If there’s a quote I’m tired of hearing, it’s the one groundlessly attributed to Einstein, which defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.
Of course there’s a reason the saying is so common, at least in Connecticut: a lot of crazy repetition goes on at our state capitol.
Take the fiscal policy of the Democratic party since they’ve had total control of state government. Within a month of his inauguration in 2011, Gov. Dannel Malloy called for the largest tax increase in our history, to close a multi-billion dollar deficit. His legislative minions delivered the hike, along with the spending increase the governor also requested.
Four years later, faced with a comparable deficit, Malloy applied the same prescription: another multi-billion dollar tax increase and more state spending, again imposed solely with Democratic legislative votes.
When 2017 brought yet another deficit, the General Assembly delivered yet another tax increase, which Malloy again signed into law.
Now our current year’s budget is $260 million in the red, and the shortfall in the next biennium promises to be the largest yet: over $4 billion. Our state’s economy is collapsing before our eyes—and what does Malloy propose? More of the same: increases in the gas tax, the cigarette tax, the hotel tax, and the real estate conveyance tax; new tariffs on tires and non-prescription drugs; reinstitution of taxes on Social Security and pension income; and elimination of property tax and business tax deductions.
On top of all those taxes, the big spenders also clamor for the installation of tolls, which will pick our pocket automatically, every few miles on every limited-access roadway in the state. If they get their way, residents can expect to pay 20 cents or even more for every mile they drive on Connecticut highways.
If that’s insanity, it’s not confined to Malloy. The left wing of his party demands ever higher taxes on top earners, blind to the exodus of wealth the tax hikes have caused. Yet the numbers are undeniable: our most prosperous residents are moving away, and taking billions of dollars of income out of Connecticut.
It’s not just the wealthy who depart: our most promising youth are leaving the state, our most innovative entrepreneurs, our most iconic businesses — our parents and grandparents, neighbors and friends, children and families. It stands to reason that people leave when public policy gives them cause. Why can’t liberals see the damage done by their tax increases?
Doctors for centuries bled their patients as a form of treatment. Of course it didn’t work, but what doctor committed to the practice could acknowledge the harm he had caused? Likewise, the politicians who bleed us through taxation are blind to the injury they inflict on our economy. They respond to our decline by bleeding us more, even as the pulse of industry fades away in our state.
Because Malloy actually steers the ship, he can see the disaster his political course has caused, even if he can’t accept responsibility and change direction. That cognitive dissonance takes its toll on the governor. Even for a self-described porcupine, his recent prickliness with the press is remarkable.
When asked last month by a veteran capitol reporter if, after seven years as governor, he had any responsibility for the state of the state, Malloy simply couldn’t engage with the question.
“You’re wrong,” he barked. Wrong about what the governor didn’t say — about a journalist having the right to question him, I suppose. Recent press conferences have been so contentious that WPLR morning radio hosts Chaz and A.J. make an analysis of the governor’s responses a regular and entertaining part of their show.
Dan Malloy and the committed liberals who run his party simply cannot change their minds. It’s not our job to determine their sanity, but we must ask ourselves if we believe in their policies. Our state’s history over the last 25 years demonstrates that citizens who elect Democrats can count on more spending, higher taxes, and further economic decline. Expecting any other result is just a little crazy.
State Sen. Joe Markley, a Republican, represents Southington.