To govern is still to choose but friends of disabled won’t
While Governor Malloy tries to operate state government without a budget, the General Assembly being a month late in approving one, advocates for the mentally disabled are complaining bitterly about his reductions to funding for nonprofit social service agencies.
Yes, care for the disabled should be state government’s first priority. Instead state government’s first priority is the contentment of its own employees, which is why their unions get contracts with state government while the disabled get no guarantees at all. Unfortunately, advocates for the disabled have never taken note of this.
Indeed, the advocates for the disabled were nowhere to be found the other day when the state auditors reported that the state Department of Developmental Services, which looks after the mentally disabled, has put more than two dozen of its employees on paid leave for periods far greater than allowed by state law, including one who has been on leave for more than two years and has been paid more than $81,000 for not working.
This week the advocates for the disabled had nothing to say about the governor’s “concessions” deal with the state employee unions, which will guarantee their fringe benefits for 10 years and prevent layoffs for four years. Opposing the deal, Republican legislators note that if the state’s economy continues to decline, the deal may force state government to keep reducing services to the disabled.
But advocates for the disabled do little more than clamor that they want more money from state government, as if the public doesn’t know that everybody wants more money. Such clamor is useless.
What would be useful from advocates for the disabled would be some acknowledgment that, as the old if forgotten saying goes, to govern is to choose. Such an acknowledgment would manifest itself in clamor specifying the great financial excesses that continue in state government despite Connecticut’s economic decline. If advocates for the disabled constituted themselves as political auditors and shoved the specifics of state government’s mismanagement and inhumane priorities in the faces of the governor, state legislators, news organizations, and the public, they might have more impact.
For a few state legislators are still capable of shame. Indeed, if only one Democratic state senator can be shamed, the governor’s deal with the unions, which will impair state government’s finances and democracy itself for another 10 years, can be defeated when it comes to a vote in the Senate on Monday.
Advocates for the disabled and for any compelling cause in Connecticut also might focus on the state’s senior U.S. senator, Richard Blumenthal, who this month proposed that Congress appropriate $500 million for “security assistance” for Ukraine, including treatment of injured Ukrainian soldiers in U.S. hospitals.
Is continued intervention by the United States in civil wars around the world -Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, and now Ukraine -- really worth depriving care to Americans?
While Blumenthal advocates more foreign military adventures, the state’s congressional delegation has failed to induce the federal government to provide any help to the hundreds and perhaps thousands of eastern Connecticut residents who are in danger of losing their homes to the defective concrete problem.
Connecticut’s congressmen are supposed to be liberals. Are they declining to oppose these foreign adventures because the Trump administration is lavishing military contracts on Electric Boat, Pratt & Whitney, and Sikorsky? If so, what kind of liberalism is that? Letters to the Editor: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Letters to the Editor, The Register Citizen, 59 Field St., Torrington, CT 06790; ATT: Letter to the Editor. Rules for getting published: Please include your address and a daytime phone number for verification purposes only. Please limit your letters to 300 words per Letter to the Editor and one letter every fifteen days. We reserve the right to edit for length, grammar, spelling and objectionable content. Talk with us online: Find us at Facebook.com/registercitizen and twitter.com/registercitizen. For the latest local coverage, including breaking news, slideshows, videos, polls and more, visit www.registercitizen.com. Check out our blogs at www. registercitizen.com/blogs/opinion.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, during a noon joint session of the General Assembly at the Capitol in Hartford.