Gov. Malloy & Connecticut Democrats Are Economic Terrorists

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 11 – 18 edition of the Hartford News.

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“Even as some of Connecticut’s residents head to warmer climates and more favorable tax structures, the number of millionaires in the state grows. Just three years ago, in 2013, the number of millionaires in Connecticut topped 100,000 for the first time. In 2015, it exceeded 101,000. That compares with just over 84,000 in 2006. Millionaires made up 6.2 percent of state residents that year, compared with 7.3 percent in 2015, based on data from Phoenix Marketing International.” source: May 2016 CT by the Numbers
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Reign of Terror
“While states are generally bound by law to balance their budget, the economic impact of spending cuts is more damaging to near-term state economic growth than are tax increases, and spending cuts are far more damaging than progressive tax increases (tax hikes on high-income households or corporations).” ~ Economic Policy Institute
Neoliberalism and poverty are economic terrorism. Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport annually have poverty rates that rank among the highest in the nation. The neoliberal fiscal policies of Gov. Dan Malloy and the Connecticut Democrats are aimed at eliminating state government’s role in providing human services, through privatization. This is the ultimate goal. The state budget deficit is a manufactured crisis, to provide a pretext for cutting funding for services.
Malloy is trying to close Blue Hills Substance Abuse Services in Hartford, as opioid overdose deaths in the city spiral: 43 in 2016, an increase from 37 the year before. More people attempt to access Blue Hills than any other city or town in the state. Former Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services commissioner Thomas Kirk told the Courant that for addicts in Hartford, who need services that are in close proximity, Malloy’s plan to move Blue Hills beds to Middletown is the equivalent of moving them to Minnesota.
The Fox 61 The Real Story program last Sunday featured hypocrisy on parade. Nancy Wyman’s criticism of the TrumpCare bill is the height of hypocrisy. Wyman pointed to provisions in the bill that provide the rich with tax cuts. Malloy’s budget bill includes a reduction of the estate and gift tax. Malloy refuses to reform Connecticut’s regressive tax structure, where the working class and the poor pay more in taxes than the rich. CT companies stash $40 billion in offshore accounts. The state loses $7 billion in revenue yearly, due to corporate tax breaks and other business tax exemptions.
Wyman said the TrumpCare bill includes “cutbacks to the average individual, and the low wager.” Malloy’s budget slashes human services funding, including closing Blue Hills. Malloy’s proposal also reduces the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor, and seeks wage and benefits concessions from state employees. The Republicans are just as bad. Co-host Jenn Bernstein asked possible GOP gubernatorial candidate Peter Lumaj about state employee contracts being subject to a vote by legislators. How about enhanced oversight of business tax incentives, which Comptroller Kevin Lembo has pushed for through legislation? Lumaj touted the standard Republican tax cut plan. As for this strategy, see Kansas.

Malloy is preparing to lay off 4200 state employees, if they don’t agree to concessions for the third time since 2009 (I’m a state worker). The public sector is the largest employer of Black people, and women. Malloy’s attack on the public sector will only worsen the racial wage / wealth gap. Blacks earn 60 cents for every dollar whites make, and possess 12 cents of net wealth for every dollar whites have.

If you’re a state employee who voted for  Malloy and the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly, you voted for layoffs. State employee unions give rubber stamp endorsements to the Democrats, with no demands. Ralph Nader talked about the need for unionized workers to develop “political self-respect”, and stop voting for neoliberal Democrats. That’s real talk. In 2018 we must break with the unions and identify candidates who truly support labor. Voting for neoliberal Democrats or Republicans is madness.

It doesn’t take a great leap of logic to see that the state budget deficit is a manufactured crisis; neoliberalism is based on privtization and profit.
Malloy and the Democrats couldn’t justify closing Blue Hills, cutting DMHAS funding 10% across the board, demanding concessions from public sector workers for the third time in eight years and threatening 4200 layoffs, if there was a budget surplus. It’s in neoliberals’ interests for the state budget to remain in the red. Their objective is to roll back decades of wage and benefits gains by unionized workers, while moving human services to the private sector. Go back and read Malloy’s 2017 State of the State address, where he bragged about reducing the number of state employees by 5,000 since 2008, while protecting 8,000 private sector jobs at Sikorsky Aircraft. Again, the public sector is the largest employer of Blacks and women. Malloy also compared himself to neoliberal icon Ronald Reagan.
There is no way state employee unions can look at their members with a straight face, and tell them to vote for neoliberal Democrats in 2018. They will, though. The public sector will soon be extinct, if we continue to vote for the Democrats who are cutting our wages / benefits, and laying us off. Rep. Josh Elliott is the ONLY Democrat who has spoken out in support of state employees. Urban legislators in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport are supporting the assault on the public sector and their districts. Remember that. Malloy and his fellow neoliberal Democrats serve the rich and corporations; these are their real constituents. While the working class are soaked with taxes and the poor are deprived of jobs and resources, the rich pay the least taxes and corporations receive welfare.  We need a grassroots political revolution to end the bipartisan attack on Black and Brown communities. The Democrats and Republicans are in full agreement on screwing urban neighborhoods. The resulting poverty and lack of economic opportunity fuels the gun violence that plagues Hartford, and other cities. It’s up to Black, Latinx people and oppressed people of all colors to push back against these destructive politics. Stop this terrorism!
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