy” is immoral. Meanwhile, for some corporations and wealthy, $150 million is a rounding error in their assets and won’t even be missed.
Elimination of publicly funded elections will result in institutionalizing corruption. It essentially says that our politicians want the same personally lucrative set-up as Washington, D.C. and to be able to bias policy even more in favor of business and the wealthy. Corporate extortion (e.g., Dominion) has already become an acceptable business strategy to ensure profitability that is supported by politicians.
At a time when 47 percent of jobs are going to be eliminated by technology over the next 20 years, cutting the education budget means that our youth will be unqualified for those that remain. It also means that Connecticut will be less attractive for employers that need a well-educated workforce. Note: GE and Aetna left the state for ready access to strong talent pools and to be around educational hubs and centers of innovation.
It makes no difference if the budget is “balanced.” If it is destructive to people’s well-being, it is inhuman. Government as an extension and agent of business profitability and wealth accumulation is without personal and societal conscience.
Our economy is coming undone because our focus is on external outcomes for what “seems to work” to achieve results, but in reality is damaging because we have committed to and enact a culture where only money and consumption matters, not morality and human values. What’s on the inside shows up on the outside: Our economy has no solid footing and foundation that benefits everyone. We are delusional if we believe otherwise.
We support and applaud the defense industry and new jobs at Pratt & Whitney and Electric Boat when what they do is furnish death and destruction.
We support and applaud the Financial Services/Insurance Industries when what they do is amplify and accelerate wealth extraction for the elite.
We support and applaud the hospitality/tourism/entertainment/gaming industries when what they provide are minimum wage jobs for those employed and keep the rest of us entertained and continuously numbed and distracted to escape from what we have created.
What is evident is that our politicians and the rest of us simply don’t care about leading or governance that benefits ALL with harm to none. History consistently shows that focus on maximizing profits and wealth accumulation is a moral failure and collapse in values that results in societal, economic and political collapse: Think 1929 and 2008.
Perhaps the complaints about jobs and taxes are real but misunderstood. Perhaps people leave Connecticut because they are tired of preferential treatment of and benefits for business and the wealthy at our expense.
There is no common ground for compromise with immorality, corruption or stupidity. These pathologies use peer-group punishment to enforce norms that are harmful to individuals, families and communities. This is the nail in the coffin of Connecticut’s leadership.
Leadership requires truth, transparency and self-respect of moral courage. Leaders focus on social, economic, political, environmental justice so that ALL of us thrive, not on following, repeating and compounding the failed ideology of neoconservative/neoliberal Reaganomics.
Leadership by its very nature is nonpartisan. It enacts the inherent truth of unity based in our human morality.
I am 63 years old and have lived in Connecticut for my entire life. It no longer feels like home and a place that I want to live.
Lucira Nebelung is the founder of Leading As Love in Niantic.