For practical and political purposes, progressivism may be defined as the manic urge to extend a dubious doctrine too far. A friend tells me that if the progressive Democrat Party in Connecticut were a restaurant, all the meat served would be sizzlingly overdone -- burnt to a crisp in fact, because whatever progressives do, they invariably overdo.
Take voting for example. Democrats want prison inmates to vote in elections. It’s a fetal idea that progressive Democrats in Connecticut hope will emerge as a squalling infant, plump and healthy.
Progressive Democrats also want everyone to vote in elections. To this end, some eager progressive over-doers propose to punish people with fines who do not vote. These fines will be imposed on top of President “Lunchpail Joe” Biden’s inflation tax.
Now it happens there are not a few people in Connecticut who do not wish to vote. Some of them suppose, not without reason, that in a one-party state such as Connecticut, voting itself is a mind-numbing redundancy.
Registered Democrats in the state outnumber registered Republican by a two to one margin. There are slightly more unaffiliateds in Connecticut than Democrats. These numbers – given the state’s steady bad political habits – virtually assure Democrat political hegemony for the next, just to pick a number, half century, at which point Connecticut will become the Venezuela of North America, once a pearl, now a lump of shifting socialist sand.
What really is the point in voting? Voting has not lifted the urban poor out of poverty in the last half century, very likely because whatever you finance, you will get more of. Democrats who have ruled the roost in Connecticut cities for the last half century have been financing – see Chris Powell about this – failing public schools, fatherless households, cultural alienation, and mayhem in the streets.
In the minds of some people, a vote not to vote is a form of social protest. Socialist Latin American countries have settled the problem of political ennui by fining and sometimes imprisoning political laggards who do not vote for the socialist caudillo of the year.
Dominant progressives in Connecticut now wish to wield this socialist, South American Big Stick.
But an unforeseen problem is leering at them just around the corner.
Let us suppose progressive Democrats successfully extend the voting franchise to Connecticut’s politically oppressed prisoners and, if the voting majority is agreeable, also to citizens of Honduras, Venezuela and Nicaragua now residing among us illegally, owing to a porous southern border, largely the result of Democrat indifference.
And let us suppose these same progressive Democrats in Connecticut’s General Assembly are successful is punishing with fines those who do not vote in elections.
What punishment shall be imposed on the first Connecticut prisoner who declines to vote in a municipal, state or federal election?
A fine, say our enlightened progressives, in the grip of their usual over-doing-it psychosis.
No kidding? You propose to impose a fine on long-suffering prisoners who have no independent assets? Why, sir, even the insufficient salaries given to them come out of the hides of citizens struggling to pay their bills with inflated funny money.
Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
In the meantime, progressive bigwigs in the State General Assembly – Speaker of the House Matt Ritter and President Pro Tem of the Senate Martin Looney -- are plotting to undo Lamont’s so called tax cuts. Associate editor at Hearst Connecticut Media Group Dan Haar reports that the two progressive legislative gatekeepers, “want tax cuts and major new spending programs to sunset after a few years, for consistency in budgeting.”
That didn’t take long.
The older expensive spending increases – not to mention Connecticut’s “fixed cost” spending -- one may be certain, will never be sunsetted, and new businesses lured to the state by Lamont’s promise of so called tax cuts may want to wait a bit before moving to Connecticut, where the sky is the limit on taxes and permanent tax cuts are but a consummation devoutly to be wished. The ghostly voice of President Ronald Reagan is no doubt pounding in their ears: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” And, Reagan might have added, nothing is so temporary as a permanent tax cut, especially in progressive Connecticut.
Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.