by John McClaughry                

On Wednesday Gov. Shumlin and the Green Mountain Care Board hastily signed the All Payer waiver agreement with the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This unprecedented deal puts Vermont on a path to having one big health care provider, a model no other state has ever attempted.

Reporter Erin Mansfield of Vermont Digger published two splendid articles that day. The first was titled “Joint Fiscal Office points to unanswered questions on all-payer model”, and the second, “How single-payer health care became a single-provider plan.”

The second published email exchanges between various participants in the process that those participants would surely rather not have seen in print.

On Wednesday afternoon I surveyed the comments on these articles received from Digger readers. The first ten comments, all critical of the All Payer scheme, earned these likes to dislikes: 60 to 0, 16 to 1, 50 to 1, 63 to 1, 42 to 1, 38 to 1, 56 to zero, 53 to zero, 21 to zero, and 22 to zero.

The second article drew fewer comments, all of them critical, and the same overwhelming like to dislike ratio.

Among the critics were a Democratic legislator, a Democratic candidate (MD), and Eric Davis, the respected middle of the road pundit from Middlebury College.

This is the most unanimous and bipartisan blowout I have seen in years of reading Digger. It looks like Peter Shumlin has really stepped in it on his way out.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 


by Matthew Strong

Montpelier’s plans for renewable energy goals seem to be limited to industrial solar farms, 400 foot wind turbines, and enormous tax increases to push people away from cheap energy sources. What if we could have local, renewable, sustainable energy, without using prime agricultural land for solar panels, leaving priceless ridgelines intact, and keep taxes lower? It is possible, and the technology and resources to make it happen are either already here or just around the corner. Instead of pushing top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions, why not let innovation and technological advancement take the lead? Increasing the portfolio of renewable, sustainable energy.

Here’s all the new technology on the way for energy independence.

  • What if every window in your home or office building generated electricity? Windows with transparent solar panels are just around the corner. There are several firms working on transparent technology for electricity generation. It is currently only available for commercial buildings, but residential is on the way!
  • Rocket stove mass heaters are the next advancement in wood fueled heating. But this jump is a big one. The science behind it allows nearly 100% burning efficiency, nearly zero particulate emission (only warm steam and a small amount of CO2), nearly zero ash, no creosote, an infinite amount of aesthetic design possibilities, low building costs, and doesn’t require highly-seasoned hardwood. The heat is stored in the mass surrounding the system which releases over time, instead of going up the chimney like wood stoves. The pioneers of the system report a typical massive reduction in wood usage, in their own home they went from 4 cords per year down to ½ cord. A Google or Youtube search will give you all you need to know. Designs range from Yurt-friendly to high-end condo-capable.

“By replacing the turbine’ blades by a sail-shaped body that enjoys high aerodynamic drag coefficient (Cd), our Zero-Blade device is capable of capturing twice as much wind kinetic energy as conventional bladed wind turbine for the same swept area.” The compact sail-shaped body could be easily identified by birds and bats as an obstacle to be avoided. This new design could be considered as a “neighborly system” with a very low acoustic and vibration emission. The Saphonian differs from the conventional wind turbines by the absence of blades as well as the inertia of a heavy rotational motion. This significantly reduces the risk of accidents due to blades breakdown, fragments injection, snow projection and even fire. Best of all, this new technology would allow preservation of our precious and tourism inducing ridgelines!

  • Bill Gates’ project is working on new technology destined for 2nd and 3rd world countries, but hopefully will circle back to the U.S. once it’s proven viable in 2030. It’s a “traveling wave reactor” (TWR) that uses depleted uranium as fuel. The TWR is not a pressurized system and overheating accidents like Fukushima cannot occur. It is safe enough that it needs no human response to safely shut down in the event of an emergency due to the laws of physics. Rather than storing nuclear waste, we could be using it for fuel, with no weapons proliferation possible. With the current depleted uranium available, with no new mining, Gates believes TWR generators could provide power to U.S. residential needs for 700 years.
  • Vermont Agency of Natural Resources estimates there to be over 1,200 dams scattered across the state, many of them un-used and in disrepair, and they want to remove them all. What if we retro-fitted them with hydro-electric generators? Experts say you need a 20ft drop in the river/stream for year round usage, and the cost is currently prohibitive due to EPA regulations. But if there were even 20-50 viable options, if you have to spend money removing them, as the agency of natural resources wants to do, why not get the double benefit of local, sustainable energy, and increased flood control as well?
  • For those concerned about using foreign oil, we have a natural gas pipeline on the way into in our state. You can get a conversion kit for your vehicle, and along with a compressor, you can have 100% American originated fuel in your commute vehicle, or even your whole transportation fleet.
  • While some of these technologies are a few years in the future, prioritizing better choices now would help reduce destruction of the nearly priceless value of resources like ridgelines and open agricultural land. Instead of using prime agricultural land for solar farms, why not use the top of large box stores and canopies of panel over their packing lots? Prioritizing micro-grid technology (individual solar, wind, partnered to the new Tesla battery packs) over large scale projects. Promoting and prioritizing net-zero buildings instead of taxes. Furthering insulation and tax credits for energy savings. Retro-fitting existing homes and buildings using already existing technology and construction personnel could reduce everyone’s bills, and there are programs out there with minimal cost to taxpayers.

Having a full portfolio of options of local, sustainable, renewable power is possible, preferable, and most importantly, within sight without the one-size-fits-all approach from Montpelier.


by John McClaughryJohn McClaughry

For years, indeed decades, Vermont’s public school Establishment has regularly found ways to put pressure on the non-sectarian independent schools that receive tuition for pupils from the 90 “tuition towns”. Why? Many within the Establishment believe that public money ought to be spent only on the (unionized) public schools, regardless of their value to the pupils. Some of them believe that parents are underqualified to make choices about their child’s education. Some of them dislike having competition.

There’s also money involved, especially when the school-age population is dropping. In 1997, when Act 60 was passed, pupils numbered 106,000. Today they are down to around 87,000. This means that public schools as a whole have accumulated underused capacity. In many cases this translates to small class sizes, a nation-leading low pupil to staff ratio (4.7:1), and very high cost per pupil – for K-12, now nearly $18,000 per year. That is 160% of the national average.

One idea for bringing in more pupil revenue to cover these stranded costs was simply to expand schooling from K-12 to PreK-12. That universal PreK idea was successfully sold between 2005 and 2014, when it was made mandatory. Another idea was to force tuition towns into unified districts, where their parents could choose only among that district’s public schools, and not independent schools (Act 46).

When the public school pupil shortage still remained, and threatened a reduced collection of union dues and agency fees, the Establishment began to try to cut off public support for tuition town pupils who chose independent (nonunionized) schools over public schools.

Last November the State Board of Education, spearheaded by the state’s foremost defender of mandatory public education against the menace of choices made by unqualified parents, Dr. William Mathis, launched a new attack. Mathis won approval of a resolution requiring, among other things, that independent schools that receive public tuition payments must offer special education services in all ten disability categories.

The four large “tuition academies” already do. The small independent schools usually can provide special education for pupils with “learning disabilities” (difficulty with reading, writing and math – 28% of the special ed population). But they can’t afford to hire the specialized expertise needed to deal with all 10 of the disability categories.

If they can’t comply, the Mathis resolution would, as intended, bar them from accepting any public money for any pupils from the 90 tuition towns. The Vermont School Boards Association, a dependable member of the Establishment coalition, is joining in support of that rule.

The obvious remedy is for Education Secretary Holcombe to put the brakes on the Board (always a touchy relationship), or legislatively override the Board, or barring that, to litigate the Board’s power to enforce the Mathis rule without explicit statutory support.

More constructively, the legislature should offer all parents of special ed pupils the choice of whatever school or program – public or independent – best serves their children’s needs.

This would be a Vermont clone of Florida’s McKay Scholarship program. This program, begun in 1999, now awards scholarship funds to 31,173 special ed (“IEP” and “504”) pupils in 1,363 independent schools. The scholarship amounts are the amounts the public schools would have spent on a participating child, up to the independent school’s tuition and fees. Since independent schools are usually less expensive than public schools, this would likely reduce overall special ed expenses.

As the (Vermont) Commission on Rebalancing Education Cost and Value reported in 2009, “With every parent empowered to choose among public and independent schools and programs, parents are able to seek out curriculum options and instructional techniques that are best fitted to their children with special needs. Instead of being consigned to a public school special education program that is viewed by a school district as secondary to its main purpose and potentially the source of lots of trouble, parents could choose independent school programs whose principal purpose is helping special needs children.”

Interestingly, the McKay Scholarship program is so popular in Florida that its rapid expansion won the support of Democrats and Republicans, whites, blacks, and Hispanics in the legislature. It has had the effect of strengthening independent schools as well as satisfying parents.

If implemented, the Mathis resolution would seriously cripple the smaller independent schools, not to benefit special ed pupils, but to protect the overgrown public school monopoly against competitors that parents believe will better serve their children. We should be rewarding creativity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction, not entrenched monopoly.

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


by Rob Roper

The Ethan Allen Institute’s radio campaign on the Carbon Tax is having an impact, as you can see from the following video clip from a recent debate between Rep. Corey Parent (R) and Mike McCarthy (D) from St. Albans. The heat is also causing some candidates who support the Carbon Tax to throw up a cloud of misinformation that needs to be addressed. McCarthy accuses EAI and others of “fear mongering,” but here are the facts…

In the first half of the clip, Parent confronts McCarthy about a postcard from VPIRG signed by McCarthy urging the recipient to support the VPIRG/Energy Independent Vermont (EIV) Carbon Tax proposal. McCarthy responds by saying, “I think there’s a difference between supporting a revenue neutral way to make sure we can fund weatherization, and to save Vermonters money, and responsible controls of pollution, and an effort on climate change.” That’s not what he supported.

Revenue Neutral. The Carbon Tax proposal put forward by VPIRG and supported by McCarthy is not revenue neutral. The bill would redirect 90% of the revenue raised back to select populations through welfare payments, tax credits, per-employee credits and a reduction in the sales and use tax from 6% to 5%. The ten percent skimmed off the top would, according to the proposal, go in part to weatherization programs as well as to subsidize renewable energy projects. But, this is an overall tax increase to fund new government programs. It is by no means revenue neutral.

Save Vermonters Money. This is flat out false. You cannot honestly take a dollar from people, give them back 90¢, and tell them they are saving money. Adding 88¢ to every gallon of gas, $1.02 to every gallon of diesel and home heating oil, etc. will create a tremendous financial burden for Vermonters, particularly the middle class who will not qualify (households earning less than $24,000/yr.) for low income rebates designed to lessen the financial blow the tax will have on the poor. It’s important to understand that even if this proposal succeeds in redistributing 90% of the revenue back to various groups, not every individual will get back 90% of what they pay in Carbon Taxes. Some will get more, most much less.

Climate Change. Implementing a Vermont Carbon Tax would have zero impact on climate trends.

Carbon Tax Testimony. McCarthy then goes on to claim that the legislation based on the VPIRG/EIV proposal “sat on the wall,” in committee. This is also false. The House Natural Resources & Energy Committee took extensive testimony over two years on the bill (here’s a clip of some of that testimony). And, as the chair of that committee, Tony Klein (D-East Montpelier) in on the record saying that passing a Carbon Tax is a three-year process. Three years is 2017. They have spent the last two years laying the groundwork for passage.

McCarthy finally calls adding an 89¢ tax to gasoline an “extreme” version of a Carbon Tax proposal, and claims to be offended for being accused of supporting something so extreme. He says, “I never supported that.” McCarthty is right about one thing: the VPIRG/EIV Carbon Tax proposal is extreme. However, it is exactly the proposal to which he gave his signature of support: An 89¢ increase for gasoline, $1.02 for diesel and home heating oil, 58¢ for natural gas and propane, similar increases for kerosene, butane and aviation gasoline. Overall, when fully implemented, $500,000,000/year tax on Vermonters trying to drive to a job, heat their homes, work the landscape, etc.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute


by Rob Roper

For the past two years, moving a Carbon Tax forward has been the focus of the House Natural Resources and Energy 6251835501_465fc6da03_bCommittee. The Vermont senate has not had much to say on the subject, focused as they were on passing laws regarding the siting of renewable energy generation facilities. That could change in a big way come January.

In a recent story by Vermont Watchdog, Senator Chris Bray (D-Addison), who chairs the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee, said that, “the principle behind a carbon tax is a moral and logical one,” and that he thinks, “it’s possible to build that cost [of burning fossil fuels] into a product [gas, diesel, heating oil, etc.] in a non-crippling way.” In other words, we should do it and we can do it. And, if you look at the renewable energy siting law Bray’s committee crafted, he doesn’t seem to care very much if Vermonters actually want to do it.

Two other potential senate changes could have major ramifications for the future of the Carbon Tax, the elections of David Zuckerman to the lieutenant governorship, and that of Rep. Chris Pearson to the Senate in November.

If Zuckerman wins his bid against Randy Brock, he will preside over the senate and sit on the Committee on Committees, which determines who holds critical leadership positions. Zuckerman is an outspoken proponent of the Carbon Tax, has produced a video endorsement featuring himself and environmental extremist Bill McKibben, and spoken himself in support of the Carbon Tax at a Vermont 350 rally last fall.

Pearson is the lead sponsor on one of the two pieces of Carbon Tax legislation that were in the House last session, and he is a founding member of the House Climate Caucus.

These three people in these three positions – Lt. Governor presiding over the senate, chairman of the Senate Natural Resource & Energy Committee, and a lead legislative organizer for the Carbon Tax moving from the house to the senate, would mean you can count on the Carbon Tax being front and center in the Senate in 2017.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.


by John McClaughry

I was leafing through my old Vermont Digger comments the other day and found this one in December 2015 about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for transportation fuels, nine months before Sue Minter embraced it:

Advocate Gina Campoli: “One thing this is not about is a gas tax,” she said. “This is about looking reasonably at market-based solutions like a cap-and-trade program like we already have for electricity.”

Why can’t these people stop themselves from lying? Of course it’s a gas tax, to drain dollars from gasoline and diesel powered drivers to subsidize electric vehicles, charging stations, and who knows what else. Since California is using its sale of “allowances” to support passenger rail – its fantastically expensive high speed train from Bakersfield to Merced – maybe Vermont will use its new gas tax swag to haul the teeming masses by heavily subsidized rail from Rutland to Burlington, if there are any.

One of the (few) arguments for an ideal carbon tax is that it allows scrapping all those complicated and corruption-prone cap and trade schemes. But now the transportation sector people hatch their own new cap and trade scheme to make sure that their sector gets more of the carbon-fuel tax dollars, which otherwise would go to home insulators and the renewable industrial complex that’s funding the current carbon tax push.

What we are seeing is a climate change feeding frenzy to force Vermonters to supply many more millions – $500 million a year by 2027 in the carbon tax bill – to finance every scheme for defeating “climate change” that can get its foot in the revenue door.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.


By Rob Roper Rob Roper

Back in December of 2014 Rep. Tony Klein (D-East Montpelier), chair of the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee, gave an interview about Carbon Tax legislation he planned to take up. Klein admitted he did not expect a bill to pass in 2015 or even 2016, stating, “It’s at least a three-year process,” and that “you don’t [pass a massive tax increase] in an election year.”

Well, after we get past this election year of 2016, we’ll be coming up on three years into the process of passing a Carbon Tax that would add 88¢ to every gallon of gasoline, $1.02 to every gallon of diesel and home heating oil, with similar increases for natural gas, propane, kerosene, butane and aviation fuel. Should Vermonters be worried? Absolutely.

Klein’s committee has been taking testimony on the Carbon Tax with the objective of building a case and garnering support for its passage for the past two years. The groundwork has been laid.

VPIRG, arguably the most powerful lobbying organization in the State House with an overall annual budget of roughly $2.5 million, has made passage of a Carbon Tax a top priority. They’ve spent the past two summers sending people door to door to advocate for a Vermont Carbon Tax in anticipation of the 2017 push, and they hired a full time employee/lobbyist to advocate solely for the Carbon Tax and to organize a coalition of organizations to make the Carbon Tax a reality.

That twenty-member coalition of special interest groups now calls itself Energy Independent Vermont (EIV), and contains such organizations as the Conservation Law Foundation, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Gund Institute of UVM, and the Vermont Natural Resources council. The financial and lobbying power of this coalition is massive in its parts, but Energy Independent Vermont also has its own full time executive director in Thomas Hughes. It’s worth noting that Hughes is the former executive director of the Vermont Democrat Party.

EIV commissioned a study of how the Carbon Tax would be good for Vermont. This study was paid for in part by David Blittersdorf of All Earth Renewables. Again worth noting, if the Carbon Tax were put into effect as proposed, ten percent of the money raised would be earmarked to subsidize renewable energy businesses like Blittersdorf’s, and he has a pretty good track record of getting what he wants out of the Vermont legislature. He’s a major donor to the majority party.

Some of Blittersdorf’s donations this cycle include $10,000 to the Vermont State Democratic Committee in February 2015, and two $5000 donations to the same in July of this year. He also made a maximum $4000 contribution to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter.

Bernie Sanders promises to also be a major factor in advancing a Vermont Carbon Tax. Sanders was instrumental in getting support for a carbon tax placed in the National Democratic Party platform. It is a priority issue for him, and he is using his new-found political muscle to help elect Vermont candidates who will further his agenda here at home. Two of those whom Sanders has endorsed are Chris Pearson, a Progressive house member trying to move up to the senate, and David Zuckerman, a Progressive senator running for Lieutenant Governor.

Zuckerman is an outspoken advocate for the Carbon Tax. In October 2015, he publicly endorsed the Carbon Tax from the stage at a VPIRG/350 Vermont rally put on in support of the legislation. If wins in November, Zuckerman will function as president of the senate, and would be influential in naming committee chairs. Pearson, for whom Sanders helped raise $80,000 in two days, is the lead sponsor of H. 395 – An Act Relating to Establishing a Carbon Pollution Tax, and founder of the 40 member Climate Caucus, which supports passage of a Carbon Tax.

Climate Caucus member Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier) summed up the mindset of these legislators ihotwaterheaterpilotlight07n an August 2016 interview with VPR: “’The issue of climate change is the most profound issue of our time, and I personally believe that we have a moral imperative to act,’ Hooper says. Hooper says the concept of a carbon-pollution tax has wide support among the 40-member Climate Caucus in Montpelier, which is made up of Democrats and Progressives…. ‘I think that we have to, we have to step up to it, and show leadership in this area.’” They will be actively pushing for a Carbon Tax in January.

So, depending upon how the election goes in November, we could be looking at a sympathetic governor, and outright advocate in the lieutenant governor, and a forty member legislative Caucus pushing for a Carbon Tax, all driven forward by a large, powerful, well-funded coalition of special interest groups committed to making the Carbon Tax happen. That sounds like a plan to me.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute ( He lives in Stowe.


by Steven Yaskell

Climate is dynamic. There’s no scientific proof that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels are correlated to temperature fluctuations outside of non-dynamic climate models. These non-dynamic computer models logarithmically assume a steady-state atmospheric temperature rise with increasing CO2. In this theoretical world, the sun as a dynamic, magnetic component influencing our atmosphere doesn’t exist. (Neither for that matter do dynamic geophysical aspects influencing climate exist for these modelers.)  Applying the sun’s influence to climate models, however, gets a result showing no connection between temperature and CO2 rise, whatever the source of CO2 either natural or manmade.  Frankly, even these dynamic calculations are just computer modeling – not scientific “proof.”

There is, however, Archaeo-climate research in which isotopes reveal past Earth climates as being not only hotter but as also containing even more CO2 in the air than we have now. These scientific solutions get shouted down. CO2 effects on atmospheric conditions, in oceans regarding living things as well as temperature, and earth surface conditions, can all be challenged effectively by observation and measurement of other natural phenomena. Besides, the natural CO2 input to our biosphere can’t be separated from that of humans. Ultimately, CO2 is literally the “air” plants need in the process of respiration that results in Oxygen and Nitrogen. We as well as all animal life need these latter gases in order to exist.

There is a clear bias in government funding of climate studies. Scientists applying for government atmospheric science grants focused on “how humanity is negatively affecting the climate via humanity’s CO2 production” nearly always get funded. The counter theories are ignored at best, actively squashed at worst. This one-sided “paper-mass” certainly doesn’t make right — but it does make “might.”

The systematic exclusion of dynamic modeling represents a “cherry-picking” designed to fit prearranged expectations: it’s not science. The scientific community gets put up to this by influential politicians and billionaire supporters who are quite literally paying them — often lucratively — to do so. A big reason for this is political desire to support renewable energy special interests and government revenue schemes such as “carbon taxes.” If we allow politics and special interests to hijack legitimate science for these purposes, what will be the next aim?

A peer-reviewer of a co-authored book of mine and a wise man, indeed, Dr. Richard Lindzen, once said “whoever controls carbon controls life.” Because carbon, ultimately, is you. We are all carbon-based life forms, which, I guess, makes us pollution in the eyes of these folks. There may be legitimate reasons for and means of levying taxes on fossil fuels, but the concept of a “Carbon Tax” is semantically pretty frightening. Is this potential label due merely to idealistic zeal?  I’ll wager the labelers aren’t scientists, but they aren’t stupid, either.

The debate over CO2’s influence on climate has been ongoing internationally for decades. During this period, very reliable satellite data shows no earth surface warming since circa 1998. Yet advocates keep the bogeyman of surface warming alive with sideshow issues (“severe weather”; National Weather Service surface-temperature jiggling the “hottest year evers”; “97 % of scientists agree” etc.). Richly funded and elaborately organized, this movement crudely challenges any critique of their agenda. They have put a choke-hold on state and federal climate policies. They have brought the issue of climate change and CO2 to the forefront of our political agenda. The question we should be asking now is, how necessary is it?

Steven Haywood Yaskell authored and coauthored two books detailing solar effects on climate and has addressed man-made climate change politics in a paper for the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI). He lives in Mount Holly.



by Rob Roper

The VPIRG led coalition group, Energy Independent Vermont, put out a video pushing for a Vermont Carbon Tax (they don’t call it that) ahead of this November’s election. It just over a minute and a half long, and contains a truly stupefying amount of misleading and outright false information.

Here are some of the things they say, followed by a more accurate representation of reality…

“Save money on household energy bills.” No, this program is part of an overall campaign to force Vermonters away from cheaper, more reliable sources of energy and onto more expensive, politically correct sources of energy. You can debate the merits of renewable energy, but you cannot honestly say this policy will save Vermonters money. It will cost us more both in taxes and in the prince of energy.

“Set up an energy independence fund”… Translation: Create a $50 million per year government slush fund that will be used to subsidize politically connected millionaires in the renewable energy and weatherization business. This rent seeking at the heart of why they are pushing for the carbon tax.

“Will cut taxes for all Vermonters.” This is just a lie. The plan Energy Independent Vermont is advocating for calls for redistributing 90% of the revenue collected from the Carbon Tax to select Vermonters via a variety of rebates, welfare programs, and lowering the state sales and use tax from 6% to 5%. Even if these promises were to come to full fruition, collecting a dollar in taxes then returning 90¢ of it is in no way, shape, or form a tax cut. It is a tax increase, and claiming otherwise is flagrantly dishonest.

“Move the [tax] burden to something we want less of: carbon pollution.” In real world terms that something is driving to work, transporting goods and services, taking kids to school, soccer games and ballet lessons, operating farm equipment, keeping warm in winter, etc. Are these things we really want less of?

“We’ll require the companies that import fossil fuels to pay a gradually rising price on carbon pollution. We’re sure they’ll pass along some of this cost to us, probably only a few pennies per gallon a year.” No, they will pass all of the tax on to us at the rate of 88¢ per gallon of gasoline (roughly $15 per full tank in your average car), $1.02 per gallon of diesel or home heating oil, 58¢ per gallon of propane and natural gas, with similar increases for butane, kerosene and aviation fuel. This is not “a few pennies.”

Will Save Us Money.” This is as laughable as it is dishonest. We will pay more in taxes and pay more for energy.

“Make Vermont more energy independent.” What does this even mean? Are we less “independent” as a state because we buy hydro from Quebec or nuclear power from Seabroook in New Hampshire? There is no value in a small state ill suited to producing electricity attempting to do so locally when cheaper, more reliable sources are available just across our borders.

A big step in the right direction. A Carbon Tax is a big step, alright… right into a big, steaming pile of the stuff this video is spewing.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 


Our friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute have put together a great video twist on the famous. free market essay, “I, Pencil” by Leonard Read. This new video is titled “I, Whiskey,” and gives a great overview of how liberty is at the root of innovation, cooperation, diversity, and progress. And, it’s about whiskey. So, awesome….

I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit

Bonus Content

Inspired by whiskey’s rich history and tradition, I, Whiskey: The Human Spirithighlights how commerce creates human connection.

Whiskey is a distinct spirit—it is science, chance, time, risk, ingenuity, love, intensity—all in a glass, when it’s done right. And like America itself, whiskey is equally known and appreciated for its diversity and individual expression. The story of whiskey is a story of entrepreneurs, scientists, and bootleggers and the whiskey they produce—a rebel spirit renowned for its individuality and colorful history. I, Whiskey is the story of the human spirit, ingenuity, and the forces that have shaped whiskey and society for ages.

The history of whiskey is also the story of freedom—the freedom to connect and create. From the farmers and distillers to the restaurant owners, consumers, and beyond, whiskey shows us how people create value for each other.

I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit celebrates human creativity and craft. Cheers to the makers!

Produced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Passing Lane Films, I, Whiskeyfeatures interviews and footage from Catoctin Creek Distillery, Copper Fox Distillery, and Jack Rose Dining Saloon.

Follow @iwhiskeyspirit on Twitter

Watch I, Whiskey on YouTube

Sign up for I, Whiskey news

Watch Parties:

Please join our friends, family, and fellow whiskey lovers around the world to celebrate I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit!

National I, Whiskey Watch Party
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 


Regardless of where you live, join our fans in helping us spread the word about I, Whiskey and toasting to creativity, ingenuity, and the human spirit. Tweet your party photos or share your own favorite whiskey toast, tagged with #iwhiskey.

Want to host a watch party?

Sign up with this form, and we’ll email you our I, Whiskey Party Kit to help make your event special. Even if you’re busy on Whiskey Wednesday October 19th, tell us when you will be watching the film so we can track the celebrations!

Join the Team:

For more information about how to get involved with CEI’s I, Whiskey project contact: Amanda France at

Support I, Whiskey through a donation to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Donate Today!

Follow @iwhiskeyspirit on Twitter

Watch I, Whiskey on YouTube

Sign up for I, Whiskey news


About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

Latest News

10-27-16 – Shumlin Steps In It With All Payer

by John McClaughry                 On Wednesday Gov. Shumlin and the Green Mountain Care Board hastily signed the All Payer waiver agreement with...

10-26-16 – Energy Independence Is Possible Without Taxes, Giant Wind Turbines, or Solar Farms.

by Matthew Strong Montpelier’s plans for renewable energy goals seem to be limited to industrial solar farms, 400 foot wind turbines, and enormous tax increases to push people...

10-24-16 – Fact Checking Mike McCarthy’s Carbon Tax “Fear Mongering” Charge

by Rob Roper The Ethan Allen Institute’s radio campaign on the Carbon Tax is having an impact, as you can see from the following video clip from a...

10-20-16 – The Senate and the Carbon Tax

by Rob Roper For the past two years, moving a Carbon Tax forward has been the focus of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. The Vermont senate...

10-19-16 – Transportation RGGI Is A Gas Tax

by John McClaughry I was leafing through my old Vermont Digger comments the other day and found this one in December 2015 about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative...