Malloy + Bronin = Neoliberalism

This column appears in the March 24 – 31 edition of the Hartford News…

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First and third Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays the following Wednesday, same time. Next show: March 29. Co-host: Mary Sanders. Guests: Dan Durso, a retired Teamster now volunteering as the Outreach Coordinator with the grassroots Bernie Sanders Connecticut Team, will talk about the “Fairness for the 99%” March and Rally Monday, April 4 at the State Capitol in Hartford. Lisa Ganser of Poor Magazine will join us to discuss the deaths of Indigenous, Black, disabled and poor people in police custody. Montano Northwind will talk about his brother, Jacksun Keewatinawin, being killed by Seattle police Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color.

Meagan Hockaday Act

Meagan Hockaday was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in front of her children on March 28, 2015. Garcia has not been charged. The Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act will include enhanced criminal penalties for excessive use of force by the police against mentally ill people and individuals in crisis, in addition to whenever children are present. Our legislation will implement a new international approach to policing, based on a successful model in the United Kingdom and Canada that emphasizes de-escalation and treatment. Public Health Committee co-chair Rep. Matt Ritter is collaborating with us on this bill. Stay tuned for updates and action alerts. Meagan Matters! The official bill has been drafted: you can view it here. Contact lawmakers and tell them to support our legislation.

Check out CP’s 2016 legislative package at our No Sellout blog.

Policy Watch: Attack on the Working Class and the Poor in Connecticut

When Luke Bronin, former legal counsel for Gov. Dan Malloy, was elected Mayor of Hartford in November, I said in this space that Malloy now had a satellite office at City Hall. The budget plans of Malloy and Bronin are proof. Both consist of Wall Street supported neoliberal attacks on the state’s most vulnerable residents and public sector employees (I’m a state worker), in the form of human services cuts, layoffs and attempts to roll back wages and benefits. State employees have agreed to concessions twice since 2009. Bronin is pursuing legislation that would enable him to cut city workers’ pensions. Here’s the definition of neoliberalism, courtesy of

The main points of neoliberalism include:

1.THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.

2.CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.

3.DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.

4.PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.

5.ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy”.

Sound familiar? Malloy is lying to your face at his town hall propaganda events when he asks you if you want to pay higher taxes, in order to balance the state budget. Malloy knows damn well that there are many other ways he can balance the budget without cutting human services. However these options (taxing the rich, closing corporate tax loopholes) go against his neoliberal agenda, which he frames as the “new economic reality”. Neoliberalism brought lead poisoned water to Flint, Michigan, the result of a cost-cutting move by emergency manager Darnell Earley. In Detroit, there were water shut-offs for poor residents who couldn’t pay their bills, and an attack on city employees’ wages and pensions. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder used the economic woes in Flint and Detroit, both predominantly Black cities like Hartford, as an excuse to bring in unelected emergency managers. Democracy was suspended in both cities. There has been talk of a state takeover in Hartford.

Black Agenda Report commentator Glen Ford reported in 2014 on Detroit emergency manager Kevin Orr using extortion tactics to get city employees to accept a 4.5 percent cut in their small pensions. “Earlier this year, as part of the Shock and Awe of state-imposed bankruptcy, Orr threatened to cut pensions by 26 percent, in defiance of Michigan state constitutional protections. He was backed by federal bankruptcy court judge Steven Rhodes, who has brushed aside every objection from lesser, non-corporate beings. Rather than risk the loss of one-quarter of an already meager $20,000 a year pension, 73 percent of retirees and workers accepted the lesser cut, plus an end to cost-of-living increases.”

Flint activist Claire McClinton talked to Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman about the city’s water crisis. “There is a coordinated, aggressive effort to privatize our water system. And this is how we came to this poisoned water catastrophe. We don’t have just a water problem. We’ve got a democracy problem. We’ve got a dictatorship problem. We’ve got a problem of being stripped of our democracy as we’ve known it over the years.”

Connecticut Voices for Children recently put out a budget plan that would obliterate the $220 million budget deficit. You can read their archive of budget proposals here.

March 2016

Revenue Options are Crucial to Maintaining Public Investments that Promote Prosperity

Derek Thomas, M.P.A.

In confronting the financial crisis looming over state budget decisions, the common-sense choice for Connecticut should be a balanced approach that includes revenue, rather than a cuts-only approach that threatens an already fragile economic recovery.

Alternatives available to lawmakers include:
• Collect a Larger Share of Taxes Due on Internet Sales: Implementing a version of Colorado’s reporting law would chip away at the estimated $65 to $70 million lost annually in uncollected sales taxes on Internet sales
• Increase Rates on Capital Gains or Personal Income: An increase in the tax on personal income and capital gains – 84 percent of which would fall on the top 1 percent of taxpayers – would result in an estimated $283.1 million in new state revenue
• Institute a Low-Wage Workers Fee: According to the state OFA, last year’s proposal to recoup state costs attributable to low-wage employers was estimated to generate $305 million in revenue in the coming fiscal year
• Create a Soda Tax: According to the OFA, an increase of one cent on each fluid ounce of soda would raise more than $85 million in the coming fiscal year
• Apply the Sales Tax to Digital Downloads: Applying the sales tax to digital downloads would have generated $7 million to $11 million in revenue in 2011
• Close the Expedia Loophole: The existence of the Expedia loophole is estimated to have resulted in a loss of $3 million to $4 million in 2010

Malloy goes into these town halls counting on you not knowing this information. Call Malloy on his neoliberal bs. Demand that he implement the CT Voices for Children recommendations. Their policy plan, combined with concepts such as a publicly owned bank, would generate revenue that could be used for municipal aid, eliminating Bronin’s excuse for his neoliberal attack on city employees. Remember that most of the money Bronin raised for his election campaign came from DONORS OUTSIDE OF HARTFORD. Now that Bronin occupies the Mayor’s Office, those donors will be looking for a return on their investment. We need an egalitarian state budget that will benefit the working class, the poor, and other vulnerable populations.

The announcement below is from the Hartford Rising website. Come and make your voice heard.

“Fairness for the 99%” March and Rally

Monday, April 4 at 5 PM – 6:30 PM

Join Unity, Equality and Democracy Connecticut and Hartford Rising! as we hold politicians accountable for fighting for all of us. The coalition will issue report cards based on how legislators have voted and then march to the State Capitol Building to directly hold our lawmakers accountable.

The event will take place on Monday, April 4th from 5:00 to 6:30 PM starting at the Emanuel Lutheran Church on Capitol Avenue in Hartford.

On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, civil rights, community, and labor organizations came together to fight for Democracy, Unity, and Equality, and a new coalition was born. The groups agreed to continue Dr. King’s fight to end racial and economic inequality.

Let’s stand up for the public servants who stand up for us. And let’s hold accountable those who stand against us. It’s our state government. Let’s make sure it’s on our side!

5:00 PM Emanuel Lutheran Church, 311 Capitol Ave, Hartford 6:00 PM – State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave, Hartford

Find tickets at

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives and So-Metro Radio the first and third Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns ( Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

David Samuels


Community Party



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