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The Chris Powell Column

Bernie’s not so far out; and hints of GOP sanity

After the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a socialist and anti-establishment, may look less extreme, having thrashed Hillary Clinton by 60 to 38 percent and having reduced the former senator and secretary of state to appealing for votes largely on the basis of her gender, only to find most women voting against her anyway.

The worst are passionate; and courts grab for power

Living standards are declining. The government is ineffectual and corrupt. An angry and alienated electorate increasingly responds to demagogic incitement. Political extremists of the left and right brazenly break the law without consequence. Neo-Nazis and neo-Stalinists shriek at each other over the airwaves and on the Internet while not quite yet doing battle in the streets.

If they’d stay tax-exempt, why sell the hospitals?

Community support for the acquisition of Waterbury Hospital and Eastern Connecticut Health Network’s Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals, all nonprofit hospitals, by Prospect Medical Holdings, a for-profit company, has been based largely on the expectation that the new owner would start paying millions of dollars in municipal property taxes each year. Because of their nonprofit structure the hospitals now are tax-exempt.

Malloy calls their bluff, but there is much to cut in budget

Governor Malloy’s recent announcement that he will convene bipartisan discussions about fixing the state budget in anticipation of a special session of the General Assembly was an admission that the budget is no longer the triumph he and Democratic legislative leaders proclaimed a few months ago but rather a dying turkey.

That is, the budget has been undone by its own excesses and another economic recession, which may be depriving state government of $100 million a month in expected tax revenue.

Well-run state wouldn’t need to pay extortion

Back in June, the leaders of the Democratic majority in the General Assembly, having just passed another huge tax increase, including substantial business taxes, scoffed at complaints by major businesses, including General Electric, whose headquarters is in Fairfield. GE threatened to leave the state.

Hospitals’ challenges: taxing serious illness, ignoring excessive pay

Get sick enough to go to the hospital in Connecticut and you inevitably fall into a web of political deception and corruption.

It’s not just the cost shifting and concealment that government long has imposed by requiring hospitals to treat the indigent for free, recovering those costs by charging more to paying patients and their insurers, a policy that taxes serious illness and converts hospitals into tax collectors.

Cops are more accountable; now, how about UConn?

For years the story of freedom of information in Connecticut has been about the efforts of special interests, particularly government employee unions, which control the state’s Democratic Party and terrify the state’s Republicans, to weaken the law so that holding government accountable becomes more difficult. Usually advocates of accountable government have been hard-pressed just to limit the damage.

It’s time to stampede the elephants in the room

Now that even the cheerleading shills at the University of Connecticut’s Center for Economic Analysis acknowledge that government economic data has been just misleading spin and that the state’s economy is actually declining and has lousy long-term prospects, maybe state politics will get serious.

Connecticut would hide video of murder by cop

While Connecticut is inching toward equipping police officers with body cameras and cruisers with dashboard cameras, they won’t bring much accountability to police work unless the state’s freedom-of-information law is strengthened. For if police video in Connecticut ever captured a murder committed by an officer — like the murders recently committed by officers in South Carolina and Oklahoma and captured on video that was quickly made public — the video almost certainly would be suppressed.

Will legislators dare confront the cannibals?

With its annual radio advertising campaign calling on state government to keep appropriating billions in reimbursements for municipal budgets without ever asking critical questions, the Connecticut Council of Municipalities has a mock taxpayer declaring indignantly, “My hometown is definitely not a special-interest group.”