by David Flemming

In the Minimum Wage Study Committee’s hearing last week, Senator Ann Cummings (D-Washington) expressed a simple yet profound insight. As she was driving through New Hampshire, which uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25, she noted how “No one can get anyone to work for the federal minimum wage (in New Hampshire). Every McDonald’s was advertising $10 an hour…there are other factors going on (than just the minimum wage).”

Much of the debate surrounding the $15 minimum wage centers around the notion that employers will pay low-skill workers as little as law will let them, therefore government must act. However, as Senator Cumming’s anecdote from New Hampshire reveals, sometimes a government edict is completely unnecessary for raising wages. What employees really need is a vibrant economic environment that increases demand for their labor.

When labor is in short supply, employers must compete for workers by increasing what they are willing to pay employees. Otherwise, employees will leave employers like McDonald’s for better paying opportunities, resulting in short-staffed restaurants that are less profitable. It is in an employer’s self-interest to pay employees higher wages even if legally an employer could theoretically pay employees less.

Vermont politicians often assume that a government-employee alliance around the minimum wage is needed to counterbalance the market forces that will perpetually side with employers. As this story from New Hampshire shows however, market forces can just as often side with the employee. If Vermont fails to raise the minimum wage to $15 minimum wage, this will not doom employees to working for the legal minimum. Rather, it will allow employers and employees to gravitate toward a wage that is mutually beneficial and economically healthy.

This is important because there is, of course, another side to this coin. If employees (or the government on their behalf) demand more than the market will bear, an employer does not have to pay the employee anything. The real minimum wage is and always will be zero. Let’s hope that’s a lesson New Hampshire politicians don’t learn from driving through Vermont.

- David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute

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by Rob Roper

An article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal (behind a pay wall) shows evidence that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is driving, at least in part, the opioid epidemic that is ravaging the nation.

Under the ACA, states were encouraged, but not required, to expand Medicaid access to people with higher income levels in exchange for increased federal funding. Twenty-nine states took the deal; the rest did not. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, “overdose deaths per million residents rose twice as fast in the 29 Medicaid expansion states – those that increased eligibility to 138% of poverty from 100% of the poverty line –… between 2013 and 2015.” Vermont is, of course, one of the 29, and arguably the most enthusiastic.

This trend was geographically consistent as well. For example, deaths increased twice as much in New Hampshire, and expansion state, than they did in neighboring Maine, a non-expansion state. Similar comparisons exist between Virginia and Maryland and Ohio and Wisconsin.

Medicaid allows patients to obtain opiates at a very low cost (the article cites the example of 240 oxycodone pills for a $1 copay), which they can then turn around and sell for thousands of dollars on the street. A study by Express Scripts indicates that 25% of Medicaid recipients are prescribed opiates. Today, roughly one third of all Vermonters is now on some form of Medicaid.

Vermont got a head start on the rest of the nation, expanding Medicaid eligibility in October 2007 under the Catamount Health Plan. By 2014, then Governor Shumlin deemed it necessary to devote his entire state of the state speech to the crisis, and Politico labeled Vermont “America’s Heroin Capital.” Then we promptly expanded Medicaid again under the ACA.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) is quoted in the Journal article, “It appears that the program has created a perverse incentive for people to use opioids, sell them for large profits, and stay hooked.” Turns out our state’s addiction to federal tax dollars is fueling our citizens’ addiction to deadly drugs.

Back in June, Governor Scott sent out a press release stating, “Governor Scott remains concerned over the harmful impact this legislation [the bill to Repeal & Replace the ACA] could have on Vermonters, including provisions in the bill relating to the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” In light of this new information, perhaps now the administration and the legislature should consider the harm the Medicaid expansion has caused to our state.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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by John McClaughryJohn McClaughry

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are in full combat over the future of ObamaCare. Three of the key issues they’re debating are Medicaid expansion, the individual mandate, and the Cost Sharing Reduction.

Medicaid is a joint Federal-state program to provide essentially free health care to the poor. The Feds cover from 50 to 74% of the overall costs, the various States 26 to 50%. The ObamaCare Act forced all states to set increased income levels for Medicaid eligibility, at the pain of losing all Federal Medicaid funds. The Supreme Court held 7-2 that it was unconstitutional for the Federal government to force states to pay for their share of the increased Medicaid population by discontinuing all Federal support.

Ultimately 31 states agreed to expand Medicaid eligibility, in return for Federal payments of 100%, and then 90% after 2020, of the costs for the expanded population. Nineteen states rejected the offer. Republicans want to end the deal, which would leave the 31 states with millions of near-poor people no longer eligible for Medicaid.

Democrats won’t accept rolling back the Medicaid expansion. Republicans propose to help the affected population with expanded tax credits to purchase private insurance. The advantage of private insurance is that medical providers are increasingly unwilling to accept far below cost Medicaid-level payments for their services, leaving Medicaid patients with reduced access, fewer services, and longer waiting times.

The Medicaid part of the battle thus comes down to a hassle over the Federal subsidy, either to States for more Medicaid, or to patients through more tax credits. The other major part of the battle is more complex.

The second issue is ObamaCare’s provision to force healthy but often financially strapped younger people into insurance pools, where their premiums would be inflated to cover the much larger health care costs of their older, sicker parents and (under 65) grandparents.

This is the individual mandate, and an associated employer mandate to provide insurance for employees. In a nutshell, ObamaCare requires you to obtain government-specified health insurance, or pay a fine or a tax for the privilege of not buying it.

When House Democrats passed their ObamaCare bill in 2009 – without a single Republican vote – they based the mandate provisions on Congress’s power to levy taxes. The Democratic Senators, however, ran away from enforcing the mandate by a new tax on not having insurance. In its place, they crafted an individual mandate bill founded on Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, stretching that power to unheard of reach. The House was forced to accept the Senate version. Republicans rightly saw this mandate as a constitutional outrage.

So did four members of the Supreme Court. But Chief Justice Roberts took it upon himself to convert the commerce power mandate back into the House’s tax penalty that the Senate – and Obama himself – had explicitly rejected. It was upheld 5-4.

Republicans are united in their determination to extinguish the individual mandate. What happens if they do? According to the Congressional Budget Office, freed from the ObamaCare mandate/tax, fifteen million people would instantly stop buying health insurance. The Democrats describe this highly debatable outcome as being ‘kicked off’ your insurance. But as health expert Avik Roy has noted, “by definition, you haven’t been ‘kicked off’ your insurance if the reason you’re no longer buying it is that the government has stopped fining you.”

The third major issue in play is the “cost sharing reduction” (CSR). The ObamaCare law provided for Federal payments to health insurance companies to enable them to reduce the premiums on ObamaCare’s overpriced policies for lower income purchasers. But unlike the ObamaCare tax credits, which are in the tax law, CSR funds must be appropriated by Congress. The Republican Congress won’t do it, and Obama was driven to making the payments ($7 billion a year) out of funds appropriated for other purposes.

The House sued Obama for misappropriating the funds, and won in Federal District Court (the case is on appeal). Trump has continued making monthly CSR payments illegally, but threatens to stop. If the CSR payments disappear, the insurance companies will have to jack up premiums, which will drive lower income buyers out of the market, and the insurers with them.

It has long seemed pretty clear that without at least a massive overhaul, ObamaCare will collapse, slowly or rapidly. The obsessive question in Washington is, who can be made to take the blame for it: the Democrats who enacted this failing monstrosity, or the Republicans whose refusal to pour in more billions to prop it up, and whose inability to enact their preferred alternative due to united Democratic opposition, could be charged with consigning millions of Americans to no affordable health insurance?

One interesting test might be a short bill to strike a Medicaid expansion compromise, repeal the individual and employer mandates, and appropriate (and legalize) the CSR payments for two more years. I leave it to political junkies to play out the politics of such a proposal.

- John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org).

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by Rob Roper

It has been a long-time goal of the public school special interests to regulate Vermont independent schools that accept students (and taxpayer dollars) from tuitioning towns, and with luck, from the perspective of the public schoolers, driving them out of business. A summer study committee looking into such regulations met on Monday to explore the possibilities.IMG_0444

Technically, the most interesting insight came from legislative counsel, Jim DesMarais, who testified that there is no legal or constitutional right for students with disabilities to attend independent schools that take taxpayer dollars. However, Sen. Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden), who chairs the committee, declared DesMarais’ findings moot, and that the committee would proceed as if such a right does exist.

“We’re here to determine ‘how’, not ‘whether’” to regulate the independent schools, said Baruth. This is disappointing, though, in fairness, Baruth does seem genuinely interested in finding a compromise that preserves independent schools’ ability to exist.

Philosophically, the most interesting issue touched upon (but not specifically discussed) surrounds the mission of providing “appropriate” education. The guarantee is that every child receives a “Free, APPROPRIATE, Public Education.”

Independent schools are under criticism for being mission driven and, as such, showing a preference for students who “fit” with that mission. The accusation is that students who don’t “fit” are unfairly excluded. However, another way of defining the word “fit” is “appropriate.”

Independent schools have a process for determining whether or not the educational opportunities they offer are appropriate for each individual child’s learning needs. To admit a child who does not fit would, by definition, violate the principle of providing an appropriate education for that child. Kids are diverse, and one size does not work for all. What is appropriate for one child may not be for another. Independent schools recognize this fact and have mechanisms in place to make sure children are appropriately placed (or at least not inappropriately place in their institutions).

Public schools do not. It is simply assumed that a public school provides an appropriate learning environment. But is this really the case?

The standard for determining “appropriate,” according to Jo-Anne Unruh, executive director of the Vermont Council of Special Education Administrators, is the presence of a licensed teacher. This is not, however, a child-centered approach to determining “appropriate;” it is purely bureaucratic. It is also hard to reconcile the assumption that licensed teachers in public school are providing appropriate learning environments for all kids when so many Vermont students score below proficiency levels on standardized tests.

The public school bureaucracy whines that independent schools should play by the same rules they do. Perhaps public schools should be forced to adopt some of the policies of independent schools, such as a means of determining if an assigned public school is really an appropriate learning environment for each individual child, and, if not, making sure these kids gets the opportunity to go someplace that is appropriate. Someplace where they do, in fact, “fit.”

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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by John McClaughry

In light of the accelerating disaster in Venezuela, here’s an interesting news item.

Elisabeth Burgos is the Venezuelan ex-wife of the French Marxist Regis Debray. She joined the Fidel Castro cause as a young woman, and worked for its ideals on the South American continent. She eventually broke free of the intellectual bonds of communism and has lived in Paris for many years.

In a recent telephone interview—posted on the Venezuelan website Prodavinci—she warned of the risks of the “Cuban project” for the region. “Wherever the Cubans have been, everything ends in tragedy,” she told Venezuelan journalist Hugo Prieto. “Surely we have no idea what forces we face,” Mr. Prieto observed—because, as she said, there is “a lot of naiveté, a lot of ignorance, about the apparatus that has fallen on [Venezuelans]: Castroism.”

Mary Anastasia O’Grady, the veteran Latin American reporter for the Wall Street Journal, tells how Raul Castro’s Cuba has taken over the security forces in Venezuela and is busily setting up a full blown communist police state, in part to protect the narcotics trade that passes through there and Cuba.

But here’s socialist Bernie Sanders on Venezuela, in 2011: “These days, the American Dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina.” Alluding to the Obama-led United States, Bernie added “Who’s the banana republic now?” Wake up Bernie. Castro and Marxism are cancers, not blessings.

- John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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by David Flemming

If some legislators get their way, Vermont will adopt a $15 minimum wage as soon as January 1, 2019.

The six Vermont legislators comprising the Minimum Wage Study Committee met for the first time on Thursday to research and discuss the potential impacts of such a policy. The Committee will meet four more times before December 1, and will make a recommendation when the full legislature returns in January.

Raising the state minimum wage seems like a simple concept. However, it soon became clear that actually doing so would have serious consequences.

Bennington County Representative Brian Keefe (R-Manchester) worried that a standard minimum wage covering the entire state would cause more unemployment in low income areas than in those areas that can afford to pay higher incomes. For example, Bennington County’s Median Household Income is below $50,000 while Chittenden County’s is over $63,000.

Then again, constructing a minimum wage that allowed for geographical flexibility has its own problems. Legislative Counsel Damien Leonard explained how New York’s uses a stratified minimum wage that varies based on industry, area of the state, and number of employees. As a result, New York has 21 different calculations for the minimum wage. This led Representative Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) to exclaim, “I don’t know how anyone does business there!”

So, a uniform minimum wage in Vermont might cause the most unemployment in the areas with the lowest incomes. On the other hand, a minimum wage that attempts to be flexible enough to consider industry, geography, and size of company could create uncertainty in the business community and potential legal problems for businesses that have no idea which minimum wage applies to them.

The Legislature’s Economist Tom Kavet noted the difficulty in calculating the macroeconomic impact of a historically higher minimum wage on Vermont: “$15 is outside the range of what has been studied or experienced elsewhere.” Kavet expressed his wish for “better data collection,” especially in regards to “hours worked per employee.” Without more detailed data, if employers compensated for higher labors costs by cutting back all employees’ hours instead of letting some employees go, Vermont’s job totals would look exactly as they had before the minimum wage increase – although workers would certainly be negatively impacted in either case.

But Vermont does not collect “hours worked” data (only four states do), so it will be difficult to judge the real impact of an increased minimum wage.

Armed with ‘hours worked’ data, Vermont could better understand the impact of the higher wage and, hypothetically, slow down or stop increases if employers began to cut back on hours. But collecting new data presents problems as well. Not only would employers be paying higher costs for employee labor, they would also have to pay the cost of collecting and reporting the employee hours information to the state. Call it adding insult to injury – or task to tax.

No matter how you cut it, a $15 minimum wage will make it more difficult and expensive for employers to hire workers. Beyond that basic unpleasantness, it is clear from the first day of debate that the unforeseen and unintended consequences of mandating such a policy will be significant.

The Minimum Wage Study Committee: Sen. Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden), Chair, Rep. Helen Head (D-South Burlington), Vice Chair. Members: Rep. Brian Keefe (R-Manchester), Rep. Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington), Sen. Brian Collamore (R-Rutland), and Sen. Ann Cummings (D-Washington)

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute

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by Rob Roper

Last year Philadelphia implemented a tax on soda with the ostensible intention of “nudging” its residents into making healthier drink choices and, really, to pocket some extra revenue to pay for programs such as pre-kindergarten. The Tax Foundation reports that it has been a failure on all counts.

The Philly plan places an excise tax of 1.5¢ per ounce on soda, sugary and diet. To put this in some perspective, a normally 99¢ 20 ounce bottle of soda costs a $1.29 (30¢ extra), a six pack of 12 oz. sodas costs an extra $1.08, and a two liter bottle costs an extra $1.02.

Not surprisingly, “According to some local distributors and retailers, sales have declined by nearly 50 percent.” As a result, “local branches of Coca-Cola report a workforce downsizing of 40 positions and PepsiCo reports laying off 80-100 workers as a result of decreased soda sales from the tax.” And, the city is not meeting the revenue projections for the tax, putting the programs the tax is supposed to support in jeopardy.

All this does not mean citizens are making healthier choices. Much of the decline in sales in the city are suspected to be the result of consumers simply purchasing their soda somewhere else — and, as noted, buying other groceries elsewhere as well. This creates a ripple-effect drag on local businesses.

Further impacting the health implications of the policy, the report notes that the tax in many instances makes soda more expensive than beer, incentivizing consumers to switch from non-alcoholic to alcoholic choices.

Vermonters should take note. The Vermont legislature considered a similar tax in 2015 and 2016, and H.214 – An act relating to the imposition of an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, is still alive and under consideration in the current 2017-18 legislative session. This bill proposes a 2¢ excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages, a levy 25% higher than the Philadelphia tax. New Hampshire can’t wait!

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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by John McClaughry

Four years ago President Obama exempted Congressional members and staff from the Obamacare health insurance exchanges. Under a subsection of the Affordable Care Act, the Democrats – not a single Republican voted for the bill – voted themselves out of its own employer-sponsored Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

The provision required members and House and Senate staff to enroll in the new health insurance exchanges created for other Americans under the law.

But in 2013 the Obama Office of Personnel Management decided to treat the 535 lawmakers and their more than 13,000 staffers as if they were a small business employing fewer than 50 workers. Then they would be exempt from the DC Exchange and relocated to the more advantageous exchange for small businesses. In 2015 a Federal judge rejected a challenge to this by Judicial Watch, citing vagueness in the statute, but a week ago Trump tweeted that he could take away the exemption.

Let’s dial back four decades here. Freshman Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont made a huge splash in Vermont media by declaring to much applause that members of Congress should live under the same rules as the people who are paying them.

Funny thing, I haven’t heard senior senator Patrick Leahy standing firm for this principle lately – in fact, not for over thirty years. Perhaps his 42 years on the Congressional payroll has changed his mind. Maybe we need a new champion to resurrect Leahy’s abandoned principle.

- John McClaughry is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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by Chris Campion

Brooklyn’s own Bernie Sanders (Vermont Senator but really a flatlander with 3 houses, which really, really makes him a flatlander)

What an enormous favor Bernie’s doing for Americans!  Why didn’t anyone think of this before?  A truly brilliant analysis and solution provided by a US Senator who didn’t receive his first paycheck until he was 40 years old!has let slip the dogs of….single-payer?  Not that this is any surprise, but Bernie has stated that he will be introducing a single-payer bill, which he describes as “Medicare for All”.

What sort of delights will US citizens receive when Bernie puts us all on Medicare?  Let’s take a look:

Medicare Part A will go bankrupt in 13 years.

Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) or “Part A” Trust Fund ran a cash flow deficit of $8.1 billion in 2014. Expenditures from the Part A trust fund exceeded annual income every year between 2008 and 2014. The Medicare Trustees estimate that the Part A trust fund will generate surpluses between 2015 and 2023 due to recently enacted legislation and an assumed continuation of the economic recovery. Specifically, the Medicare Part A trust fund income is expected to exceed expenditures by about $2 billion in 2015. This surplus continues for the next 8 years – through 2023. Deficits are projected to return in 2024 and will continue until the Part A trust fund is officially bankrupt in 2030, at which time the Medicare program will no longer be able to pay full benefits for seniors.

Medicare Part B will consume a quarter of all federal income taxes by 2089:

The Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) or “Part B” trust fund pays for physician care, outpatient services, and prescription drugs. According to Medicare’s actuaries, SMI spending is growing at a rapid rate. The Trustees report evaluates the long term implications of escalating SMI cost growth by comparing it to total Federal income taxes (personal and corporate) during the same fiscal year. The Trustees now predict that, if future federal taxes maintain their historical average level (relative to the national economy), then SMI general revenue financing in 2089 will represent 26 percent of total Federal income taxes.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board – an unelected board that sets target levels for spending on Medicare – will set “savings targets” annually, which means cuts to reimbursements to hospitals and providers.

The health care law created a 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) charged with making recommendations to cut Medicare spending if and when the program’s spending exceeds specified economic growth targets. Since 2013, the CMS Chief Actuary has been required to calculate both the projected and target growth rates. If the Chief Actuary determines that the projected Medicare per capita growth rate exceeds the per capita target growth rate in a given implementation year, then the Chief Actuary must set a savings target for that year. For determination year 2013 through 2015, target growth rates have not been exceeded.targets” annually, which means cuts to reimbursements to hospitals and providers.

The Trustees now predict that Medicare’s per capita growth rate will exceed the per capita target growth rate in 2017 – five years earlier than projected in last year’s report. Legislation (S. 141, the “Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act”) has been introduced in the Senate that would repeal this unelected, unaccountable IPAB board. The House of Representatives approved a companion measure, H.R. 1190, on June 23, 2015.

Unfunded obligations in the tens of trillions of dollars:

Medicare Part A is financed by a 2.9 percent payroll tax that is split between employers and employees. The health care law (starting in 2013) mandated an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on wages over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married filers. There is no upper limit on earnings subject to the tax. Income deposited into the Part A trust fund is credited using interest-bearing government securities. Expenditures for medical services and administrative costs are recorded against the fund. Securities represent obligations the government has issued to itself. The Medicare Trustees estimate the Medicare Part A total unfunded obligation over 75 years is $3.2 trillion. Using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Actuary’s alternative projection, which looks at Medicare’s financial footing using more realistic assumptions, the Part A unfunded obligation over 75 years climbs to $7.9 trillion.

Unlike the Medicare Part A trust fund which has a dedicated revenue stream (the HI payroll tax), Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D (prescription drug benefit) are funded by beneficiary premiums and general revenue. As a result, the Medicare Trustees estimate that the amount of taxes collected over the next 75 years that will be spent to pay for Medicare Part B and Part D services equals $24.8 trillion.

Assuming current law remains unchanged, the Trustees project Medicare’s 75 year total spending in excess of dedicated revenues is $27.9 trillion. Again, using the CMS Actuary’s more realistic alternative scenario, that figure soars to $36.8 trillion.

All of this is just the start for “Medicare for All”.  Because Medicare reimburses providers below the cost of providing that service, and there would be no more private insurance to push the costs onto (via increased rates in the private market), the inevitable result of underpaying for services is a reduction in services provided – or, as users of Great Britain’s NHS are enjoying right now – the rationing of health care.

Since Sanders currently enjoys a tasty exemption from the Obamacare mandate, through a subsidy provided to Congress and their staffs, I would also expect the Senator, once full ensconced in the warm, loving embrace of Medicare For All to ditch his subsidy and wallow in the results of his legislation, like the people he’s planning to foist it upon.

But the larger question remains:  If Sanders thinks Medicare For All is the solution to the nation’s health care problems, what, out of the above, makes him think he’s doing anything other than setting us on a path that a) reduces access to care, and b) increases the rate at which the federal budget implodes?

And this is his best idea of a fix?  Then I’d hate to see the ideas he discarded as being unworkable.  His latest is another example of what happens when politicians are put in charge of our lives, and their only accountability to the impacts they make on us is whether or not they can sell 50% of the voting populace on the idea that they’re giving them something they need, for free, paid for by someone else.

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by David Flemming 

The Vermont DMV has been the focus of controversy lately regarding its legally questionable facial-recognition program. “The department had stored 2.7 million images of license applicants — and had shared the database with police.” (Seven Days)

So, millions of photos of Vermonters, who have not committed a crime, are now in a government database. If this had happened in the private sector, the company that did this would more than likely be in both legal and PR nightmares. Heads would roll.

But, the folks at the Vermont DMV do not work for a private company. They work for the government. According to the Government Accountability Office, the odds that a federal employee will be fired in a given month are one-in-6000. Contrast that to private sector workers, who have a roughly one-in-77 chance of being fired or laid off in a given month. (1)

According to Career Builder, 15% of private sector employers have fired a worker for skipping work “without a legitimate reason,” while 22% of employers have fired someone for “using the Internet for “non-work related activity.” Compare that to this article, “Government can’t fire workers who spend six hours a day watching porn.” It would be fascinating to see what percentage of employers would fire an employee for storing and distributing photos of their customers without their consent. The private sector clearly has more stringent requirements for accountability and ‘what makes a good employee.’

On the Vermont DMV’s website, Rob Ide, Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, states that “our goal is to offer services in a way that our customers expect from a top notch retail provider.” If that were so, someone would be fired over this massive violation of customers’ privacy. That doesn’t appear to be happening.

One key difference between the DMV, other government agencies, and private retailers is that the self-interests of a “top notch retail provider” align far more with those of its customers. If a retailer doesn’t give a customer the service they want (or plays fast and loose with their customer’s personal information), customers can go to another retailer with better service. If the DMV offers poor service, the “customer” cannot go to another licensing agency. They would have to quit driving altogether.

As such, there is no incentive to remove a bad decision maker, and no consequences for bad behavior or bad service. When there are no incentives to clean house, the house is never clean. People tend to think government needs to get involved in order to hold those in charge accountable, but the reality is most often the opposite. 

- David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute.

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