Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Is A Republic?

In the wake of a downgrade by Moody’s, Governor Dannel Malloy has deployed his recision authority to trim Connecticut’s budget.

A few points ought to be made. These are recisions made by the governor unilaterally, which means that legislators who will be running for office soon will not be leaving any unsightly fingerprints on what may be temporary budget cuts.

Temporary cuts – the funding can be restored any time – cannot solve permanent problems.

The monies Governor Dannel Malloy will be wringing out of the Department of Children and Families, $28.4 million, and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction services, $14.5 million, are either necessary or unnecessary funds used to provide services for abused children and people afflicted with mental disorders. If the funds are unnecessary, the cuts should be made permanently by a legislature constitutionally charged with the authority to approve budgets. If the funds are necessary, they should be restored to the agencies. It would be much less painful for people afflicted in Connecticut by abuse or mental disorders if the governor and the legislature were to reduce the salaries and benefits of state union workers or raise the retirement age of such workers. But of course in that case both the governor and the Democratic dominated legislature would receive vocal and political opposition from organized unions. The victim of domestic abuse and the mentally ill, fortunately for both the governor and the legislature, are neither organized nor unionized.

Budgets are all about making proper choices. Legislators up for re-election, one must suppose, must be delighted that such choices will not mar their chance at regaining office. Nor is this the first time the legislature has abdicated its constitutional responsibilities. In Connecticut, the legislature simply took a hike when the governor was negotiating with unions for putative givebacks; the legislature pre-approved the budget before the negotiations were complete and by default invested Mr. Malloy what amounted to plenipotentiary power to shape the budget. Yesterday was the anniversary of the 1,000th day the United States has been without a budget.

This is a hell of a way to run a Republic.

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