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Posts published in “Connecticut Newspapers”

Connecticut’s Jobs Crisis

Connecticut is in a full-blown jobs crisis.

The state workforce has shrunk by about 160,000, or 8.2%, from its pre-pandemic level of 1.93 million in February 2020, the worst decline in the nation. Only three other states have experienced drops of more than 5%.

Of Connecticut’s remaining workforce, about 140,000, or 7.9%, are unemployed - the highest unemployment rate of the 50 states.

Combined, 300,000 people, or 15.5% of the pre-pandemic workforce, have dropped out or are currently unemployed. The next worst level is 10.9% in Hawaii.

Being last is something that Connecticut is accustomed to, but to trail 49th place by such a huge margin is alarming.

Yet, the Democrats who control the state seem clueless. Governor Lamont was mum about last week’s report of just 3,500 jobs gained in June. The gains occurred entirely in the public sector. Private sector jobs declined.

The state’s Congressional delegation is oblivious as well. Congressman Jim Himes (D, 4th District) sent an email to constituents last week trumpeting that “the strong June [national] jobs report surpassed expectations by adding 850,000 new jobs.” He included graphs of the national trends. He made no mention -- and, likely, had no knowledge -- of the dismal conditions in Connecticut.

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Progressive Dogma Collides with Reality

Evidence is emerging that should begin to resolve national controversy on two critical issues, policing and jobs.

Eric Adams’ victory in the Democrat primary in the New York City mayoral race reveals that people of color do not want to “defund the police” as progressives demand.. According to an article in The New York Times, Adams “rejected calls to defund the Police Department and pledged to expand its reach in the city.” “Black and brown voters flocked to his candidacy…”

On the economic front, last week brought welcome news of a big jump in national employment in June (next week, we’ll find out whether Connecticut participated). Yet a new study showed that the central feature of the first of President Biden's several multi-trillion-dollar programs is backfiring. The extension of the very generous supplemental $300 weekly unemployment insurance benefit to early September is hindering a jobs recovery.

According to The Wall Street Journal, twenty-two states have already stopped paying the supplement, and their unemployment rolls are dropping twice as fast as the rolls in the 24 states still planning to pay the supplement until its expiration in September. Four states are ending the benefit in July.

Surprise, real people – actual voters and potential workers - make decisions in their practical self-interest, not according to progressive dogma.

Blacks voting for Adams prefer more cops to keep the streets safe rather than more social workers to do more social work. The Times reported that Adams “focused much of his message on denouncing progressive slogans and policies that he said threatened the lives of ‘Black and brown babies’ and were being pushed by ‘a lot of young, white, affluent people.’”

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CRT Is Divisive and No Cure; Jobs Should Be Top Priority

Republican state legislatures are adopting resolutions banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools. The bans are a reaction to Democrats mandating CRT in public education and in other dimensions of public policy. Bans and mandates are two sides of the same coin.

CRT is a bad penny, first because any version of history and sociology so controversial should not be taught in elementary, middle and high school.

One of the leading proponents of CRT, Ibram X. Kendi says “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Is this what we want taught in public schools – that the sins and the oppression of ancestors determine the future of today’s schoolchildren, who are innocent in all respects?

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Connecticut Employment Has Plummeted. Can the State Recover?

The pandemic is largely over. Now, the challenge is to revive the economy.

In practical terms, that means transitioning from policies supporting people who are out of work to policies encouraging people to get back to work. There is a fierce national debate about how fast to transition. Connecticut is on the wrong side of the debate – and cannot afford to be.

The number of workers in the state’s workforce has plummeted during the pandemic by 188,000 since February 2020, according to federal statistics. This is a drastic 9.7 percent decline, by far the biggest drop in the nation.  Only three other states have had declines over 5 percent.

These are workers who are not looking for work or who have left the state.  

As drastic as it is, the workforce decline is not the entire story.

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Whereto Schooling Post-Pandemic?

A year ago when the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year was in doubt, I realized that I had to step into the breach. So did many parents.

I started my own version of homeschooling for my soon-to-be-kindergartner. It was nothing sophisticated; it took only about an hour in total, before and after my workday; but it worked.

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CT Progressives Shouldn’t Join Biden’s Tax & Spend Bandwagon

The Biden administration is on a massive spending spree. Connecticut progressives want to follow suit. Last week, Biden released a “trial balloon” proposing how to pay for his spree. Unsurprisingly, the idea is massive tax increases for corporations and upper income individuals, including a near doubling of the top capital gains tax rate from 23.8% to 43.8%.

Connecticut’s progressives have proposed more than a billion dollars of new spending, primarily on vague social justice goals, to be funded by new taxes imposed almost exclusively upon upper income taxpayers, including a capital gains tax surcharge. A new largely unaccountable off-budget vehicle is to carry out the new spending and collect the new taxes, and, thus, be exempt from budget restraints meant to prevent unaffordable spending.

The new federal taxes will render the new state taxes unnecessary and counterproductive -- unnecessary, because federal capital gains tax increases always result in huge one-time surges in federal revenue and in state revenue in any state which taxes capital gains, including as part of regular taxable income, as Connecticut does now.

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The Biggest Threat to the Climate: China

Upon his inauguration, President Biden issued a flurry of executive orders related to climate change, including one designating climate change a national security threat.

The primary security threat by this new climate-change name looks the same as the leading national security threat in traditional terms: China. The totalitarian Communist dictatorship is responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the European Commission's Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR).

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Readers Set the Record Straight

Joe Markley, Ed Dadakis and Dan Quigley have sent letters to the editor to set the record straight about state employee compensation in response to attacks by state employee union apologists upon columns on The Red Line. The Red Line is grateful to Messrs. Markley, Dadakis and Quigley for their defense of fact-based journalism.

Here are their letters:

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