To the Editor:
Proposed bills being raised in Hartford by majority lawmakers continue to undermine the very underpinnings and essence of America’s greatness. There are several clear themes this session that hold the hallmarks of both Marxist and socialist ideologies.
Your individual property rights and your ability to voluntarily enter private contracts with other adult free citizens are on the chopping block. As the ranking member of both the legislature’s Housing Committee and Labor and Public Employees Committee, I am working daily to prevent a flood of these measures from reaching the Senate floor and becoming law.
Nearly all of us have entered into a rental agreement at some point in our lives. Such agreements are entered into voluntarily and can be negotiated by the parties. The free market sets the value of property, and everyone works to get the best deal they can from their perspective. This is how our country has always worked. Far-left ideas like price controls have been tried in the past and repeatedly failed, and America has thankfully all but abandoned price controls – until now. The concept of “rent control” is now a daily conversation in committee discussions.
Economists across the political spectrum agree that rent control—creating government-imposed caps on what a property owner may charge—will result in fewer housing opportunities for Connecticut families. Housing providers will look for ways to avoid or navigate around artificial market restrictions and will ultimately navigate themselves right out of the state, or simply allow existing units to deteriorate instead of investing in them. Fewer people will invest in providing housing, demand will rise and without the ability to raise prices, the only housing left will be government housing – which may, in fact, be the goal. There are other bills too – to ignore local zoning and empower big city housing authorities to expand into small towns. The future of quality, affordable housing is in grave danger as long as big-government central planners are in charge.
It has now become common for our state government to step into private contracts to unlevel the playing field in favor of one party over another. While this is often depicted as the government ‘sticking up for the little guy’ – by favoring a renter or an employee or other “group,” it is ultimately the renter or employee who suffers most. Providers and job creators are disincentivized to invest in their existing property or businesses that would create new opportunities, ultimately hurting our economy and limiting outcomes.
The engine that drives America and has resulted in our unsurpassed quality of life is the individual freedom to pursue a better future. As the government grows and interferes in our choices, so does our chance for success.
Consider the following measures. Government mandates on employers to: prevent on-call shift scheduling – even in businesses that operate that way naturally; require employers to pay for the benefits of striking employees; provide unemployment to striking workers; prevent exclusivity and non-compete agreements in contracts that benefit both parties; even preventing employers from offering job training and education in exchange for requiring the employee to stay on the job for a period of time.
Here again, these concepts have the appearance of the government ‘standing up’ for the employee against the unfair employer. Appearances can be deceiving. Measures such as these undermine our freedom to make our way, negotiate our own terms, and they ultimately destroy opportunity.
It’s clear that these types of laws nurture division and strife between classes and even neighbors. It also doesn’t take much hard thinking to realize that any potential short-term benefit to one party will ultimately hurt everyone far more in the long run.
So why does it happen? Why are politicians so committed to these bad ideas?
The simple answer is political expedience. Dividing people into groups by race, gender, social class, etc., and choosing sides can generate lots and lots of votes, and all it takes is simple math to choose which side represents more voters.
Of course, this means sacrificing everything required to build a strong nation — cooperation, principles, borders, thoughtful policymaking — even peace!
The modern Democratic Party has recognized faction building as its business model, and clearly, it works for them in winning elections.
Of course, factions have always existed. That is natural and even key to recognizing the benefits of freedom. However, a key part of our system is that it was designed to prevent our government from interfering and empowering any specific groups through limiting the scope of government and building protections into our Constitution. Sadly, those limitations are now casually and commonly ignored.
Our system works best when employers and employees are partners and not adversaries. When the government gets in the position of being the decider of who wins and who loses, our freedoms are reduced, ambition is limited, and outcomes are diminished.
Worse, the far left has now graduated from exploiting existing divisions to creating new ones, all again for political gain. It’s distasteful, it’s dangerous, and it’s tearing at the fabric of our country.
Someone recently said, “This is not your father’s Democratic Party.” It’s true. JFK would hardly recognize the modern Democratic Party on economic views, let alone social issues. The last few moderate Democratic lawmakers in our state government were already on their way out just as I was first elected in 2010. Nowadays, elected Democrats at the state and federal level are more radical and progressive than ever.
This path of division and exploitation of ‘groups’ is destroying our country. We must all work together to restore our political system so it honors our values, our history, and the many who have sacrificed so much for us so we may live free.
I will continue to work hard while respecting all opinions, protecting freedom, civil rights, and a free-market economy where everyone can prosper. As always, you can find me at www.senatorsampson.com.
Sampson, a Republican, lives in Wolcott and represents Wolcott, Prospect, Southington, and Waterbury in the State Senate.