Tuesday's HOT MIC
Watching a beautiful state like Connecticut circling the financial drain is depressing, especially when it's the richest state in the country. But years of Democrat rule (aided and abetted by a couple of Republican governors, one of whom is currently in prison) have left the Nutmeg State a quivering basket case:
Connecticut, the richest state in the nation, has racked up $74 billion in debt. Its finances have more in common with Puerto Rico than Massachusetts, as the home of America’s financial wizards struggles to pay off its massive obligations big as the bills come due on decades of mismanagement.
While ballooning payments for public employees’ guaranteed pension and health benefits for public employees and teachers are the main cause of Connecticut’s fiscal misery, the state continued borrowing with the abandon of a teenager let loose in a Forever 21 with her parent’s credit card. Jobs lost during the recession have not returned. Its youth and future tax base is fleeing for New York and Boston. Fortune 500 companies are following them out of town.
And it could get worse before it gets better.
The main problem is the state's principal cities: Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury -- dumpster fires all. Vibrant diversity has changed them all from Yankee strongholds into resource-draining redoubts of welfare recipients, illegal aliens, and people utterly dependent on the state. In the meantime, the industries that made New England great, including firearms manufacture, have long since fled, leaving the towns reliant on -- you guessed it -- government employment in order to keep at least a few folks working and paying taxes to support the rest.
Hartford, a microcosm of the state’s troubles, is contemplating bankruptcy. The state’s four major cities, Hartford, Waterbury, New Haven, and Bridgeport, have accumulated a combined $4.8 billion in retirement benefit obligations and may need future intervention from the state to handle its debts.
The state boasts the highest per capita income in the nation at $71,033 per year, Bureau of Economic Analysis records show. Well-heeled hedge funders in enclaves such as Old Greenwich, with an average household income of $341,401 in 2015, and Darien, with an average household income of $331,277, keep the state on top.
Hartford, which is grappling with a poverty rate of 28 percent and a 9 percent unemployment rate, has a median income of $28,970 and the average taxpayer contributes $903 to the state in 2015. A Darien resident earned an average income 11 times higher than a Hartford resident while the average Greenwich taxpayer paid the state roughly the same amount in income tax revenue as 27 Hartford residents combined.
Until the state demands that the cities adjust their social policies to their finances, the situation will only get worse. When your main employers are fleeing for Boston and New York City, you know you're doing something wrong. But on the Left, ideology always trumps reality, so don't expect improvement any time soon.