The Corner

The one and only.

Connecticut Politicians Eager for Obama’s Billions


There are skeptics and naysayers divisively suggesting that Obama’s billions in new spending will go down a political rat-hole. I would like to speak out on behalf of Nutmeggers — as we residents of Connecticut inexplicably call ourselves — and say it ain’t so. I’m confident that our state’s political leaders will know exactly what to do with that money when Obama orders it to come down from the heavens.

Let me just remind you, if I may, how many of Connecticut’s distinguished political leaders have found themselves in the news. For instance, back in the early 1990s we had a courageous governor, the maverick Lowell Weicker, who signed an income tax. He was a former Republican who became an independent and seems to have considered becoming a Democrat. Until that point, Connecticut did fine without an income tax, but what do I know?

Previously, Weicker had been a senator. He succeeded Thomas Dodd, who had been censured for using $116,000 of campaign funds for his personal needs. Christopher Dodd is his son and our personal representative to the subprime meltdown. Lately, he seems to be in hot water about some dealings that appear a bit shady [Chris Dodd’s ‘Irish Cottage,’ Wall Street Journal].

It’s true Weicker was toast after one term, because the grumbling majority didn’t see things his way. (He now serves on the board of World Wrestling Entertainment.) Anyway, after Weicker gave us an income tax, Republican John Roland offered us hope. During his campaign for the governorship, he pledged to abolish the income tax. He won the election, but things got busy, and he never got around to it. Four years flew by faster than anyone expected, and Roland ran for re-election, promising to really try to do something about the income tax this time. Unfortunately, a generous contractor did some work on Roland’s summer place without charging anything for it. This contractor also forced some free vacations on the governor, and there were reports about other things going on — long story short, Roland spent some time in the slammer. No big deal.

Then there was Mayor Philip Giordano in Waterbury, who was being investigated for soliciting gifts from generous city contractors when the FBI discovered that he was also soliciting sex with 8- and 10-year-old girls, brought to him by a drug-addicted mom who called herself “Gigi.” He ended up the slammer. It’s not clear whether he has been treated fairly: After his conviction he tried to get the city to pay him $61,000 for unused personal days, and this was denied.

Down the road, Bridgeport’s mayor, Joseph Ganim, found himself in trouble, too, for soliciting millions from city contractors, and he’s in the slammer, too. The current mayor of Bridgeport, John Fabrizi, has admitted to using cocaine at the office. And Eddie Perez, the mayor of Hartford, was arrested for bribery and fabricating evidence. He has vowed to defend his good name. He is genuinely proud of having come a long way since his youth, when he was reported to be affiliated with the Ghetto Brothers, a local gang, and with the Puerto Rican Socialist Party.

Connecticut’s senate minority leader, Louis DeLuca, was arrested for dealing with a local mafia boss. Something to do with trash-hauling operations.

I don’t want to go into the scandals that have shaken the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Department of Children and Families. Nor is this the time to discuss the bungled construction job on Interstate 84 near Waterbury, where an auditor discovered that more than 280 storm drains were either filled with sand or connected to pipes leading nowhere.

None of this shakes my faith that President Obama knows what he is doing when he plans to give billions of dollars to our political leaders, so that we may be stimulated. I just hope I’ll get my fair share.

Jim Powell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is the author of FDR’s Folly, Bully Boy, Wilson’s War, Greatest Emancipations, The Triumph of Liberty, and other books.