Sunday, March 29, 2020

Coronavirus Thoughts Week 3

"We are fighting for survival" This is the statement I heard from an employee and a restaurant owner this past week.  Both restaurants are still open with limited hours and a minimal crew.  Some restaurants in Connecticut will never open again due to the governmental decree of two weeks ago closing them to the extent of only allowing take out and delivery service to stop the spread of Covid-19.  Many businesses besides restaurants have closed and or are on limited hours to stop the spread of Covid-19 with thousands of Connecticut workers having signed up for unemployment benefits due to these closures.  This is placing a massive economic strain on the limited amount of money in the state's poorly run Unemployment Compensation system.  Many small Connecticut businesses applied for the state's new no interest Recovery Bridge Loan Program.  More than 4000 applications flooded Connecticut's feeble Department of Economic and Community Development system thus they are now unable to accept more applications due to the overload.  Supposedly Round 2 of these loans should be coming at some point.  I will believe it when I see it. 
"We are fighting for survival" This statement echoes in my ears constantly. 
Fox News reported after $2 trillion dollar Coronavirus relief bill was passed that there was a great deal of special interest group/lobbyists "pork" (spending that is unnecessary and unrelated to the bill) spending that was found in it.  I have found it very difficult to actually view the bill and what it contains.  Our Congress obviously wishing to hide the bill from the public so there would be no Taxpayers questioning it and the "pork" in it.
Here is a brief summary of the "pork" in the bill.
$10,804,687,000 for international development.
The African Development Fund (ADF) $513,900,000, the African Development Bank (AfDB) $7,286,587,008, and the International Development Association (IDA)$3,004,200,000.
$350,000,000 for refugee resettlement.
$93,000,000 Congress ($25 million of which is for "salaries and expenses" unknown as to how it will be allocated).
$75,000,000 for PBS stations.
$75,000,000 for the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities.
$75,000,000 National Endowment for the Humanities.
$50,000,000 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
$25,000,000 for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
$7,500,000 for the Smithsonian Institution.
Why are we allowing this much non related Coronavirus spending to take place in this bill?  The bulk of these spending add-ons were made by Democrat Party members of the United States House and Senate led by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.  How does this non related Coronavirus spending help people who have the virus and businesses impacted by the virus?  The silence is deafening by Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and our illustrious Democrat members of the House in responding to these pork questions.  Billions of Taxpayers dollars are being spent on totally non related Covid-19 matters.  Why?  To me we are seeing of the complete ineptness and disregard that our Congress especially the Democrat Party has in the time of a crisis to the people it supposedly represents.  And if you are questioning what they are doing with this non related Covid-19 spending you are labeled an obstructionist, anti-American, insensitive, etc.  I wonder what steps Africa is taking currently to help our country in this crisis with the amount of aid they just received?  The $11 billion dollars that was given to these African entities could buy a great deal of food, shelter, surgical masks and ventilators for our country.  Just a stupid thought on my part.
"We are fighting for survival" Words that should be heard.
And we are somehow supposed to trust our government on a federal or state level in the time of a crisis?    I really think we need a new Congress.  With the exception of a few brave individuals this Congress does not represent American Taxpayers in any way shape or form.  It only represents the special interest groups that put them into office.  The swamp called Congress needs to be drained.
"We are fighting for survival" This statement has become deafening to me. 
I will repeat from last week's column.
Do not fear.
We will overcome this crisis as we have the others.  All will be well in our country. 
Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
Words to live by.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coronavirus Thoughts Week 2

The current United States statistics of Covid-19, the Chinese flu strain is 26,900 cases with 348 deaths.  That is roughly at 1.3% death rate.  Since it is difficult to obtain pure data on this virus from any source it seems that many of the deaths are older people who may have had some medical issues prior to getting the virus.
Connecticut has taken many extreme steps to combat the virus including closing many businesses and limiting what certain businesses can do such as restaurants take out/drive thru only, etc.   A decree of what can be deemed essential businesses remaining open during this crisis is supposedly coming forth today Sunday 3/22/2020.  This will continue to cause economic destruction in our state economy.  Governor Lamont is going to use the state's $250 million dollar rainy day fund that in my opinion will be woefully inadequate for this crisis while the state's ability to borrow money becomes less and less as the state has over $140 billion dollars in short and long term debt along with unfunded liabilities already.  The new budget deficit due to the massive amount of unemployment claims along with a downturn in sales tax revenues (including the ten cent plastic bag tax) will be enormous.  I can see a $3 to $5 billion dollar budget deficit for the end of this fiscal year along with the new fiscal year of 20-21.  It is interesting to note that Governor Lamont has not requested any cuts in state spending from any agencies to put all efforts into saving the state economy.   We have spent an enormous amount of time and money in lobbying for tolls especially for trucks.  It is interesting to see how badly we need trucks at this time to transport our essential goods to our remaining economy.  Governor Lamont has also given towns and cities to pass their own budgets without public input and set their own tax rates.  How this is constitutional is beyond me?
Obviously Connecticut's economy may get worse first before getting better.  It seems to be extreme in my opinion and is taking away a great deal of our personal freedoms.  
I will repeat from last week's column.
Do not fear.
We will overcome this crisis as we have the others.  All will be well in our country.
Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
Words to live by.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

My Thoughts On The Coronavirus

Fear is a strong emotion that has been prevalent in our economy due to the outbreak of a Coronavirus this one named Covid-19.
Fear has brought about a massive downturn in our stock markets eliminating well over $5 trillion dollars of wealth on paper. 
Fear has brought about panic buying of food supplies fresh and frozen along with all cleaning materials, paper towels, napkins and toilet paper.  Black markets have opened up for cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers and paper products with massively inflated prices for these necessities.
Fear seems to be a constant in our media when talking about this virus.  News articles describe many different sensationalized scenarios of what it going on with the virus and how many will become infected and die from it.
Safety precautions have shut down sporting events at all levels, closed public schools, colleges and universities along with many businesses asking their employees to work from home.  Public gatherings are being limited 250 people or less.  Churches have cancelled services.  Draconian measures that in some cases violate our personal freedoms that are guaranteed by the Constitution.
There is an economic cost to all these closings and changes.  Small businesses will be impacted severely.  Those businesses that depend on these schools and businesses for their product or service will be impacted.  Their employees may have their hours cut or be laid off.  Many of these employees may work two or three jobs just to pay for their rent and living expenses.  What are they going to do now with less income? Unemployment may increase in the short run and some businesses may close and never open up again.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will probably go down for this quarter and the next and recover in the 3rd quarter. 
Economically it seems to depend upon the next two weeks and how better or worse the situation becomes.  My thoughts are things are going to improve for a variety of reasons including that we in our country do care about our personal hygiene as compared to other countries.  It is important to remember the small businesses in our local communities as they the backbone of our economy.  They need our support at this time.
There is a website that offers real time statistics for the Covid-19 virus  As of 11:15am Sunday 3/15/20 Worldwide there have been 162,651 cases reported with 6,069 deaths and 76,219 recoveries from the virus (people who have gotten better and have not died).
These are interesting statistics that do not seem to be reported in our media.  The website also shows how many cases that have occurred in each country.  As a reminder the flu kills more people in our country than this virus does at this time.  Is this possibly an overreaction? 
We should not be fearful at this time as we have lived through many of these types of viruses over the years.  We do need to take proper precautions in our personal hygiene.  We also need to recognize that faith will carry us through this crisis as it has carried our country through the the thousands of crises that we have had since 1776.  Maybe this virus is a wake up call to those who do not have faith in the Lord in our society.  Maybe it is a wake up call for elected officials to lead for a change rather than make political every crisis that happens in our society especially here in Connecticut.
Do not fear.
We will overcome this crisis as we have the others.  All will be well in our country.
Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
Words to live by.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

What's Another $41.2 Million Dollars To Connecticut Taxpayers

Connecticut Taxpayers were beaten up again this week. The Yankee Institute for Public Policy reported on two massive losses for Connecticut Taxpayers which added up to $41.2 million dollars in lost money.
First was a state audit that found the problematic Department of Economic and Community Development forgave or modified state loans to companies totaling $23.6 million and awarding $16 million in excess assistance through the ill fated First Five Plus program.  There seems to be a constant theme in the Department of Economic and Community Development of a lack of oversight, whistle blower complaints and most importantly a massive waste of Connecticut Taxpayers monies in trying to create a handful of what seems to be jobs that are non existent and or politically connected.  Why this Department still operates is beyond me.
The second waste of Connecticut Taxpayers monies occurred when the Department of Corrections in an audited example of 678 cases by 10 employees that they did not have 659 out of 678 approved union leave forms on file, accounting for 5,164 hours of paid time off.  For two employees the result was in 230 and 404 days of consecutive leave in each case.  The total waste to Connecticut Taxpayers was a mere $2.2 million dollars.  Apparently the Department of Corrections does not wish to follow rules and laws in granting this union leave. 
These two audited examples account for a mere $41.2 million dollars in wasted monies.  And I will continue to remind you that Connecticut has $140 billion dollars worth of short and long term debt along with unfunded liabilities that is ignored on a daily basis by the Connecticut Democrat Party.  It seems to follow a very familiar pattern here in Connecticut state unions are given anything they want disregarding rules and laws while political connected corporate welfare marches on unabated and unchecked.
Thus Connecticut Taxpayers monies continue to be wasted.  State audits and auditors are ignored.  Laws and rules governing state agencies are ignored.  The waste seems to be endless in our state government.  And the lack of respect shown to Connecticut Taxpayers by the Connecticut Democrat Party continues. 
Here is a thought.  The $41.2 million dollars is probably a small portion of the massive amount of waste that occurs daily in state government.  The $41.2 million dollars that was wasted in these two examples could have fixed and repaired a great deal of our roads and bridges in the state (without tolls). 
How much waste of Connecticut Taxpayers monies is taking place on a daily basis?  $1 billion dollars a year?  $2 billion dollars a year?  Pick a number?  Who knows?  A full forensic audit of our entire state government is needed immediately. 
We do know that the Connecticut Democrat Party does seem to care nor worry about laws or audits in the state when it comes to accounting for Connecticut Taxpayers monies.  The waste continues day in and day out, year in and year out.  It is never ending.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Failures Of More Taxes In Connecticut

It is economically irrational to believe that new and or increased taxes will resolve any existing problems in the state of Connecticut.
For example, tolls and the supposed revenue that will be gained from them will repair the state's road and highway system.  There is already in place a fund and specific taxes that should be used for this but is moved in to the state's general fund for spending elsewhere.  Tolls will only raise the cost of living in Connecticut.
Another example is a 35% excise tax on all ammunition sold in Connecticut in order to deter the use of guns and thus reduce violence, crime and murders in the state.  There are many fallacies to this tax as in my opinion and the opinion of many others all the tax will do is penalize law abiding citizens who hunt and use guns for target shooting, etc. in a legal manner.  A hardened criminal will continue to obtain guns and ammunition in usually illegal manners in order to rob someone, rob a business and or murder someone.  Since Connecticut has created more and more laws to encourage illegal actions and behaviors it should be no surprise that there has been a massive increase in crime over the past few years.  The death penalty has been eliminated in the state thus that law gets criminals off the hook and they are now supported for the rest of their lives by legal Connecticut Taxpayers in prison.  For the most part these criminals are not reformed by being sentenced to life in prison.  And what happened to the right of those individuals who they hurt, maimed and or killed?  Obviously their rights do not matter to the Connecticut Democrat Party.  Nor will a 35% tax on ammunition deter criminals either, it is just another failure of Connecticut's Utopian liberalism when it comes to treating those violent criminals that roam our state especially our decaying cities.
More, new and or higher taxes serve no purpose other than to fuel the wasteful spending that we see in Hartford on a daily basis.
More, new and or higher taxes serve no purpose other than to keep a ruling Connecticut Democrat elite in power.
More, new and or higher taxes serve no purpose other than to keep Connecticut in an economic recession that the state can never get out of.
More, new and or higher taxes serve no purpose other than to keep a bloated bureaucracy operational to suffice the needs of a failed political nepotism system that is constantly propped up by these taxes.
More, new and or higher taxes fail Connecticut on a daily basis.
Enough is enough.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Connecticut Still Needs To Cut Spending

No Tolls was heard loud and clear by a bunch of scared and frightened Connecticut Democrat legislators who feared for their political lives this past week in Hartford.  The Connecticut Republican Party at the same time decided enough was enough and broke out of their political hibernation and decided they would read each word of the political pork toll bill in session and stage a 30 hour filibuster on the bill to stop it.  The Connecticut Democrat Party became outraged by this action realizing that a majority of legal taxpayers in the state were against tolls.  They expected to ram these new "user fee tax tolls" with ease as they rammed massive tax increases on the state for years now.  The new toll bill would in my opinion quickly spiral into massive tolls on all vehicles with a high per mile "user fee tax tolls" implemented on all drivers in the state.  The money from these "user fee tax tolls" we all know would not go to fix and or repair our bridges, roads and highways, it would find its way into the general fund.  Therefore we would continue to see massive budget deficits each year, an increasing $140 billion dollars in short and long term debt along with unfunded liabilities and no repairs done to the road system.
It is ironic that the state actually has a transportation fund that if it wasn't raided yearly by the Connecticut Democrat Party would pay for the upkeep and repairs to our bridge and road system.  It is also ironic that if the state cut spending across the board from 2 to 5% there would be more than enough money to pay for the upkeep and repairs to our bridge and road system.  It is also ironic that Governor Lamont illegally held up municipal aid to our towns and cities in order to get his failed tolls system passed.  Now the money gets freed up nine months late in violation of the passed state budget and the state constitution.  Sickening to say the least.
Connecticut really needs to cuts its spending.  It can no longer afford its overpaid Commissioners and political high and mid level managers any more.  There is no checks and balances in our government that oversee wasteful and fraudulent state spending, corporate welfare and or failed state programs that do nothing for the state except waste legal Connecticut Taxpayers monies.   Programs remain funded that offer nothing to the state.  Political expedient state funded programs especially in the University system remain paid in full with no results except for keeping politcal appointments in a Taxpayer funded job for life.
Governor Lamont unfortunately really can not led the state as shown by his constant lies about tolls.  How he ever made it in business is beyond me and many other legal Connecticut Taxpayers.  And now is the time for the Connecticut Republican Party since they are awake to present on a daily basis areas to cut state spending, improve state government efficiencies and develop a plan to address the $140 billion dollars in short and long term debt along with unfunded liabilities.  The time is now with this minor victory over tolls.
Make no mistake tolls will continue to be offered as the only alternative to repair the roads by the Connecticut Democrat Party.  And make no mistake that if the state actually were to cut its wasteful and fraudulent spending, bridges and roads would be fixed while taxes would go down in both the short and long run along with a lowering of the state's massive debt.
It can be done.   Connecticut can cut its spending and needs to start today.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Why Cut Connecticut State Spending?

Why cut Connecticut state spending?
I mean why?
Why is it necessary?
Connecticut has only $140 billion dollars in short and long term debt along with unfunded liabilities.  A staggering figure for a state as small as Connecticut.  If the state does not spend its bloated budget for seven years straight it would pay off this debt but would not have one cent to feed the political trough known as our state government.
Connecticut continues to lag behind the rest of the country in economic development, economic growth, job creation, new business development and business friendliness along with having the highest property taxes and state taxes in the country.  It continues to be a bottom five rank in most if not all economic categories.
Why cut Connecticut state spending?
I mean why?
Why is it necessary?
This short legislative session is more of the same increases in taxes, increases in spending along with new laws to take away legal Connecticut residents freedoms.  The biggest new tax, a socialist's dream is the full implementation of tolls first for trucks and then for cars.  The new toll tax will further cement Connecticut's economic nightmare of more population losses, more businesses moving out of state, more taxes and a much higher cost of living for the legal working middle class.  The new toll tax should make Connecticut rank 50 out of 50 in all economic categories in the near future while doing nothing at all to repair or maintain the road system in the state. More lies by the Connecticut Democrat Party in the face of massive opposition to this new toll tax.
There is a simplistic solution to Connecticut's economic debt and chronic budget deficits.
Cut spending.
It is a simplistic approach that never is spoken in Hartford.  An across the board cut in salaries, benefits and all state agencies budgets from 2% to 10%.  There is no longer any justification for the excessive salaries, benefits and pensions that are being paid out to state commissioners and state union and management workers.  As a taxpayer I can not see either efficiencies nor the value of overpaying these state workers?  Have they streamlined any processes?  Have they found ways to save money in their departments?  Will any procedures be developed to make their departments more user friendly to Connecticut Taxpayers?  Why are their budgets increased yearly?  What are the economic justifications?
Instead we have more of the same inefficient, bloated state bureaucracy and political nepotism in place in our state government.
Cutting state spending and making state spending more efficient is critical to getting Connecticut back on track economically.  However with the bunch of political losers and hacks who govern us we will never see it.   Cutting state spending and making state spending more efficient would start to attract new businesses without state government corporate welfare that is so well known in Connecticut and does nothing to create jobs or tax revenues.
Connecticut Taxpayers need to demand cuts in spending in the areas that I stated earlier.  It will be the only way for Connecticut to survive economically.  By the way, NO TOLLS either.  That is another lie force fed to us by the Connecticut Democrat Party.
Cut state spending today.