Every society has a Ruling Class. In the United States, it is the super wealthy and those with Ivy League educations – especially those with degrees from Harvard or Yale. The leaders of our bureaucracies, major newspapers, opinion journals, think tanks, courts, corporations, universities, media conglomerates and political class come from one of these two groups – or ambitious individuals who have ingratiated themselves with these groups. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as long as our Ruling Class was competent.
As the legislative session came to a close on May 9, the General Assembly passed several bills to safeguard the health and safety of women in Connecticut and combat the gender wage gap. But lawmakers fell short on critical opportunities to advance women’s economic security.
As we head toward primary season in the attorney general race in both parties, candidates are saying they’ll use the office to fight – or support – Donald Trump. One Democrat says he would be “first in line” to challenge the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act” if it passes Congress. Another promises to sue payday lenders under Dodd-Frank if Trump fails to act. Meanwhile, in the Republican primary, one candidate says the race is “critical to #MAGA,” tagging the President’s Twitter account. But setting Trump aside for a moment, there are many roles of an attorney general that are not so sexy and not clear cut.
Liberals are not in the habit of expressing gratitude for the five conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, especially since one of them, Justice Neil Gorsuch, presides where some liberals believe President Obama’s nominee should rightly be. But liberals should be grateful, at least this week, in the wake of a ruling that struck down a federal anti-gambling law because the decision strengthens blue-state resistance to President Donald Trump. Moreover, it might deepen appreciation for something liberals historically dislike: federalism and the doctrine of state’s rights.
“Still revolutionary?” Hardly! Connecticut isn’t the least bit revolutionary. But it could be if we stopped preventing good people with good ideas from running for office by making it impossible for them to support their families. There are many different things that we could be doing, but none of it will get done because our legislature is too insulated. There are no new ideas because there are no new people. Why? State legislators in Connecticut only earn $28,000 per year. In one of the most expensive places to live in this country our legislators earn the equivalent of around $13.50 an hour, and that’s only if you pretend they only work 40 hour work weeks.
Gov. Dannel Malloy is leaving office as our state’s most unpopular governor in decades having secured Connecticut’s reputation as the most mismanaged state in the nation. For a well regarded mayor and former public prosecutor from our only prosperous city, it is a surprising outcome. What are the lessons here?
A major reason for Connecticut’s political dysfunction is that it remains a convention state. In most states, prospective candidates are only required to gather a reasonable number of signatures to have their name placed on the ballot. Not in Connecticut.
“If” the Connecticut press corps exercises its First Amendment responsibilities, then an independent ticket can win Connecticut’s gubernatorial election. If an independent candidate were to win a statewide election it could be a bellwether for our nation and mark the moment in time when the dominant two-party system in America began crashing down. Will the people – tear down this wall?
What should be done about the increased intolerance of differing points of view at residential and community colleges within the Connecticut State university system? There should be the free exchange of ideas at a public university. If private universities wish to depart from free intellectual inquiry and recede into enforced intellectual conformity, that may be their right, so long as civil rights such as due process are respected and no Connecticut state dollars are involved.
Connecticut has many assets that can help us grow our economy, create jobs, and address our serious fiscal challenges. But one significant competitive hurdle that must be overcome is our distinction as the most costly energy state in the country. New England has long been at an economic disadvantage for energy costs, largely due to the distance from where traditional energy fuels were harvested and processed. This meant we paid the costs associated with constructing and maintaining several thousands of miles of pipeline infrastructure and other costs associated with transporting fuels to our region.
With the political conventions to select gubernatorial candidates for the November elections coming up in the next few weeks, I would like to offer some observations. Regardless of party, these apply to all candidates. First, we as the general public know the lobbyists and legislators under the gold dome are more interested in their personal benefit and aggrandizement than in improving the lives of 3.5 million Connecticut residents. If they were interested in us, they would have a 401(k) pension instead of the current defined benefit pension, with mileage and years of service included. Most of the news is inside baseball antics that do not change the price of rice (taxes or services either).
In your May 5 article Connecticut commits to national popular vote for president, you write that the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact “essentially is a constitutional workaround, a way to undo a 200-year-old element of the Constitution without amending it.” It’s disappointing to see the CT Mirror repeat this canard that was used by state legislators opposed to electing the president the way they are elected: where every vote cast matters and the candidate who receives the most votes wins. The NPV Compact is not a “workaround” that undoes the Electoral College.