In the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, both Barack Obama (2009 to 2017) and Donald Trump (2017 to present) led one of the longest economic recoveries in history. Unfortunately, this recovery was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. There has been much debate about who deserves credit, but both Presidents deserve some credit for this consistent growth prior to the pandemic and both bear some responsibility for the unprecedented growth in federal deficits generated in fueling this growth.
During the period of sustained economic growth from 2009 to 2019, the nation’s personal income levels grew annually by an average rate of nearly 2.2%. During this same period of time, Connecticut’s personal income levels grew by slightly more than .7% annually or approximately a third of the national growth rate. The Connecticut personal income growth rate was the lowest in the country (50th). If the personal income levels of our residents had grown at the national average over the aforementioned period of time, incomes would be approximately 16% higher at the end of the period. If Connecticut feels less affordable than it did a decade ago, this is one of the reasons why.
Other indicators such as employment growth and real gross state product during this same period were close to the worst in the country as well. Connecticut simply did not share in the robust economic growth of the rest of the nation. Of course, this is the result of our state’s overspending, crushing debt, high taxes, unfriendly business policies and misguided public policy. We simply cannot afford another decade of these harmful policies that have been implemented through “one party” domination of Connecticut.
In a post-COVID-19 environment, we all should hope for another period of economic growth regardless of who is elected President in the November election. If we have learned anything in the past decade though, Connecticut’s one party-controlled state legislature has proven to be inept regardless of which party occupies the White House. As residents of Connecticut, we shouldn’t expect different results if we continue to elect the same party to majority rule of our state.
Before it is too late, Connecticut needs to reduce wasteful spending, eliminate fraud and abuse, solve our crushing health care costs, do away with crippling regulations and stop the seemingly never-ending pandering to special interests. We must also strategically reduce taxes wherever and whenever possible in harmony with getting our long-term debt burden under control. This is not an impossible task if we elect the right individuals. There are numerous historical examples of states that have reversed course and gotten their state economies back on track. It won’t happen overnight but the alternative is another decade of failure like the last one and no one can afford this regardless of what political party one traditionally supports.
Editors Note: Dan DeBarba is the Republican Party and Independent Party endorsed candidate for the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 114th district.