ON THE PRECIPICE

THE PRECIPICE: This session may define Connecticut’s identity for a generation

I’m back from a week in Cape Cod. During my stay, I read a book about Massachusetts by Jon Keller called “The Bluest State.” Combined with the ongoing budgetary disaster in California and the tragicomedy in the New York State Senate, it is nothing less than a warning and a blueprint for where Connecticut may be headed as a State.

Reading it this particular week was apropos. Indeed, today is Veto session day, and it is clear that if the Governor is overridden on issues such as Sustinet, our State will without question soon be lumped together with those states and other basket cases like New Jersey and Michigan.

Why so gloomy? I came here from New York six years ago this month, choosing Connecticut because it had the lowest combined tax rate in the tri-state area. As New York and New Jersey were increasingly taken hostage by civil-service unions, Connecticut could have become the destination of choice for both workers and employers who wished to remain in the region but to escape deficit insanity.

This opportunity still exists, but it is rapidly closing. In the face of a tortuous recession, which offered a rationale for evaluating public expenditures in the Nutmeg State, our Democratic majority in Hartford has pursued every liberal fantasy — universal free health care, higher business taxation and regulation, taxing the “rich”, abolishing the death penalty, and of course never laying off any government workers. Ever. Indeed, we are following these other sorry states over the liberal shibboleth cliff.

These state offer plenty of lessons as to where this leads. When Governors Pataki and Schwarzenegger dropped any pretension to conservatism and partnered with unions, the result was legislatures who saw deficits as just a necessary evil to be tolerated in the face of full governmental employment. Indeed, in these states, the government exists not so much “to promote the general welfare”, but rather as “the tax collector for the welfare state,” as media critics once dubbed the late-1970’s Democratic Party. In Massachusetts, Governor Romney’s universal health care bill has led his successor, Deval Patrick, to raise taxes each year since his election, as costs have far outpaced projections. (Big surprise.)

Meanwhile, in Michigan, entire towns are being bulldozed into “parkland,” parks for nobody, as millions of residents have abandoned that union paradise, which made it impossible to lay anyone off but also impossible to grow a business. New Jersey? A parasitic government class raises taxes on the “rich” to offset new spending and obscene government pensions, oblivious to the fact that thousands of wealthy residents have moved out of state. (Recent reports from Maryland indicate the same happened there after a “tax the rich” bonanza in that state.)

The point to take away is that it sounds real nice to be super-cozy with unions and to give people free goodies like health care and ritzy pensions, but only until it all has to be paid for.

Anybody who can do math could have foretold these crises in advance, but the various governors caved to political expedience. So far, Governor Rell has not. If the Republicans in Hartford hold out with her, and can form a base to avoid overturning this veto, it will be a sign — a clear sign that somebody in Hartford has read the news reports from Sacramento and Albany and Boston and declared, “Not here.”

If no brakes are applied, all of these scenarios can soon come to pass in Connecticut, and if they do, we will become just another welfare state, with productive residents voting with their feet to tax havens like Florida, South Carolina and Arizona. It wasn’t just the invention of air conditioning that led to the growth of the Sun Belt. No, two more aspects were crucial — Right to Work laws and no income taxes. Hartford, please take note.

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24 responses to “ON THE PRECIPICE

  1. AndersonScooper

    Vincent, please don’t jump.

    And what’s with the ALL-CAPS HEADLINE?

    I hope you’re not trying to turn CTLP into the NEW YORK POST.

  2. I’m back from a week in Cape Cod.

    You should have seen it while Barnstable County remained the last Republican county in the Commonwealth.

    Hyannis prior to the passage of some welfare reform in 1967 (Which encouraged recipients to move there; after all why be on welfare in Boston when you can be on the Cape instead?) was a leave the keys in your car town even during tourist season.

    Now one has to go beyond the Orleans Rotary just to get to the nicer parts of the Cape, and even there the riff-raff shows up occasionally.
    Just last year for example I saw a car with a Yankees bumper sticker!
    That’s **never** a good sign.

  3. Touche on the Yankees, ACR. And no, I will not jump. Unless we close down our business and jump to South Carolina.

  4. Bruce Rubenstein

    Vincent…welcome back from vacation.

    Your postulating about our Connecticut blue state values will fall on deaf ears. We( blue staters…liberals…moderates) won the Presdency and majorities in the legislature in Connecticut because a majority of residents like our blue state values. I frankly don’t forsee a change into some type of red state that you would like in the foreseeable future,nor would I want to see our blue state like some western red state. You can either learn to adjust to us..or move to a better political climate for yourself.

  5. A lot will happen between now and implementation of state health care.

    It’s a first step but it won’t be meaningful until after the next elections when the 2011 legislature debates funding and implementation and reconciles a CT plan with Federal plans.

    I’d postpone any Red State/Blue State arguments until then.

    CT is moderately liberal.

  6. Dear Bruce:

    Thanks for weighing in. No question, Connecticut is a blue state, and I knew that before I came here. I have no quarrel with that – we live in the Northeast. What is up for grabs is the difference between living within our means — look at New Hampshire or Maine or Minnesota — or rather becoming a welfare state, which is what the states I mention have become. A welfare state is by its nature a place that productive households leave. End of story. And if the productive people leave, you have merely the very rich and the poor (imagine the Upper East Side and Bed-Stuy), and very little in between. Or should I say, imagine Westport and Bridgeport. We are almost there,and one small step more into welfare-land will literally (look at California or New Jersey) bankrupt this state. I’m not wishing for it, or for any change. I’m just reporting, Bruce. Do you want to live in a state like that?

  7. If no brakes are applied, all of these scenarios can soon come to pass in Connecticut, and if they do, we will become just another welfare state, with productive residents voting with their feet to tax havens like Florida, South Carolina and Arizona. It wasn’t just the invention of air conditioning that led to the growth of the Sun Belt. No, two more aspects were crucial — Right to Work laws and no income taxes. Hartford, please take note.

    South Carolina and Arizona both have income taxes with “progressive” rate structures. Of your three examples, only Florida does not have an income tax.

    South Carolina’s top income tax rate is 7%.

    Arizona’s top income tax rate is 4.54%.

    Both SC and AZ appear to have smaller personal and joint exemptions for income tax filers.

    All three states have sales taxes that are as high or higher than Connecticut’s.

    Arizona has higher sales tax rates than Connecticut. The AZ state sales tax is set at 5.6%, and each county assesses a surcharge of .5% to 1.125%. Additionally, cities in AZ can charge a sales tax on food of 1% to 4.25%.

    South Carolina’s sales tax is 6%. Counties assess a 1% to 2% surcharge.

    Florida’s sales tax is 6%. Counties assess a .5% to 1.5% surcharge.

    Something interesting I found looking at South Carolina’s website is that their property tax assesses primary residential property at a lower rate than non-residential property. Residential and private agricultural property is assessed at 4% of market value. Commercial property is assessed at 6%. Manufacturing and Utility property is assessed at 10.5%.

    Sources for the above data:

    South Carolina

    Arizona

    Florida

    As far as individual taxpayers are concerned, SC and AZ definitely appear to be worse places to pay income and sales taxes than CT.

    As for the rest of your rhetoric about how those nasty, vile, union-loving, socialist, candy-ass Democrats in blue states have run up enormous state budget deficits with their free-spending ways, here’s a link to an interesting chart comparing state budget deficits around the country.

    Let’s take a look at a few projected FY 2010 examples from some states:

    Florida: $5.9 billion, or 22.8% of the state budget.
    Arizona: $4.0 billion, or 41.1% of the state budget.

    South Carolina: $725 million, or 12.5% of the state budget.

    Hmmmm…. Seems like state budgets in your “havens” are not looking so great.

    How about some other flag waving, God fearing, apple pie eating, red state budget deficits?

    Alabama: $1.2 billion, or 16.7% of the state budget.

    Alaska: $1.3 billion, or 30% of the state budget.

    Georgia: $3.9 billion, or 22.3% of the state budget.

    Kansas: $1.4 billion, or 22.6% of the state budget.

    For the most part, they aren’t doing much better than the liberal scum running our little state here in Connecticut where the projected FY2010 deficit of $4.1 billion is around 23.2% of the state budget.

    Guess what? Whether you’re red, blue, liberal or conservative, times are tough all over.

  8. CT ranks third for state and local taxes on a per capita basis.

    That includes sales, income, gas, sin, personal property, and real property taxes.

    We aren’t under taxed but we haven’t found a way to streamline state government and prioritize. Are we going to raise taxes each recession without looking at state government ‘bloat’?

    If we get to 7.5% sales tax and a 7.5% income tax we will lead the nation in per capita taxation. If that includes universal Health care OK. If it doesn’t then we are doing something wrong that we can’t sustain.

  9. CT ranks third for state and local taxes on a per capita basis.

    I assume you are referring to total dollars paid in state and local taxes on a per capita basis. If you are referring to the net tax rate per capita, then I’m pretty sure you are very mistaken.

    Since, according to the census bureau, Connecticut ranks #1 for income on a per capita basis, then it stands to reason that we’d rank near the top in total tax dollars paid per capita. In fact, since we don’t rank number 1, then it also stands to reason that our per capita tax rate is lower, likely significantly lower, compared to other states.

    I do agree with you that the correct method of computing “tax burden” on individual taxpayers is to combine the net income, sales, property and “sin” taxes levied state to state. Too often, so-called “fiscal conservatives” in this state conveniently manage to exclude one or more of these when discussing relative tax burdens. Where we appear to disagree is on the method of comparison. You appear to be comparing total dollars paid in taxes. I believe that computing taxes paid as a percentage of income is a more honest method of computing individual tax “burden.”

    PS – This is the link to data comparing state budget deficits I tried to include in my original comment. It doesn’t appear to have worked the first go around.

  10. I assume you are referring to total dollars paid in state and local taxes on a per capita basis. If you are referring to the net tax rate per capita, then I’m pretty sure you are very mistaken.

    Decade in, decade out. If the rate sounds high, yell about the rate. If the total dollar amount sounds high, yell about the number of dollars. Compare average taxes to median incomes. Add up all the taxes when you need a high number to show off, but act like only income taxes matter when you want to make millionaires seem persecuted.

    Not only is it dishonest, but this conservative game has crippled tax policy and made our politics more stupid than they’d ever hoped.

  11. I do agree with you that the correct method of computing “tax burden” on individual taxpayers is to combine the net income, sales, property and “sin” taxes levied state to state. Too often, so-called “fiscal conservatives” in this state conveniently manage to exclude one or more of these when discussing relative tax burdens. Where we appear to disagree is on the method of comparison. You appear to be comparing total dollars paid in taxes. I believe that computing taxes paid as a percentage of income is a more honest method of computing individual tax “burden.”

    We have averaged between 10th and 12th on tax burden as a percentage of Per Capita Income. We’ve held down 3rd in raw dollars per capita for over a decade.

    This brings me back to my original point. A 7.5% Income Tax and 7.5% Sales Tax would put us at number one by both per capita measurements when considering total state and local tax burden.

    If we have SustiNet or other as part of tha tax burden fine.

    If not we are doing something wrong and need to get a handle on government bloat and prioritize.

  12. VINCENT,
    GOTTA LOVE THE RADICAL LEFT.
    IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH THEIR POSITION, THEY TELL YOU TO MOVE AWAY. WHAT A GROWN UP THING TO SAY. BUT WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT FROM AN AMBULANCE CHASING LAWYER?

    ALSO GOTTA LOVE ARCHIVED INTERNET RAMBLES BY RUBENSTEIN..
    http://antiauthoritarian.net/NLN/?p=16

  13. If we compare the success of right to work states in attracting major industry (think of BMW, Mercedes, Honda, etc.) compared to the North, I think we will get a fair understanding of what I am discussing here.

    Deficits this year are beside the point — the recession hurt every state. You have to look at spending per capita over time.

    Third, and this is most crucial – if we are to believe that SC or AZ have higher overall tax burdens than CT, then I have a few bridges I’d like to sell.

    CT is third overall in tax burden. Those states are far lower. You can dice the data any way you like, but that is the truth.

  14. Deficits this year are beside the point — the recession hurt every state. You have to look at spending per capita over time.

    Okay. I must have been misled by the amount of space you devoted to rhetoric about state budget deficits in your original post.

    In that case, let’s take a look at state and local spending, shall we?

    According to the Tax Foundation, in 2006 (the only year for which they appear to have published data) Connecticut ranked 9th in the nation for total state and local per capita spending at $9,023. Also according to the Tax Foundation, Connecticut’s 2006 per capita income was $57,436. In the US as a whole, per capita spending was $8,433 and income was $40,643. South Carolina’s spending was $7,975 and income was $32,948. Arizona had spending of $7,058 and income of $36,585.

    Let’s express that data as percentages:

    Connecticut’s per capita income in 2006 was 15.7% of per capita state and local spending. South Carolina’s 2006 per capita income was 24.2% of spending. Arizona’s per capita income was 19.3% of spending. For the nation as a whole, per capita income was 20.7% of state and local spending.

    Therefore, it appears that, at least by this analysis of the data done by the Tax Foundation, Connecticut’s per capita state and local spending, relative to per capita income, is significantly lower than spending by other states.

    Third, and this is most crucial – if we are to believe that SC or AZ have higher overall tax burdens than CT, then I have a few bridges I’d like to sell.

    CT is third overall in tax burden. Those states are far lower. You can dice the data any way you like, but that is the truth.

    My comments referenced specific data on taxes paid by individual taxpayers in these states. According to the data from those state websites, it appears that income and sales tax rates in SC and AZ are comparable to, or higher than, Connecticut. Comparative property tax rates are admittedly not as readily available since they vary from locality to locality. However, I assume that Connecticut’s property tax burden is higher, probably significantly higher, than either SC or AZ..

    The Tax Foundation does do some decent, if biased, data collection on this topic. When they add up the numbers, Connecticut fares worse than either SC or AZ. However, they “play” with the numbers quite a bit, and their definitions of “state and local taxes paid” by individuals, as well as “income” tends to introduce a lot of bias into the data and their conclusions.

    I chose to use Tax Foundation data since that is usually the source for claims such as yours that “Connecticut is third overall for tax burden.” Unfortunately, their methodology for measuring this, in addition to using somewhat questionable definitions, explicitly does not define “tax burden” as “taxes paid to the state and locality in which an individual resides.” Rather, they attempt to count taxes paid to other states as well. (Such as sales taxes paid by vacationers, property taxes on vacation homes, income taxes paid by people who live in one state but work in another, etc.) Therefore, their ranking is clearly inappropriate to hold up as “proof” of a high state and local “tax burden” imposed by Connecticut on its residents.

    Sources for data used in this comment:

    1
    2
    3

  15. This article is seriously lacking in critical analysis. One of your major points is the well worn line of “unions caused Michigans problems” however if you were paying attention the Big Three went on hyper-leveraged buying sprees and stock manipulation that did more damage to their bottom line and debt load than employee pension plan ever could in literally hundreds of years. To blame the unions (while not completely innocent) for the mess created is to completely absolve upper management of just silly business decisions; one example of this repeated excersise was Ford’s failed takeover of Jaguar (which it then sold pennies on the dollar to steel giant Tata) and of the dozens of hostile takeovers that GM enaged in. All the while the market was changing, and their competitors invested heavily to flex manufacturing in America to lessen the degree of overhead: on ABC during the bailout talks it highlighted the much more pressing (however not as dramatic) problem of current Auto Manufacturing in the US which was that the Foriegn companies could change a product assembly line in a few hours whereas it would take the Big Three months. Detroit leveraged against their companies to try to catapualt them into international markets, the other companies invested in production. That had been cited as the real burden of the industry in Michigan, the Union issue is just a pride issue and pipe-dream of upper management that ignores all other problems and thinks the magic lies in crushing its’ workers.

    As for New York, you say you’re from there however a huge issue there is pork, but hardly the way you think of it. Boondoggle expensive gimmes and projects as sheer busy work in the north of the state (all types of areas: urban, suburban, rural) contributed greatly to the catastrophic issues there. Their welfare problem is a problem, but let’s be honest really.

    California is in their trouble because of the need for a super-majority vote and ballot initiatives. They cut their state spending on social welfare programmes two decades ago to near nothing and STILL face repeated and constant budgetary crisises. There’s a lot a miss there that an entire library couldn’t begin to focus on.

    As for Maryland, it seems the problem is not so much their increase on sales tax, but rather their 30% pull of estate taxes that are driving out the rich to set up “permament residences” in low tax states while still actually living in Maryland itself.

    I can’t speak for New Jersey or Minn because I am completely ignorant to their budgetary issues or economies. ..::shrugs::.. I guess you get a free ride on that one from me.

    Let’s now talk about those “low tax” states honestly. They seem like lovely places, but do you see the hypocrisy of condemning what you are essentially refering to as “parasites” in society (in your mind government employees and welfare recipients) and but exhaulting them in state governments? For the states you list, they get more assistance from the Federal government which offsets the cost to their own residences for quality of life and infastructure spending. Many of these states recieve close to what they give the national government in terms of Federal spending a lot of that spending can be broken down to a few major segments: defense spending (Connecticut gets a lot of this, but not much in the way of the juciest cash cow of expansive military bases), Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement, the park system (including funding reservations), and of course paying for capital projects. North Carolina gets around $1.10 back from the federal government to every dollar its’ residents give, Florida gets around $1.02:$1 given, however Nevada gets less back than those two (at $.73:$1) it is still more than Connecticut’s paltry $.66:$1 or New Jersey’s $.55:$1. While this is why we are in a union (to help eachother out) to claim that those states are bastions of self-reliance and good government spending looks silly. What if Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York took the economic steps these states did… would those states be able to operate as they are?

    Then theres the question of do these states have tax structures we do not? Do these states have excise taxes on natural resource extraction? Do they have higher corporation fees?

    As well, Connecticut along with most of New England, has a more frugal and efficient form of state government than most other states in the Union. We had the 3rd lowest cost of government vis-a-vis our GSP at around 7.3%. For number of employees to population we are around 33rd highest. (http://cteconomy.uconn.edu/Current_Issue/DH_Su2009.pdf)

    The problem is that people focus on the quick facts, and while those are important indicators they are not the full story. Yes, Connecticut’s “job growth” over the last decade has not matched national averages. But Connecticut has seen population increases in all three of its’ major metro areas, low unemployment, high mode of PPP, and high mode productivity rates. What does this mean? Essentially it’s possible that while Connecticut has not benefited greatly from the number of jobs increasing, the types of jobs have been better. This causes it’s own problems (income gaps perhaps but I’m not too sure), but since there has been historically low unemployment (still better than much of the country despite this downturn) perhaps we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Connecticut does have problems though: lack of good space to expand or start heavy or light industrial (one reason new industry is not cropping up is because to redevelope brownfields to good order is cost prohibitive), up to recently a lack of proper office space, urban and rural poverty issues, and a chronic shortfall to fund capital projects. As well, Connecticut suffers an image issue. Tax problems in the Nutmeg State are not the driving force of economics. They might one day be, but right now there’s more on the plate.

    ~Cheers

  16. Grumpy.

    I pulled some of my data from the same source you did.

    I used the tables marked “Tax Burden” to establish Tax Burden.

    Why you chose spending per capita and then started calling it tax burden is beyond me.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/336.html

    The data starts in 1977 and goes to 2008. It affirms that CT’s tax burden is indeed 3rd in the country if you look at the last decade.

  17. The spending figures also include new bonding which is another topic entirely–state debt per capita overall not just for one fiscal year.

  18. Overall state debt per capita places CT 4th as of 2007 when measured as a % of domestic product.

    Growing states with low debt ratios are in a better position to bond for new infrastructure.

    Again from the Tax foundation.

    http://74.6.239.67/search/cache?ei=UTF-8&p=state+debt+per+capita&u=www.taxfoundation.org/files/state%26local_debt_percentagegdp-fy07-20090205.pdf&w=state+states+debt+debts+per+capita&d=FAn8uRlMTJiL&icp=1&.intl=us

  19. Goat Boy, great data. I have more figures for all of you doubters later today, busy all am.

  20. Hi all:

    Goat Boy’s data is very persuasive, obviously, but here are two more rankings that show our state to be in at least the upper 1/5th of states in taxation rates.

    This one has us third, in taxation per capita:

    http://www.statemaster.com/graph/eco_tot_tax_bur-total-tax-burden-per-capita

    This one has CT 9th, as a per cent of income:

    http://www.e50plus.com/public/203.cfm

    Now, one more thing. It seems to me a state that shows economic promise and vitality will attract new people, and dying states will send them running.

    Look at this data from the Census:

    http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/state-to-state.html

    Then, click on the Excel file for Domestic Migration Flows (tables).

    You will see the 5 states I mentioned — CA, NY NJ, MI, and MA — all have significant outflows. Indeed, in one year, 2007, more people left NY and CA combined than live in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Stamford. (508,251 to 501,439.) Imagine, in one year, the populations of all 4 cities disappearing.

    But that is what happens when a state’s economic policies kill off growth. Meanwhile, low-tax or no-tax states like FL, SC, AZ, and DE all showed net-inmigration. I think all this data points to a corrolation between high taxation and economic difficulty — my initial point exactly.

    I think it also shows that high taxes lead to outmigration of high-earners. This was disputed in today’s Quinnipiac poll by a majority of respondents. I will attend to that later this evening.

  21. But again, you may be focusing on a growth clip for both population and economic activity rather than the health and vitality of the already existing institutions and corporations; along with living in last year’s dreamscape of economic status. First point, the TYPE of growth industries is important and being heavily intwinded in real estate (and construction) and national retail with a smattering of other industries is hardly a sustainable economic plan and a dangerous one for the communities that adopt it. Which brings us to the second point of that these “tax havens” you are talking about are in as much short term problems with their budgets as CT and neighbours, and much deeper problems long term if they examine their economic prospects as most of their get big quick strategies have failed catastrophically (which happens to governments, it’s alright). Not saying that all their ideas are worthless and none are worth emulating, but the main theme of their developement was a bit too unrealistic.

    Again CT, CA, NJ, NY, MA, and MI are powerhouses of the US economy. Our payroll and income taxes got spread to those states you mentioned that lifted the burden on them. CT has a GSP that rivals states of many millions of residents more, and has the 2nd or 3rd highest per-capita productivity quoitent (whether that is an average or mode I’m actually not too sure). So a few questions are present I see: a) if taxes really mattered that much shouldn’t CT see a lower GSP than states with a more favourable tax structure for the rich? b) is the reason why we’re so productive lie in investment in ourselves? c) if we emulated those other states, would we see a drop in contributable funds to the federal coffers, and thus an inability for those states with a low or no tax burden to operate as they currently do?

    Another question is WHO actually is leaving these states, because it might not be the rich in general: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/jtf/JTF_LeavingCAJTF.pdf

    Which if this is true the question could be why those people are leaving. I propose other cost-of-living expenses may be a driving force (especially housing costs for here in humble Connecticut).

    Also, you talk about 500,000 people exiting stage left from CA and NY however forget to mention that these are two of the biggest states of the Union popualation and area wise: about 50,000,000 people you are talking about for simplicities sake or about 1% of the combined total. An issue surely, but more realistic than you’re take on it.

    As for your email that you tried to show me how the union dominated fields are flailing. Of course you also forget to mention that these last two decades have seen the weakest Unions in generations, which speaks more to the possibility of Unions actually being good for these industries ..::gasp::..

    Government and Education – these are interesting bits, however I don’t see your point. Many Governments increased employment and many still offer fairly decent packages for civil servants. Same with school systems, especially here in Connecticut.

    Hospitals – again I don’t see your point. Please explain how they have suffered. I am just not too sure about this topic and would like to know more.

    Airlines – same thing, I’m not so sure Union problems caused the failure of airlines, but perhaps 9/11 which did considerable damage to the industry. But I’m not too sure, if you can explain in detail where this industry actually suffered from Union deals please bring it foward.

    Autos – sure, you could blame the unions. Because it was them that lost business focus for 20 years trying to increase “market share” as much as possible and forgot that you would have to sell cars in those markets to pay for the intense ammount of overhead they were producing to corner that market share and look good to investors. Oh wait, that was management, the Unions did their job and the higher ups were playing games. I can see how it was the workers fault for not taking control though.

    Manufacturing – one thing about manufacturing in America, and especially in Connecticut, is that it is still alive and well (or at least was up to the recession). What has changed though is it’s status of a mass employer which a combination of globalisation, discontinuation of obsolete products, and technical advances (mostly the obsolesence and technical advances though, offshoring seems to get the press but may not be the culprit) caused a contraction of industry employment. However, the output in terms of dollars has only dipped slightly, and may even have room to grow next business cycle.

    Hope this cleared things up.

    ~Paz

  22. Paz, if manufacturing in CT and America is “alive and well,” do yourself a favor and fly over Lansing, MI, Syracuse or Rochester, NY, or the old gun and GE factories in Bridgeport. I beg to differ, as does all the evidence.

  23. Vincent,

    Manufacturing still takes up a significant portion of our GDP and GSP, in both raw numbers and ratio of economic activity. What has changed is it’s status as the mass employer in America, each worker now is more productive than they used to be because of advances in automation. This actually happens every generation or so, technology out paces demand temporarily and there is then a surge of manufacturing job losses, but then demand matches (or demand changes direction altogether) output again a few years later and it returns in strength as a job source. What becomes important is more specific and advanced training.

    Funny you bring up Bridgeport (my fair city), because there actually is shockingly a shortage of good industrial space. Funny to believe I know but hear me out. To fix up the already trashed facilities that currently inhabit the city to make them productive work spaces (and up to code) is astronomical. Other people trashed the place and now it’s really worthless space. But the fact remains, Industry still has a major foothold in BPT. I worked in one of those factories where they produced high quality but labour intensive items, which is the general trend of the industry at this point and time with overhead-intensive products are being out done by more flexible production methods.

    ~Cheers

  24. Beeker,

    Smartest/best posts I’ve read on our economy in, like, forever. Please keep writing!

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