In our time and place, nothing lends more authority to a field than calling it a science. Polling has particularly benefited from the rigor implied by its association with the true science of statistics, and its jargon of sample sizes, margins of error and the like. But faulty data defies the most stringent analysis, and that fact has undermined opinion surveys.
It was in an essay on the proper response to epidemics that Hippocrates famously wrote, ‘First, do no harm.’ Those words are as important for politicians as they are for physicians, and most important when stakes are the highest. I implore the General Assembly, when it returns, to confine itself to the considerable work at hand, and leave all non-essential proposals to another session.
The founders of our nation not only perceived the challenges to good government in their own day but anticipated the problems most likely to arise. Their division of government power into three carefully delineated branches created a powerful check on despotism, but –despite the brilliance of their effort– the balance between the branches was never perfect, and the imbalance has worsened with time.
Bait-and-switch is bad enough, but in the case of truck-only tolling, Gov. Ned Lamont isn’t even pretending: he’s telling us right out that he plans to make the switch. Shame on us if we fall for this scam.
The budget document now headed to the governor’s desk involves much more than the dollars and cents of state spending. For some years now, both the budget and the bills implementing it contain sections that dictate policy, not expenditures. It’s a dangerous practice, which effectively forces legislators to approve proposals that wouldn’t pass on their own merits, often without a public hearing or proper scrutiny.
Two hours before dawn on August 22, 1991, a tie vote in the state Senate was broken by Lowell Weicker’s lieutenant governor, whose action guaranteed that a state income tax would be imposed on the people of Connecticut. The spending spree enabled by that infamous vote was the chief cause of our subsequent economic decline. Since the tax took effect, we rank dead last in economic growth among the 50 states. It matters who breaks ties in the Connecticut Senate.
It seems that Sen. Len Fasano and his Republican caucus prevented the Capitol Region Development Authority from pulling a fast one last month. Word surfaced on Tuesday the 22nd that the CRDA planned to initiate action at its meeting later that week to seize by eminent domain the section of the XL Center owned by Northland Investment Corp. A letter from Fasano and other Senate Republicans led the CRDA to remove the proposal from its agenda.
I used to be known for fighting Lowell Weicker’s state income tax, that grand error that set us on our road to economic ruin. The sight of the crowd at the Axe the Tax rally —65,000 citizens standing up for common sense– was the defining vision of my political life. Powerfully as the people responded, we lost that battle. I believed then as I do now, that taxes must not be raised, for government has grown far too large, expensive, and intrusive. Throughout my time in the Senate I have opposed taxes absolutely, yet it’s not for that I am best known.
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.
Most of us understood all along that a state which cannot meet its obligations ought not to borrow hundreds of millions more to renovate a failed and decrepit downtown arena. Unfortunately, a few of the folks who still don’t get it are on the state Bond Commission, and (at the governor’s behest) will vote today to borrow another $40 million to begin the XL face-lift.