Sunday, December 18, 2016

Swick's Final Thoughts on 2016

This will be my last column for 2016.  I will be back with a special New Years Day column in 2017.
A great deal has occurred in 2016.  We have a new President Trump and Vice President Pence.  We have seen the beginning of the end for the Clinton dynasty.  In Connecticut voters continue their rejection of the Connecticut Democrat Party and their irrational economic tax and spend policies.  Connecticut continues to lose many businesses and continues to have a net migration of population out of Connecticut.  Connecticut continues to rank near last in most economic categories in 2016.  The state's pension system is an economic debacle broke with a ridiculous proposal currently to push to 2032 the bulk of its debt.  It was a year of the same stale economic rhetoric from Hartford's Omnipotent One Party Rule which mercifully is day by day losing its grip on power in Hartford.  The City of Hartford continues is economic decline with a brand new baseball stadium in disrepair with no games being played there along with the push for a "regional" sales tax to bail them out.  More of the same in Hartford.  There was the usual mix of Connecticut political corruption that just never seems to end.
Dan Malloy will continue as the Head of the Governors Association shaking down donors who will demand better results than what they got in this past election and spending the bulk of his time out of Connecticut in hope of getting a new job when does not get re elected in 2018.  The hope is once again that in 2018 the Republicans will prevail in taking control of the State House and complete control of the State Senate rather the current split 18-18.  And more importantly win the Governorship with a conservative candidate like Peter Lumaj in the upcoming election.
I also think about the hundreds of million of dollars that was spent in this last campaign.  Think about all of the people who could have been helped, the poor, the sick, college loans, etc. with it rather where it went, in the pockets of overpaid political consultants, a biased media and pollsters who have no clue what is going on in our country.  Also think about all of the money that is in the Clinton Foundation that does not get spent on "charitable" endeavors.  
Thus we will be entering 2017 with a new found hope in a new and dynamic President Trump and Vice President Pence who have already shaken up Washington and its stale political process.  We know the liberal media will each day condemn him however it looks like he will be ignoring them and take his messages directly to the citizens and taxpayers of our country.  What a refreshing thought for America.  In my economic opinion when all is said and done America will have entered a great period of economic growth and prosperity and our future will look great again.
I wish to thank all of my loyal readers who both and agree and disagree with my writings and thoughts.  I wish to also thank Capitol Report 2016 for being on their "The List" of columnists.  Without you this column does not exist.  I have always wanted what is best for my town of Wallingford, for Connecticut and for the United States of America whether you agree with me or not.  It can only be achieved through economic growth and prosperity,  a belief in spirituality, through productive and fair employment, through self reliance not reliance on an ineffective government and through a desire to see all in our country be successful and in good health.
Happy Hanukkah.
Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year.
Thank You.
See you next year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Connecticut's Continuing Pension Crisis

Connecticut's traveling Governor Dan Malloy never ceases to amaze me with his economic illiteracy and irrational and costly economic plans.  The newest piece of economic garbage comes in the form of addressing Connecticut's pension crisis.  Connecticut's pension funds are severely underfunded and in many cases former state employees are able to able add their overtime, mileage costs, etc. to their final pension amounts.  Thus Connecticut's pensions are broke with taxpayers footing the bill.
This new Malloy plan that does nothing to increase workers contribution levels nor cut back on pension payouts.  About 25% of all state employees contribute nothing toward their pension benefit. Most others pay 2%.  For comparison purposes 7% is the national average of contribution. The beauty of Connecticut's political spoils system is that Connecticut taxpayers must be forced to pay incredibly large pensions to non union state managers, commissioners, judges, state elected officials who in most cases do not contribute a penny to their lifetime payout.  This is not addressed in Malloy's proposal.  Nor what is addressed is why the actual pension liabilities have been pushed down the road to 2032 a time when most Connecticut's political elite will be receiving their pensions in a low taxed state like Florida.  The complexity of this proposal astounds as me as I (as an economist) am having trouble as to how explain it.  It looks like the state will increase its funding somewhat to their pension liability in the hope that their rate of return will increase.  If it does not increase then most of the debt will be pushed back to 2032 and at that time some new plan will be presented.
My plan is simple.  All 25% of those state employees who do not contribute to their pension will now start to contribute 7% of their income from dollar one with no cap.  Their pensions would be capped at a 30% level of highest income.  This is still generous.  The other state employees who now only contribute 2% of their incomes would see an increase to 7%, all new state employees would be placed in a self funded retirement plan.  All life time medical benefits would end for any state employee just retiring, they can either be offered the state exchange health care plan or a similar type of Medicare plan that we in the private sector must accept.
Remember Connecticut is broke.  It ranks last in pension unfunded liabilities.  It has run out of ways to tax its remaining citizens.  Connecticut taxpayers need not fund a lifetime of excesses for those who have political connections in Hartford.  It is time to take back Connecticut's bloated pensions.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Connecticut's Never Ending Fiscal Crisis. Connecticut's Bloated Pensions.

It is funny that Connecticut's fiscal crisis never ends.  It continues unabated day in day out, year in and year out.  New and higher taxes for many years now has not solved the state's continuous budget deficit.  State spending continues to keep going up.  More and more fiscal line items magically drop off the state budget and become off budget items. Excessively high salaries, benefits and pensions are embraced and never cut back.
Thus you have short and long term debt along with unfunded liabilities that have put Connecticut's debt at $60 to $80 Billion dollars.  With no plan whatsoever to pay this off.  Each Connecticut taxpayer owes over $13,250 on this debt.  What is the plan to pay this off or cut spending?
Connecticut's out-of-control spending was casually mentioned in this past election.  In a political miracle the State Senate is now evenly split between the Omnipotent Tax and Spend Democrats and the Republicans 18 to 18 with Democrat Lieutenant Governor Wyman casting the politically expedient tie braking vote.  The Democrats continue to lose seats in the State House and hold a small majority at this time.
Connecticut has one of the most bloated pension systems in the country that is horrifically underfunded.  Most Connecticut Taxpayers can only dream of getting a lifetime of a $100,000 plus a year pension along with virtually free medical benefits that they see many former state employees get.  These same Connecticut Taxpayers must be satisfied with their meager Social Security benefits that they have paid for all their lives.  They can not work for three years as a Judge and then be eligible for a lifetime state taxpayer funded pension.  They can not add their mileage expense to increase their lifetime state taxpayer funded pension.  They can not add their unused sick time (what is that anyways?) to their lifetime state taxpayer funded pension.  They can not be like Connecticut Senator Blumenthal and his lifetime state taxpayer funded pension of over $50,000 a year due to his reign of economic terror as State Attorney General.  Blumenthal by the way is worth over $105 Million dollars.  Does he still really need that lifetime state taxpayer funded pension and could he go without it and help the state in its time of fiscal need?   Of course he will get every penny out of state taxpayers that he feels he so richly deserves.
It is a sickening excess that Connecticut Taxpayers must pay for year in and year out.
Connecticut Taxpayers have had enough.
Connecticut continues to be a vast economic wasteland whose elected officials only concern is their financial gain.  It is proven time and time again.
Reform Connecticut's bloated public pension system today.  Find real budget cuts that cut the waste and bloated nature of Connecticut's government.