by Rob Roper

In the 2014 election, whether or not the governor and a majority of legislators in Montpelier had designs on taking control of Medicare funding as part of heathcare “reform” in Vermont became a major issue. Language in Act 48 indicated that this was one of the goals of that law:

“To the maximum extent allowable under federal law and waivers from federal law, Green Mountain Care shall include health coverage provided under the health benefit exchange established under 33 V.S.A. chapter 18, subchapter 1; under Medicaid; under Medicare;…” [emphasis added]

Reacting to intense pushback from senior citizens, most politicians (and many in the press) emphatically denied that Montpelier would or even could take control of Medicare funds. They accused individuals and organizations (such as the Ethan Allen Institute) of employing “scare tactics” for bringing it up, and pointed to legislation passed on the last day of the 2014 session removing some of the Medicare language from Act 48 as evidence of their intention to leave Medicare alone.

But today we learn that the Administration will be, in fact, applying for an “all payer waiver” from the federal government. As an article in the Rutland Herald reports:

State officials say if Vermont obtains the waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, all insurance plans will pay the same amount and providers will have an incentive to work collectively to have the best health outcome that is not paid for based on the number of tests and procedures performed.

Maryland is the only state operating under an all-payer waiver and has been doing so since the late 1970s. But Maryland’s system only sets Medicaid rates for hospitals. 

In Vermont, the goal is to take it further and include primary care providers and specialists as well as hospitals.

“What we’re talking about in Vermont is doing it with everybody, including Medicare, which is, of course, where the bulk of our money is,” Shumlin said. [Emphasis added]

So, having completely fouled up the way we pay for health insurance with the Vermont Health Connect exchange, our government in Montpelier now wants to completely restructure how we pay for health care – including Medicare. What could go wrong?!

On April 30, Reps. Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) and Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) offered legislation that would have removed all references to Medicare from Act 48, placing a significant roadblock in the path of Shumlin’s applying for this waiver. It failed 54-85, with many of the loudest 2014 election-eve, “Who-us?”, “Scare tactics!” screamers voting to block the amendment. If you’d like to see how your legislator voted when it came to protecting Medicare funds from Green Mountain Care, check out the EAI Roll Call Report.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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Roll Call Graphic.
S.139 – A ACT RELATING TO HEALTHCARE (MORRISSEY/BROWNING AMENDMENT)
.
FAILED
in the State House of Representatives
on April 30, 2015, by a vote of
54-85
.
Purpose: To remove all references to Medicare from Act 48.
 .
Analysis: In the 2014 election, whether or not a majority in Montpelier had designs on taking control of Medicare funding in Vermont became a major issue. Language in Act 48 indicated that this was one of the goals of that law:
.
“To the maximum extent allowable under federal law and waivers from federal law, Green Mountain Care shall include health coverage provided under the health benefit exchange established under 33 V.S.A. chapter 18, subchapter 1; under Medicaid; under Medicare;…” (Emphasis added)
.
However, under intense pushback from senior citizens, most politicians emphatically denied that Montpelier would or even could take control of Medicare funds.
.
This amendment would have removed all references to Medicare from Act 48, putting teeth into the assertion that Montpelier would not/could not/does not want to attempt to take control of Medicare funds.
.
Those voting YES wanted to assure that Medicare would be left alone by the state.
.
Those voting NO held open the door for the Administration to apply for an “all payer waiver” that would allow the state to spend Medicare money outside the current regulations. Governor Shumlin announced he will apply for such a waiver at the end of June, 2015.
.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Thursday, April 30, 2015: “Shall the report of the Committee on Health Care, as amended, be further amended as proposed by Rep. Morrissey and others? was decided in the negative. Yeas, 54. Nays, 85.” (Read the Journal, p.1216-1258.)
.
Related Materials:
State gets set to embark on health system overhaul, Rutland Herald
.

How They Voted

(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Janet Ancel (D-Calis) – NO

Bob Bancroft (R-Westford) – YES

John Bartholomew (D-Hartland) – NO

Fred Baser (R-Bristol) – YES

Lynn Batchelor (R-Derby Line) – YES

Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) – YES

Steven Berry (D-Manchester Center) – NO

Stephen Beyor (R-Highgate Springs) – YES

Clement Bissonnette (D-Winooski) – NO

William Botzow (D-Bennington) – NO

Carolyn Branagan (R-Georgia) – YES

Patrick Brennan (R-Colchster) – YES

Timothy Briglin (D-Thetford) – NO

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) – YES

Thomas Burditt (R-West Rutland) – YES

Mollie Burke (P/D-Brattleboro) – NO

Sarah Buxton (D-Tunbridge) – NO

William Canfield (R/D-Fair Haven) – YES

Stephen Carr (D-Brandon) – NO

Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (P-Middletown Springs) – NO

Kevin Christie (D-White River Jct.) – NO

Alison Clarkson (D-Woodstock) – NO

Joanna Cole (D-Burlington) – NO

James Condon (D-Colchester) – ABSENT

Daniel Connor (D-Fairfield) – NO

Charles Conquest (D-Wells River) – NO

Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford) – NO

Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington) – YES

Lawrence Cupoli (R-Rutland) – YES

Leigh Dakin (D-Chester) – NO

Maureen Dakin (D-Colchester) – NO

Paul Dame (R-Essex Junction) – YES

Susan Davis (P/D-Washington) – NO

David Deen (D-Putney) – NO

Dennis Devereux (R-Belmont) – YES

Eileen “Lynn” Dickinson (R-St. Albans) – YES

Anne Donahue (R-Northfield) – NO

Johannah Donovan (D-Burlington) – NO

Alyson Eastman (I-Orwell) – NO

Rebecca Ellis (D-Waterbury) – NO

Alice Emmons (D/W-Springfield) – NO

Debbie Evans (D-Essex) – NO

Peter Fagan (R-Rutland) – YES

Martha Feltus (R-Lyndonville) – YES

Rachael Fields (D-Bennington) – NO

Larry Fiske (R-Enosburg Falls) – YES

Robert Forguites (D-Springfield) – NO

William Frank (D-Underhill) – NO

Patsy French (D-Randolph) – NO

Douglas Gage (R-Rutland) – YES

Marianna Gamache (R-Swanton) – YES

Diana Gonzalez (P/D-Winooski) – ABSENT

Maxine Grad (D-Moretown) – NO

Rodney Graham (R-Williamstown) – YES

Adam Greshin (I-Warren) – YES

Sandy Haas (P/D-Rochester) – NO

Helen Head (D-So. Burlington) – NO

Michael Hebert (R-Vernon) – YES

Robert Helm (R/D-Fair Haven) – YES

Mark Higley (R-Lowell) – YES

Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier) – NO

Ronald Hubert (R-Milton) – YES

Mark Huntley (D-Cavendish) – YES

Timothy Jerman (D-Essex) – ABSENT

Willem Jewett (D-Ripton) – NO

Mitzi Johnson (D-S. Hero) – NO

Bernard Juskiewicz (R-Camdridge) – YES

Kathleen Keenan (D-St. Albans) – NO

Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier) – NO

Anthony Klein (D-Montpelier) – NO

Patricia Komline (R-Dorset) – YES

Robert Krebs (D-S. Hero) – NO

Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) – NO

Rob LaClair (R-Barre Town) – ABSENT

 

Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) – NO

Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes) – NO

Richard Lawrence (R-Lyndon) – YES

Paul Lefebvre (R-Island Pond) – NO

Joan Lenes (D-Shelburne) – NO

Patti Lewis (R-Berlin) – YES

William Lippert (D-Hinesburg) – NO

Emily Long (D-Newfane) – NO

Gabrielle Lucke (D-White River Junction) – NO

Terence Macaig (D-Williston) – NO

Ann Manwaring (D-Wilmington) – NO

Michael Marcotte (R/D-Newport) – YES

Marcia Martel (R-Waterford) – YES

Linda Martin (D-Wolcott) – NO

James Masland (D-Thetford) – NO

Curtis McCormack (D/W-Burlington) – NO

Patricia McCoy (R-Poultney) – YES

James McCullough (D-Williston) – NO

Francis McFaun (R/D-Barre) – YES

Alice Miller (D-Shaftsbury) – NO

Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) – NO

Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) – YES

Michael Mrowicki (D-Putney) – ABSENT

Barbara Murphy (I-Fairfax) – YES

Linda Myers (R-Essex) – YES

Betty Nuovo (D-Middlebury) – NO

Anne O’Brien (D-Richmond) – NO

Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) – NO

Oliver Olsen (I-Jamaica) – NO

Corey Parent (R-St. Albans) – YES

Carolyn Partridge (D-Windham) – ABSENT

Avram Patt (D-Worcestor) – NO

Albert “Chuck” Pearce (R/D-Richford) – YES

Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) – NO

Paul Poirier (I-Barre) – YES

David Potter (D-Clarendon) – NO

Ann Pugh (D-S. Burlington) – ABSENT

Joey Purvis (R-Colchester) – YES

Constance Quimby (R/D-Concord) – YES

Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington) – NO

Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) – NO

Herbert Russell (D-Rutland) – NO

Marjorie Ryerson (D-Randolph) – NO

Brian Savage (R-Swanton) – ABSENT

Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) – YES

David Sharpe (D-Bristol) – NO

Charles Shaw (R/D-Pitsford) – YES

Loren Shaw (R/D-Derby) – ABSENT

Amy Sheldon (D-Middlebury) – NO

Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover) – YES

Harvey Smith (R-New Haven) – YES

Shapleigh Smith (D-Morristown) – PRESIDING

Thomas Stevens (D-Waterbury) – NO

Vicki Strong (R-Albany) – YES

Valerie Stuart (D-Brattleboro) – NO

Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington) – NO

Donna Sweaney (D-Windsor) – NO

Job Tate (R-Mendon) – YES

Thomas Terenzini (R/D-Rutland) – YES

George Till (D-Jericho) – NO

Tristan Toleno (D-Brattleboro) – NO

Catherine Toll (D-Danville) – NO

Maida Townsend (D-S. Burlington) – NO

Matthew Trieber (D-Bellows Falls) – NO

Chip Troiano (D-Hardwick) – NO

Donald Turner (R-Milton) – YES

Warren Van Wyck (R-Ferrisburgh) – ABSENT

Gary Viens (R-Newport) – YES

Tommy Walz (D-Barre City) –  NO

Kathryn Webb (D-Shelburne) – NO

Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) – YES

Mark Woodward (D-Johnson) – NO

Kurt Wright (R-Burlington) – YES

Michael Yantachka (D-Charlotte) – NO

Samuel Young (D-Glover) – NO

Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) – NO

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by John McClaughry

If you follow the climate change controversy, you may have noticed last month’s attacks by the climate believers against Dr. Willie Soon, a distinguished physicist employed by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. For years Dr. Soon has argued that the influence of solar and orbital variations has more to do with global temperatures than human caused carbon dioxide emissions.

The climate change mafia struck back by saying that the Harvard-Smithsonian Center had received $1.2 million from the fossil fuel industry to support Dr. Soon’s research, and thus he was a paid shill for the industry.

The critics couldn’t and didn’t challenge Dr. Soon’s scientific findings, and no impropriety was ever demonstrated.

The critics attack article in the journal Nature Climate Change concluded by saying that their research, unlike Soon’s, was untainted by special interest money. And the media bought it hook, line and sinker.

But research by the skeptical Heartland Institute and others produced a startling finding. The people who criticized Dr. Soon themselves had pocketed $45 million dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Dr. Soon’s friends pointed out that “It’s a safe bet each of these co-authors will seek more funding from EPA in the future. Since EPA had already determined it was going to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, does anyone really believe the study would find the proposed restrictions are unjustified? Does anyone believe if it had, EPA would continue to reward the authors with continued generous research funding?”

Let’s face it: “climate change” is a potent special interest , most of it funded through billions of dollars annually in government grants and contracts, all to validate what the people currently in charge of government want the American people to believe.

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

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By John J. Metzler

UNITED NATIONS–Defying dire polls, deflating many media pundits, and derailing a left-wing lurch from the Labor Party, Prime Minister David Cameron Conservative Party swept back into power for a second term with a shock election win and a reinvigorated majority.   Cameron’s victory was all the sweeter as it precluded his party from having to enter the messy business of coalition politics and the political “horse trading” which could have hampered him for weeks.

The resounding victory by Mr. Cameron, comes amid both political kudos and dire warnings. On the one hand the Conservatives won 331 seats in the 650 seat House of Parliament, a commendable feat in any election. Yet part of the victory comes by default from the Labor party itself who swerved Leftwards under Ed Miliband and reminded people more of the socialist tub-thumping Old Labor of the 1950’s than of what had become the successful New Labor under Tony Blair in the 1990’s .

Indeed on economic issues, most voters see the Conservatives as better stewards of  growth and revived prosperity than the statist and socialist Labor.

But ill winds still blow in Scotland where the separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) swept the table winning all 56 parliamentary seats at the expense of both the Tories and Labor.   Had Labor won, they would have been likely dependent on the graces of a party which wants to dismantle the country.

“The Scottish lion has roared this morning across the country” boasted a key SNP politico. Though Scots resoundingly rejected an independence referendum last September, the political genie is out of the bottle and the issue is hardly resolved. Neither the Conservatives not the Labor party seem to have the magic formula to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom long term. Scotland thus presents a political fault line which could likely jolt the UK in the future.

Europhobia remains a key challenge for many Conservatives who have a love/hate relationship with the European Union (EU) and especially some of its uber-bureaucratic trappings. Despite the often nanny state rulings from Brussels, Britain is far better being inside and an active player in Europe than she would be looking across the Channel with an “I told you so” pique. A referendum on the UK EU membership may be in the cards by 2017.

David Cameron is the first Tory Prime Minister to win-reelection since Margaret Thatcher. Yet Cameron is no true-blue Thatcherite; this is more the government of Tory-lite.  On the one hand since winning in 2010, the Conservatives have admirably cut government spending from nearly 46% of GDP to 40.7%. Some of the bloated bureaucracy and inefficient National Health Service have been trimmed. Yet, the government still needs to create the conditions to revitalize the anemic post-recession economy for all people, not just successful entrepreneurs.

Over the past few years, I have been appalled at the Cameron coalition government defense cutbacks reducing the size and punch of the British military. Reckless reductions in the Royal Air Force (RAF) have crippled a proud institution.

Britain’s role in the world is no less important.   As a stanch American ally (though the Obama Administration seems not to notice) and as a key player in the United Nations with its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the UK still punches politically above its weight and size. Britain proudly remains a major donor of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to needy countries.

The Conservative victory comes on the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the victory over Nazism in Europe in which a Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill played so vital a role. But that was another era.

Mr. Cameron is heading back to 10 Downing Street after all. We wish him well, but now he must deliver.   This may be tougher challenge than the election.

*******************

John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism The Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China (2014).

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by John McClaughry

Electrical engineer Willem Post of Woodstock had an important post on the Energy Collective last month, on the topic of wind power.

Denmark, he reports, has built its entire wind turbine set-up around the hydro plants in Norway and Sweden, which balance its wind energy; Denmark has the highest household electric rates in Europe, about 30 eurocent/kWh

Ireland expensively balances its wind energy with gas turbines; the gas is imported.

Spain and Portugal expensively balance their wind energy with gas turbines and pumped-storage hydro plants; the gas is imported.

Germany expensively balances its wind energy with flexible coal plants, gas turbines and “borrowing” the spare balancing capacity of nearby grids; the gas is imported, and Germany has the second highest household electric rates in Europe, about 29 eurocent/kWh.

Various governments cater to renewable energy interests by requiring renewable energy at 2 to 5 times New England wholesale prices, through the heavily subsidized, dysfunctional SPEED program.

“Canadian hydro energy is available at about 5 to 7 c/kWh. The Canadians are eager to sell. They are not out to hose New England.”

Here’s my summary: in Vermont Peter Shumlin and the renewable industrial complex believe that Vermonters don’t deserve low cost electricity, and we can escape that curse by having our government force everybody to subsidize wind and solar through their power bills. What we really don’t deserve is Peter Shumlin and the renewable industrial complex.

- John McClaughry is vice president and founder of the Ethan Allen Institute 

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posted by Rob Roper

As the energy bill faces a last minute kerfuffle in the Senate, and I hear Rep. Tony Klein of the House Energy Committee saying on the Mark Johnson Show that we’re losing time before climate disaster strikes, it might be worth taking this extra moment to remember some of the predictions “97%” of the scientist have made over the past several decades.

Here a few points — culled, edited and editorialized on — from a great article by Alex Newman, Embarrassing Predictions Haunt the Global-Warming Industry.

1970: Ecology professor Kenneth E.F. Watt at the University of California claimed, “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000.” Remember… first it was global cooling and the next ice age was upon us…

1971: Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, who is perhaps best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, predicted, “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people,” he claimed. “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” As Calvin Coolidge said, “You lose.”

1988: James Hansen, who headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for three dec­ades was asked by journalist and author Rob Reiss how the “greenhouse effect” would affect the neighborhood outside his window within 20 years (by 2008). “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,” Hansen claimed. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change….” Nope. Manhattan is still there, and is still populated with pigeons.

1989: the Associated Press ran an article headlined: “UN Official Predicts Disaster, Says Greenhouse Effect Could Wipe Some Nations Off Map.” In the piece, the director of the UNEP’s New York office was quoted as claiming that “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.” Uh huh.

1990: Princeton professor and lead UN IPCC author Michael Oppenheimer, while working as “chief scientist” for the Environmental Defense Fund, predicted by 1995, the “greenhouse effect” would be “desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots.” By 1996, he added, the Platte River of Nebraska “would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” Even ten years after this apocalypse was supposed to befall us, the Platte River still flows. I know because I checked on my still working computer.

2000: Senior Research Scientist David Viner, working at the time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, told the U.K. Independent that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” He was quoted in an article, headlined “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” Anyone who lived through winter 2014-15 may have a few words for Mr Viner.

2001: The IPCC predicted in its 2001 global-warming report, that the planet would see “warmer winters and fewer cold spells, because of climate change…” But then in 2014 White House Science “Czar” John Holdren said, “A growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency, as global warming continues.” Wait a minute! I thought the science was settled!!

2003: A Pentagon report entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” was widely cited by global-warming theorists, bureaucrats, and the establishment press as evidence that humanity was facing certain doom. It also served as the foundation for the claim that alleged man-made “climate change” was actually a “national security concern.” Among other outlandish scenarios envisioned in the report over the preceding decade: California flooded with inland seas, parts of the Netherlands “unlivable,” polar ice all but gone in the summers, and surging temperatures. Mass increases in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters were supposed to be wreaking havoc across the globe, too. All of that would supposedly spark resource wars and all sorts of other horrors.

2005: The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) warned that imminent sea-level rises, increased hurricanes, and desertification caused by “man-made global warming” would lead to massive population disruptions. In a handy map, the organization highlighted areas that were supposed to be particularly vulnerable in terms of producing “climate refugees.” Especially at risk were regions such as the Caribbean and low-lying Pacific islands, along with coastal areas. The 2005 UNEP predictions claimed that, by 2010, some 50 million “climate refugees” would be frantically fleeing from those regions of the globe. I just spent a week in the Caribbean. It’s still there. Nobody is fleeing. In fact you had to drag me away. Why? Because of all the freakin’ snow in Vermont in April!

2007, 2008, and 2009: Al Gore publicly warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” in the summer by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.” Ummm. Nope. Still there. By some accounts growing.

And, as Newman concludes, “By now, anybody who follows “climate” news knows that “global warming” has been on what alarmists call “pause” for 18 years and counting, despite ongoing increases in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The stubborn refusal of temperatures to rise (and accelerate) as forecasted by all of the UN’s 73 “climate models” has discredited the models, the UN, and the alleged “science” behind the computer forecasts. Every single model predicted more warming than has occurred, an atrocious record that defies explanation. Even a monkey rolling the dice or a scam artist pretending to read the future from a crystal ball would have a better record, based only on the laws of probability.”

Yeah.

If you have other similar quotes/predictions that haven’t exactly panned out, please share. We’ll keep the list growing.

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By John J. Metzler 

UNITED NATIONS–It’s been forty years since the wars in Indochina ended and the curtain dropped ushering in a new period of darkness for the people of Vietnam and Cambodia. Four long decades since the stunning imagery of North Vietnamese tanks smashing through the gates of Saigon’s Doc Lap Independence palace seizing the South Vietnamese capital, ending the decades long war, and bringing forcible reunification by the communists to the divided nation.

For America the politically divisive conflict was over, the page turned, and the book shelved. For the Vietnamese, and even more so for the beleaguered Cambodians, a new level of hell was about to begin in 1975.

Many people know the narrative which has now become fuzzy or bypassed by the march of time. American troops had already been withdrawn from South Vietnam by 1973 and thus the devastating defeat of the Saigon government by a massive North Vietnamese conventional offensive between February and April, was not as many glibly claim, a defeat of U.S. forces. Yet it posed a grim geopolitical setback for the USA.

But let me digress from events to imagine for a moment what could have happened, and may have transpired if the North Vietnamese had abided by the U.S. negotiated Paris Peace agreements in 1973 which should have stopped the military conflict, ensured a ceasefire, and allowed South Vietnam’s survival.

Consider another divided nation, Korea to see my thesis. Here too a historic nation was arbitrarily divided when Dean Rusk drew the line at the 38th parallel at the end of WWII. North and South Korea, which had endured Japanese colonialism, were now free but separated by two antagonistic governments. After the horrors of the Korean War (1950-1953), the tenuous peace held. Both the communist North and free South Korean states developed separately.

But here’s the point; a rising Phoenix of economic development and prosperity took hold in South Korea through the 1960’s and 1970’s . South Korea successfully hosted the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and had emerged as an East Asian tiger economy. Political democratization had taken root by the late 1980’s and has flourished ever since.

So here’s my question. Viewing South Vietnam of 1975, what if both North and South Vietnam developed separately economically, with political antagonism but not conflict?   A bit like West and East Germany or Mainland China and Taiwan?

By 1975, and despite the ongoing conflict, South Vietnam was still ahead of the North.   As long as the Saigon government could develop its socio/economic base free from both Viet Cong insurgency and the threat of a large scale conventional North Vietnamese onslaught, something similar to South Korea’s post-1953 economic revival could have happened.

Though South Vietnam’s economy was weak in the aftermath of years of war, with a cease-fire which held, and supported by a continuing flow of American economic assistance, Saigon stood at the threshold of possible success. By the early 1980’s, a new wave of foreign investment, opening markets and enterprise driven economics were radically transforming places like Korea and China and equally sweeping Southeast Asia from Singapore to Thailand.

South Vietnam was thus well poised to attract some of this investment and trade.

As I have written before, “Hanoi’s arrogant triumphalism following reunification in 1975, assured the Socialist Republic of Vietnam that it would be bypassed by the rising tide of economic development and waves of investment which lapped on the shores from South Korea to Singapore.”

In 1978, just three years after the invasion of the South, Socialist Vietnam’s per capita income stood at a paltry $170 while South Korea’s was $1,200, Malaysia at $1,100, Taiwan $2,000 and Thailand $500.

Only many years later, and after costly and avoidable economic mistakes, did Hanoi’s rigid Marxist government adopt the Do Moi economic system which opened the country to reforms and encouraged foreign investments.

Today the Europeans, the USA, Japan and Taiwan are among Vietnam’s largest investors. American trade which stood at $1 billion in 2000, has surged to $36 billion in 2014, with the U.S. running a $25 billion trade deficit.

Things have improved economically for the 90 million Vietnamese but at the expense of massive corruption and enduring political rigidity. Vietnam’s per capita income now has reached $2,230, South Korea stands at $25,000, Malaysia $12,000, Taiwan $22,000, Thailand $6,260 and Singapore $52,000 .

Economic changes finally came for a reunited Vietnam, but not before the harrowing socialist mismanagement, the re-education camps, the two million boat people refugees, and the continuing authoritarianism. This tragic story could have ended so differently.

**************

John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism The Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China (2014).

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Roll Call Graphic.
PASSED
in the State House of Representatives
on May 12, 2015, by a vote of
85-57
.
Purpose: To increase state immunization rates by disallowing parents to choose against vaccinating their children for philosophical reasons.
.
Analysis: Those voting YES on this amendment supported ending parents’ rights to not vaccinate their children for philosophical reasons (but not for religious reasons).
.
Those voting NO supported leaving the “philosophical exemption” in place.
 .
As Recorded in the House Journal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015: “Shall the House propose to the Senate to amend the bill as proposed by Rep. Poirier of Barre City, as amended, in the Second instance of amendment (Secs. 4, 6, 12(b))? was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 85. Nays, 57.” (Read the Journal, p. 1820-1840.)
 .

How They Voted

(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Janet Ancel (D-Calis) – YES

Bob Bancroft (R-Westford) – YES

John Bartholomew (D-Hartland) – NO

Fred Baser (R-Bristol) – NO

Lynn Batchelor (R-Derby Line) – NO

Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) – YES

Steven Berry (D-Manchester Center) – NO

Stephen Beyor (R-Highgate Springs) – NO

Clement Bissonnette (D-Winooski) – YES

William Botzow (D-Bennington) – YES

Carolyn Branagan (R-Georgia) – NO

Patrick Brennan (R-Colchster) – YES

Timothy Briglin (D-Thetford) – YES

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) – NO

Thomas Burditt (R-West Rutland) – ABSENT

Mollie Burke (P/D-Brattleboro) – YES

Sarah Buxton (D-Tunbridge) – YES

William Canfield (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Stephen Carr (D-Brandon) – YES

Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (P-Middletown Springs) – NO

Kevin Christie (D-White River Jct.) – YES

Alison Clarkson (D-Woodstock) – YES

Joanna Cole (D-Burlington) – YES

James Condon (D-Colchester) – YES

Daniel Connor (D-Fairfield) – YES

Charles Conquest (D-Wells River) – ABSENT

Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford) – NO

Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington) – YES

Lawrence Cupoli (R-Rutland) – YES

Leigh Dakin (D-Chester) – YES

Maureen Dakin (D-Colchester) – YES

Paul Dame (R-Essex Junction) – NO

Susan Davis (P/D-Washington) – NO

David Deen (D-Putney) – YES

Dennis Devereux (R-Belmont) – NO

Eileen “Lynn” Dickinson (R-St. Albans) – YES

Anne Donahue (R-Northfield) – NO

Johannah Donovan (D-Burlington) – YES

Alyson Eastman (I-Orwell) – NO

Rebecca Ellis (D-Waterbury) – YES

Alice Emmons (D/W-Springfield) – YES

Debbie Evans (D-Essex) – YES

Peter Fagan (R-Rutland) – NO

Martha Feltus (R-Lyndonville) – NO

Rachael Fields (D-Bennington) – YES

Larry Fiske (R-Enosburg Falls) – NO

Robert Forguites (D-Springfield) – YES

William Frank (D-Underhill) – YES

Patsy French (D-Randolph) – YES

Douglas Gage (R-Rutland) – NO

Marianna Gamache (R-Swanton) – NO

Diana Gonzalez (P/D-Winooski) – YES

Maxine Grad (D-Moretown) – NO

Rodney Graham (R-Williamstown) – ABSENT

Adam Greshin (I-Warren) – NO

Sandy Haas (P/D-Rochester) – NO

Helen Head (D-So. Burlington) – YES

Michael Hebert (R-Vernon) – NO

Robert Helm (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Mark Higley (R-Lowell) – NO

Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier) – NO

Ronald Hubert (R-Milton) – ABSENT

Mark Huntley (D-Cavendish) – YES

Timothy Jerman (D-Essex) – YES

Willem Jewett (D-Ripton) – NO

Mitzi Johnson (D-S. Hero) – YES

Bernard Juskiewicz (R-Camdridge) – YES

Kathleen Keenan (D-St. Albans) – YES

Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier) – NO

Anthony Klein (D-Montpelier) – YES

Patricia Komline (R-Dorset) – NO

Robert Krebs (D-S. Hero) – YES

Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) – YES

Rob LaClair (R-Barre Town) – NO

 

Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) – YES

Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes) – YES

Richard Lawrence (R-Lyndon) – NO

Paul Lefebvre (R-Island Pond) – NO

Joan Lenes (D-Shelburne) – YES

Patti Lewis (R-Berlin) – YES

William Lippert (D-Hinesburg) – NO

Emily Long (D-Newfane) – YES

Gabrielle Lucke (D-White River Junction) – NO

Terence Macaig (D-Williston) – YES

Ann Manwaring (D-Wilmington) – YES

Michael Marcotte (R/D-Newport) – NO

Marcia Martel (R-Waterford) – NO

Linda Martin (D-Wolcott) – NO

James Masland (D-Thetford) – NO

Curtis McCormack (D/W-Burlington) – YES

Patricia McCoy (R-Poultney) – YES

James McCullough (D-Williston) – YES

Francis McFaun (R/D-Barre) – YES

Alice Miller (D-Shaftsbury) – YES

Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) – YES

Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) – NO

Michael Mrowicki (D-Putney) – NO

Barbara Murphy (I-Fairfax) – YES

Linda Myers (R-Essex) – YES

Betty Nuovo (D-Middlebury) – YES

Anne O’Brien (D-Richmond) – YES

Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Oliver Olsen (I-Jamaica) – YES

Corey Parent (R-St. Albans) – YES

Carolyn Partridge (D-Windham) – NO

Avram Patt (D-Worcestor) – YES

Albert “Chuck” Pearce (R/D-Richford) – NO

Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) – YES

Paul Poirier (I-Barre) – YES

David Potter (D-Clarendon) – YES

Ann Pugh (D-S. Burlington) – YES

Joey Purvis (R-Colchester) – YES

Constance Quimby (R/D-Concord) – YES

Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington) – YES

Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) – NO

Herbert Russell (D-Rutland) – ABSENT

Marjorie Ryerson (D-Randolph) – NO

Brian Savage (R-Swanton) – YES

Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) – NO

David Sharpe (D-Bristol) – YES

Charles Shaw (R/D-Pitsford) – YES

Loren Shaw (R/D-Derby) – YES

Amy Sheldon (D-Middlebury) – NO

Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover) – YES

Harvey Smith (R-New Haven) – YES

Shapleigh Smith (D-Morristown) – PRESIDING

Thomas Stevens (D-Waterbury) – YES

Vicki Strong (R-Albany) – NO

Valerie Stuart (D-Brattleboro) – ABSENT

Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Donna Sweaney (D-Windsor) – YES

Job Tate (R-Mendon) – NO

Thomas Terenzini (R/D-Rutland) – YES

George Till (D-Jericho) – YES

Tristan Toleno (D-Brattleboro) – NO

Catherine Toll (D-Danville) –  YES

Maida Townsend (D-S. Burlington) – YES

Matthew Trieber (D-Bellows Falls) – YES

Chip Troiano (D-Hardwick) – NO

Donald Turner (R-Milton) – YES

Warren Van Wyck (R-Ferrisburgh) – ABSENT

Gary Viens (R-Newport) – NO

Tommy Walz (D-Barre City) – YES

Kathryn Webb (D-Shelburne) – YES

Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) – YES

Mark Woodward (D-Johnson) – NO

Kurt Wright (R-Burlington) – NO

Michael Yantachka (D-Charlotte) – NO

Samuel Young (D-Glover) – NO

Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) – NO

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Roll Call Graphic
.
PASSED
in the State House of Representatives
on May 11, 2015 by a vote of

87-54 

.
Purpose: To move the deadline for registering to vote in Vermont elections from the Wednesday before the election (one week before) to election day itself. This would take effect in 2017.
.
Analysis: Those voting YES on S.29 would allow an individual to register to vote and to vote on the same day (election day).
.
Those voting NO believe this to be an invitation to voter fraud as there is not adequate opportunity for either the Town Clerk or other election monitors to verify that the persons registering to vote on election day are who they say they are, or are legal residents of where they claim to live. This also creates a logistical challenge for Town Clerks, who will have to both run the elections in their districts and, with this law, register new voters simultaneously.
.
Senate Journal, Monday, May 11, 2015: “Shall the report of the Committee on Government Operations be adopted? was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 87. Nays, 54.” (Read the Journal, p. 1796-1807)

How They Voted

(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Janet Ancel (D-Calis) – YES

Bob Bancroft (R-Westford) – NO

John Bartholomew (D-Hartland) – YES

Fred Baser (R-Bristol) – YES

Lynn Batchelor (R-Derby Line) – NO

Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) – YES

Steven Berry (D-Manchester Center) – YES

Stephen Beyor (R-Highgate Springs) – NO

Clement Bissonnette (D-Winooski) – YES

William Botzow (D-Bennington) – YES

Carolyn Branagan (R-Georgia) – NO

Patrick Brennan (R-Colchster) – NO

Timothy Briglin (D-Thetford) – NO

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) – ABSENT

Thomas Burditt (R-West Rutland) – NO

Mollie Burke (P/D-Brattleboro) – YES

Sarah Buxton (D-Tunbridge) – YES

William Canfield (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Stephen Carr (D-Brandon) – YES

Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (P-Middletown Springs) – YES

Kevin Christie (D-White River Jct.) – YES

Alison Clarkson (D-Woodstock) – YES

Joanna Cole (D-Burlington) – YES

James Condon (D-Colchester) – NO

Daniel Connor (D-Fairfield) – NO

Charles Conquest (D-Wells River) – YES

Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford) – YES

Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington) – NO

Lawrence Cupoli (R-Rutland) – NO

Leigh Dakin (D-Chester) – YES

Maureen Dakin (D-Colchester) – YES

Paul Dame (R-Essex Junction) – NO

Susan Davis (P/D-Washington) – YES

David Deen (D-Putney) – YES

Dennis Devereux (R-Belmont) – NO

Eileen “Lynn” Dickinson (R-St. Albans) – NO

Anne Donahue (R-Northfield) – YES

Johannah Donovan (D-Burlington) – YES

Alyson Eastman (I-Orwell) – NO

Rebecca Ellis (D-Waterbury) – YES

Alice Emmons (D/W-Springfield) – YES

Debbie Evans (D-Essex) – YES

Peter Fagan (R-Rutland) – NO

Martha Feltus (R-Lyndonville) – YES

Rachael Fields (D-Bennington) – YES

Larry Fiske (R-Enosburg Falls) – NO

Robert Forguites (D-Springfield) – YES

William Frank (D-Underhill) – YES

Patsy French (D-Randolph) – NO

Douglas Gage (R-Rutland) – NO

Marianna Gamache (R-Swanton) – NO

Diana Gonzalez (P/D-Winooski) – YES

Maxine Grad (D-Moretown) – YES

Rodney Graham (R-Williamstown) – YES

Adam Greshin (I-Warren) – NO

Sandy Haas (P/D-Rochester) – YES

Helen Head (D-So. Burlington) – YES

Michael Hebert (R-Vernon) – ABSENT

Robert Helm (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Mark Higley (R-Lowell) – NO

Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier) – YES

Ronald Hubert (R-Milton) – ABSENT

Mark Huntley (D-Cavendish) – ABSENT

Timothy Jerman (D-Essex) – YES

Willem Jewett (D-Ripton) – YES

Mitzi Johnson (D-S. Hero) – YES

Bernard Juskiewicz (R-Camdridge) – NO

Kathleen Keenan (D-St. Albans) – YES

Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier) – YES

Anthony Klein (D-Montpelier) – YES

Patricia Komline (R-Dorset) – NO

Robert Krebs (D-S. Hero) – YES

Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) – YES

Rob LaClair (R-Barre Town) – NO

 

Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) – YES

Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes) – YES

Richard Lawrence (R-Lyndon) – NO

Paul Lefebvre (R-Island Pond) – YES

Joan Lenes (D-Shelburne) – YES

Patti Lewis (R-Berlin) – NO

William Lippert (D-Hinesburg) – YES

Emily Long (D-Newfane) – YES

Gabrielle Lucke (D-White River Junction) – YES

Terence Macaig (D-Williston) – YES

Ann Manwaring (D-Wilmington) – YES

Michael Marcotte (R/D-Newport) – NO

Marcia Martel (R-Waterford) – NO

Linda Martin (D-Wolcott) – YES

James Masland (D-Thetford) – YES

Curtis McCormack (D/W-Burlington) – YES

Patricia McCoy (R-Poultney) – NO

James McCullough (D-Williston) – YES

Francis McFaun (R/D-Barre) – NO

Alice Miller (D-Shaftsbury) – NO

Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) – YES

Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) – NO

Michael Mrowicki (D-Putney) – YES

Barbara Murphy (I-Fairfax) – NO

Linda Myers (R-Essex) – NO

Betty Nuovo (D-Middlebury) – YES

Anne O’Brien (D-Richmond) – YES

Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Oliver Olsen (I-Jamaica) – YES

Corey Parent (R-St. Albans) – NO

Carolyn Partridge (D-Windham) – YES

Avram Patt (D-Worcestor) – YES

Albert “Chuck” Pearce (R/D-Richford) – NO

Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) – YES

Paul Poirier (I-Barre) – NO

David Potter (D-Clarendon) – YES

Ann Pugh (D-S. Burlington) – YES

Joey Purvis (R-Colchester) – NO

Constance Quimby (R/D-Concord) – NO

Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington) – YES

Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) – YES

Herbert Russell (D-Rutland) – ABSENT

Marjorie Ryerson (D-Randolph) – YES

Brian Savage (R-Swanton) – NO

Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) – NO

David Sharpe (D-Bristol) – YES

Charles Shaw (R/D-Pitsford) – YES

Loren Shaw (R/D-Derby) – ABSENT

Amy Sheldon (D-Middlebury) – NO

Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover) – YES

Harvey Smith (R-New Haven) – NO

Shapleigh Smith (D-Morristown) – PRESIDING

Thomas Stevens (D-Waterbury) – YES

Vicki Strong (R-Albany) – NO

Valerie Stuart (D-Brattleboro) – ABSENT

Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Donna Sweaney (D-Windsor) – YES

Job Tate (R-Mendon) – NO

Thomas Terenzini (R/D-Rutland) – NO

George Till (D-Jericho) – YES

Tristan Toleno (D-Brattleboro) – YES

Catherine Toll (D-Danville) – YES

Maida Townsend (D-S. Burlington) – YES

Matthew Trieber (D-Bellows Falls) – YES

Chip Troiano (D-Hardwick) – YES

Donald Turner (R-Milton) – NO

Warren Van Wyck (R-Ferrisburgh) – NO

Gary Viens (R-Newport) – NO

Tommy Walz (D-Barre City) –  YES

Kathryn Webb (D-Shelburne) – YES

Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) – NO

Mark Woodward (D-Johnson) – YES

Kurt Wright (R-Burlington) – ABSENT

Michael Yantachka (D-Charlotte) – YES

Samuel Young (D-Glover) – YES

Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) – YES

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by Frank Mazur

Did you know our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren face a long term government shortfall of $200 trillion?  That’s a far cry from the $18 trillion deficit currently reported.   What’s the real story?

As a youth I sold ice cream at construction sites near my neighborhood.  It was a cash-in, cash-out business.  You would hope government, with 315 million citizens, would be more accountable than I was with my little coin box but they’re not.

When government reports annual spending there’s either a yearly surplus or deficit.  Such figures miss any impact beyond the current year.  For instance, the unfunded long term liability (generational) for Social Security and Medicare increased by $1.3 trillion rather than the reported annual deficit of $1.1 billion in FY2012.

Economists report longer-term figures are getting worse and the presidents of both parties are guilty in changing reporting ground-rules.  Generational reporting was censored by both Clinton in 1994 and Bush in 2003 when debt looked out of control.

Senators Thune (R, SD) and Kaine (D, Va) introduced a bi-partisan bill called the Inform Act and it’s getting wide support.  The bill would require an annual fiscal and generational gap accounting report.  With annual federal spending at near $4 trillion we need better accounting than my ice cream business.

Federal spending is out of control.  It’s time taxpayers require elected officials to act like adults, live within our means and save our kids’ inheritance before it’s all gone.

Contact our Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch to support the Inform Act.

- Frank Mazur is a former member of the Vermont House of Representatives, and a former member of the Ethan Allen Institute Board of Directors.

 

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