I have been an “unaffiliated” voter from the day I registered and I have for the most part voted that way, preferring to take the measure of each individual candidate rather than voting for any particular party. However, the consequences of this coming election cycle compel me to view things differently.
I think that nearly two decades of a single party controlling our legislature have done enormous damage to our state’s economic vitality with no end in sight. We seem to be perpetually on the list of lasts; the third highest taxed state in the nation, the worst state to retire in, swapping places with Illinois as the state with the most poorly maintained infrastructure and most recently the state with the most underfunded public pension and medical liabilities.
Only 22.8 percent of our total liability of $99,299,024,840 (yes, that’s in the billions folks) is fully funded. We’ve even been rated by Conde Nast as having two of the ten most unfriendly cities in the country (New Haven and Hartford).
We’re driving out businesses large (GE) and small (The Borgeson Company). Worse yet, both talent and personal wealth are pouring across our borders for greener pastures, nearly 16,000 families last year alone.
The rumor at the Legislative Office Building is that the difference in the average annual income between the folks leaving and the folks moving into our state is around $64,000. Do the math folks. That totals over one billion dollars, and the Malloy administration can’t figure out why it keeps coming up short on its revenue projections.
One would think that faced with what can only be described as an avalanche of bad reviews, the folks that craft our legislation would pause and consider whether they should be pursuing different courses of action. But no, says Professor Jonathan Haidt, that’s not likely to happen.
In his book “The Righteous Mind” the professor offers numerous clinical studies to support his theory that social and political morays are established very early in life and create an emotional filter through which all outside influences pass before they are considered by the logical side of the mind. Consequently, experiences that one would think would normally drive an individual to question his or her position, after passing through that filter, only serve to strengthen those core beliefs.
A couple of weeks ago, the Democratic legislative leaders opined that people who were legitimately criticizing their policies were, “Rooting for Connecticut’s failure,” and I witnessed Professor Haidt’s theory being validated in a single sentence. So if you accept the good Professor’s theory as valid, then you must come to the conclusion that despite some recent rhetoric to the contrary, given the slightest opportunity those legislators will revert back to their core beliefs and enact more of the same damaging legislation that has brought us to a financial precipice.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “Let’s kill all the lawyers, except mine. He (or she) is a good egg.” The same holds true for our politicians. They’re all friendly, waving from a parade route, glad handing you at a social, and I’m sure most if not all are well intended. However, if the same individual who is kissing your baby is traveling to Hartford and voting for legislation that is most certainly strangling that baby’s economic future, then we simply can’t afford to allow that individual to occupy a position of influence.
I hope that you will take these thoughts into consideration when you vote on Tuesday.
Kevin Maloney lives in West Suffield.