Now that the Connecticut General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved the $220 million extortion payment to Sikorsky Aircraft, Connecticut should expect similar extortion demands from other large and mobile employers, starting with the big insurance companies in the Hartford area.
That's because Sikorsky is not being paid to move or expand here but merely to stick around and keep doing what it would do anyway -- build military helicopters.
This surely is being noticed by all employers with large workforces in the state. They must be wondering how much they might induce state government to pay them just to stick around.
It will not require much effort for any large company to approach other states to get bids for relocation and then invite Governor Malloy to top the bids or risk losing the company.
Because the deal with Sikorsky invites similar extortion, it easily could cost another billion dollars before state government realizes that there is a distinction between extortion and economic development and between corporate welfare and good business conditions.
NO NEED FOR PROGRAM REVIEW: In the name of saving money, the General Assembly is eliminating the staff of its Program Review and Investigations Committee, the committee whose nominal purpose is to question government operations and policies for efficiency and effectiveness.
Dumb as this seems, it's the right thing to do, because nothing important ever comes from the committee's work. Its reviews are too limited and the legislature and the governor always lack the political courage to challenge the most expensive and mistaken premises of policy. The committee's real purpose long has been only pretense.
Besides, the legislature and the governor need no special study to realize that state government can never save money as long as state employee labor law and education and welfare law actually forbid it even as education and welfare policies mainly produce generation after generation of illiteracy and dependence on government.
Even as the legislature was liquidating the program review committee, the Connecticut Mirror reported that the legislature and the governor had countenanced the disintegration of a committee supposed to oversee construction projects at the University of Connecticut. The committee has not met for almost two years and the terms of some members have expired without new appointments.
A few days earlier the state auditors reported that UConn improperly diverted to expansion projects $50 million that had been appropriated for deferred maintenance and had improperly overpaid certain executives by hundreds of thousands of dollars. The governor and legislature didn't even shrug at the report. They ignored it in their rush to shower $220 million on Sikorsky.
PREPARING MORE VICTIMS: At least Hartford's 13th murder of the year was instructive.
The victim, an unemployed 26-year-old man, was shot 17 times near an elementary school. Police offered no motive, but the murdered man's mother told the Hartford Courant that his criminal record had kept him from getting a job. (The victim's father was not mentioned, but then as a matter of public policy few children in Hartford have fathers.)
His mother said the victim was "trying to turn his life around" and wanted to work to support his girlfriend and their two children. That is, he had not been supporting them, and indeed he and his girlfriend never had been in a position to do so but had children anyway in the confidence that government would pay for them.
Another feckless vigil was planned to protest violence in the city, as if, without complaint, policy wasn't already preparing the next victims.
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn., and a longtime columnist.