Gov. Lamont’s new executive order — imposing stiff fines on struggling state residents for non-compliance with his onerous restrictions on social gatherings — is tantamount to punishing Connecticut’s people for success. It’s unfortunate that, rather than encouraging and supporting people during one of the hardest years they have faced perhaps in their lifetimes, Connecticut’s governor has decided to clamp down on them even harder.
In Connecticut, 64 people are currently hospitalized for coronavirus in a state of 3.6 million. Even as Gov. Lamont touts our state’s record of “flattening the curve” of hospitalizations, he has continued to impose (and even tighten) restrictions on people and businesses without offering any rationale based on scientific data. Despite Connecticut meeting the standards for reopening that he and his administration set, without explanation, the governor has repeatedly delayed continuing with his own reopening plan. Now, the first guarantee backed by hard numbers that our leaders have offered the people is the amount of fines that will be extracted from them. But when the governor ignores his own metrics for reopening, is it any wonder that some might ignore his ongoing restrictions – especially when they seem to bear little relationship to conditions on the ground?
In dark and difficult times, it is only humane and fair for government to provide as much certainty as it possibly can. If the plan for lifting restrictions is actually to wait until there is a vaccine, then the governor should simply say so. Otherwise, he is needlessly creating more uncertainty, fear and economic hardship for no discernible reason whatsoever – and adding to the perception that Connecticut’s government is hopelessly out-of-touch with those who lack the good fortune to collect a state paycheck.
This is not the way to instill confidence in the future, or signal to Connecticut residents that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our state’s people have worked hard to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. They should be applauded, not punished. And consistent with the best science available and their own good common sense, they should be free to earn a living and to live their lives — not fined by a detached, arbitrary and hypocritical government.
Statement attributable to Carol Platt Liebau, President of Yankee Institute for Public Policy