The Chris Powell Column

Trump should remember the fates of LBJ and Nixon

On his way out of the White House last week, President Obama assured the country that all would be well. But Obama is not returning to Chicago, which is engulfed by the violence of social disintegration, nor even to Illinois, the most insolvent of states, and if everything were well he wouldn’t be delivering the White House to anyone like Donald Trump.

No saving Connecticut without ‘nattering nabobs’


uring the congressional election campaign in 1970, a campaign almost as nasty as last year’s presidential campaign, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew famously derided the Nixon administration’s critics in the news media. 

“In the United States today,” Agnew said, “we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.”

Poverty explodes in state but government is oblivious

Nearly every day lately brings reports of deepening poverty and social disintegration in Connecticut, but state government fails to put them together and make sense of them.

The state Department of Children and Families is being sued for $20 million by lawyers nominally representing an infant boy who suffered serious injuries in the custody of foster parents. The department already had taken four children from the boy’s mother, who was unmarried and deemed mentally ill and incompetent.

Exposing pious frauds, it’s a great new budget

Pick at the details of Connecticut’s new state budget, approved by the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly late last week, and there might seem to be nothing good about it.

Innocent face long pain as state politics adjusts

Another day, another state budget, this one proposed by the Democratic majority of the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee. It makes tens of millions of dollars in reductions to state government agencies and services, including services to the innocent needy, but there is nothing programmatic about it, no reconsideration of major policies, just across-the-board cuts. 

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.