October 4, 2019

by Rob Roper

Between 2013 and 2018 Vermont’s climate change activists were pushing hard for a statewide Carbon Tax. The first serious attempt, the VPIRG/REMI version, flamed out after a couple of years when Vermonters decided they didn’t want to pay roughly an extra dollar per gallon for gasoline and home heating fuel. It ended in the blow out election of Governor Phil Scott, who successfully tagged his opponent, Sue Minter, with the “carbon taxer” label, and the loss of a handful of house seats held by carbon tax advocates.

In 2018 the ESSEX Plan emerged as a supposedly kinder, gentler carbon tax. It lasted about three months into that year’s legislative session before people realized it was basically a wealth transfer from low-income Vermonters to the wealthy. As such, it became totally and deservedly, politically radioactive.

In 2019, all was relatively quiet. Wounds were licked in private. Plans hatched behind the scenes. But no meaningful legislation came up for debate in any meaningful forum. This was the calm before the final storm.

The Climate Strike in September was the opening primal scream in what promises to be an all-in banzai charge to turn Vermont into a Green Police State. WCAX reported that activists and lawmakers from the Climate Solutions Caucus met in Richmond this week to push five – not one, but five – pieces of climate change legislation:

…the Carbon Tax, the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Renewable Electricity Standard, the Energy Efficiency Utility Modernization, and the Transportation and Climate Initiative Authorization. The panel of lawmakers said these are bold pieces of legislation that they feel confident about. (WCAX, 10/3/19)

The Global Warming Solutions Act (S.173) would, in a nutshell, turn Vermont’s CO2 emissions goals into mandates, enforceable through “rules” made not by the legislature, but delegated to the unelected Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. Those goals currently are that Vermont will be 50% below our 1990 CO2 output level by 2028. As of 2015, with all the Green Initiatives and spending and virtue signaling, 16% above our 1990 level. What kinds of “rules” could possibly reverse this trend? Who knows (we can imagine), but they would have to be pretty severe – hence our description as a Green Police State.

For example, they would have to be stringent enough to put 90,000 electric vehicles on Vermont roads by 2025. Keep in mind that the twenty-two years since the introduction of the Prius in 1997, along with all the incentive subsidies for EVs, have resulted in just about 3000 electric vehicles on Vermont roads today.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative is a regional compact that would, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (ReGGI) did for power generation, put caps on transportation emissions and anyone exceeding those caps would have to purchase offsets. This would be a nightmare to enforce, and is a carbon tax on gasoline and diesel in disguise. Governor Scott called it as such during his 2016 campaign, but now has his Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Peter Walke, out on the PR circuit singing the program’s praises.

The other initiatives are expansions of existing programs, such as larger green energy mandates and expanding the mission of Efficiency Vermont. So, how would you possibly pay for all the programs and subsides necessary to make this happen? Well, you’d need to have a Carbon Tax, naturally!

All of this is the political equivalent a banzai charge. Frustrated and losing, the carbon tax warriors have come screaming out of their trenches into the streets (literally) in a last ditch, desperate effort to snatch victory from the jaws of repeated defeat. If those on the other end of the charge are demoralized and disorganized, the charge will be successful. But if opponents stand strong, keep their heads, and meet chargers head on… well, let’s just say the strategic use of banzai tactics was the opposite of successful for the Japanese in World War II.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

 

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September 30, 2019

by John McClaughry

Economist Stephen Moore, who I have known for years, recently called attention to threats by Beijing to cut off American access to critical mineral imports. “Today,” he writes, “the United States is 90% dependent on China and Russia for many vital rare earth minerals.”

“The main reason for our over-reliance on nations like China for these minerals is not that we are running out of these resources here at home. The mining isn’t happening because of extremely prohibitive environmental rules and a permitting process that can take five to 10 years to open a new mine.”

“What they may not realize is that the de facto mining prohibitions jeopardize the “Green Energy Revolution” that liberals are so desperately seeking. Making renewable energy at all technologically plausible will require massive increases in the supply of rare earth and critical minerals. Without these valuable metals, there will not be more efficient 21st-century batteries for electric cars or modern solar panels.”

“Yet, for decades now, environmentalists have erected every possible barrier to mining here in America for critical minerals.”

“Thanks to the extreme environmentalists, we import from unfriendly and repressive governments the critical minerals needed to produce rechargeable batteries (lithium and cobalt), wind turbine motors (dysprosium), thin films for solar power (tellurium) and miniature sensors that manage the performance of electric vehicles (yttrium).”

The Green New Deal enthusiasts need to start paying attention to the real world.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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September 27, 2019

by John Klar

Social media has amplified society’s cultural upheaval, increasing anxiety and depression in American children.  Adults have foisted the entire globe’s problems on a small group of so-called youth activists.  This unprecedented politicization of America’s children is causing irrevocable psychological damage.

Vermont is the petri dish where progressive experiments are easily conducted on children, whether it is widespread displays of Black Lives Matter flags in schools, transgender surgeries for children, or third-trimester abortions.  Youth are encouraged in Vermont to protest, by numerous organizations, teachers, and government officials.  They protest race, gender, guns, nudity, marijuana, and border children. Currently, there is a week-long protest to rescue the planet from climate change.

But these young people are not being taught to change the world.  They are being made anxious, barraged with dire warnings about the imminent end of the planet.  Mobilizing them through fear is reckless endangerment of an entire generation, solely on left-wing ideological grounds.

Author Wendell Berry admonished such adults in his essay “Discipline and Hope”:

…these older people have been remarkably uncritical of the young, and so have abdicated their major responsibility to them. Some appear to have joined the younger generation, buying their way in by conniving in the myth that idealistic youth can do no wrong — or that one may reasonably hope to live without difficulty or effort or tragedy….

(A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural, Harvest/HBJ, San Diego, 1972, pp. 106-107).

But Mr. Berry warned of another danger we see today, in

….the illusion that this is a wholly new generation, a generation free from history. The proposition is dangerously silly…. Like every other young generation, this one bears the precious human burden of new possibility and new hope, the opportunity to put its inheritance to better use. And like every other, it also bears the germs of historical error and failure and weakness — which it rarely forgives in its predecessors, and seldom recognizes in itself.  

Vermont’s adults are not cautioning the young against their own failures and weakness — they are instead causing them anxiety which will make them weaker and more likely to fail.

Studies demonstrate that anxiety and depression undermine children’s abilities to learn, and to function socially.  The histrionics about “climate change emergency” in recent years is having a profound negative impact on young people.  Whether or not anthropomorphic climate change will end the planet in a mere few years, the bombastic eco-litany of impending doom would make a Fire and Brimstone sermon refreshing.

One site counsels how to approach the subject with children:

Surveys indicate that not only is global warming on our children’s minds, it is scaring them. One report found that approximately half of the children surveyed, ages seven to 11, were anxious about climate change and often lost sleep over it. Another study showed that children ages 11 to 14 were more concerned about climate change than they were about their homework. Wow!….It is never a good idea to shelter our children from the world because when they do learn what is really going on, they will most likely struggle even more so. However, there are some ways to handle the climate change and natural disaster topics carefully so that our children do not form a major case of eco-anxiety before they graduate from elementary school.

Yes, there is a name for this anxiety in the children being marched out to protest, and there can be no question that the liberal media panic has contributed:

At least partially to blame — for better or for worse — are the increasingly vocal activists rallying the public against climate change…..“Adults keep saying, we owe it to the young people to give them hope,” Thunberg said during a speech at last year’s global school strike against climate change. “But I don’t want your hope, I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic.”….We don’t yet have exact numbers of how many people feel overwhelmed by eco-anxiety. The phenomenon has also not yet officially been classified as a mental illness, since its cause is “rational,” according to CPA members.

But rather than teach children to cope with the inevitable threats of the world, today’s adults are teaching them to “be afraid: be very afraid,” and that the way to release these tensions is … to protest!

Children and teens are generally more likely to accept the scientific consensus — widespread agreement — about humanity’s role in climate change…. Many kids also worry about how the impacts of climate change are expected to only worsen….“They look at the generation ahead of them that could have taken action and didn’t,” she says. This can trigger feelings of anger, grief, resentment, fear, frustration and being overwhelmed. Not every young person will feel these emotions. But for many, the feelings can get in the way of their general well-being. Young people “have to let those feelings out,” she says.

An ominous slogan has gained currency in this bizarre milieu: “Live Green or Die!”  Children are attaching their futures entirely to the direst of predictions — at least the 1950s students had some hope with “Duck and Cover!”  Yet the science of how long it will take for humans to destroy the planet earth — if they are destroying it — is far from clear, as professor Jordan Peterson passionately explains.

Further clouding policy direction is the inherent inequity of all such efforts.  While these teacher-herded students howl for a carbon tax, their adult handlers have not uttered a peep against the sprawling lawns that require some 2.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually; the fireworks displays that spew tons of toxified carbon from China for solely recreational purposes, while killing or injuring thousands of children; the 91.7 million acres of corn planted in the United States annually (to produce high-fructose corn syrup for the children to slurp up at protests); the exotic cars, swimming pools and other luxury planet-destroyers that go unquestioned.  Indeed, a large “Live Green or Die” banner in Randolph, Vermont was conspicuous this week for its backdrop — the golden arches of MacDonald’s!

As Wendell Berry observed of the 1960s, “…the youth culture still supports its own forms of consumerism….” The Hippies went on to populate suburbia and Silicon Valley, to design new medications for their heart disease and sexual impotency, to become the old people who today command the young to stir up — and then clean up — the mess.  But today’s young have become exponentially greater consumers — they demand universal internet access, eco-destroying cell phones, high-calorie industrial foods that aggravate the obesity caused by anxiety.  More, these children consume drugs for ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, hormone therapy, and suboxone — and they are now charged to solve the carbon problem and all other challenges.

The key to reducing the destruction of the planet is personal responsibility.  Lowering personal consumption, by personal conscience and choice, is the only effective means to constructively alter human behavior — government mandate rarely works.  Instead, those who recklessly thrust terrified children into a manufactured climate “crisis” embrace government as the arbiter of responsibility.  This is the difference between “Live Free or Die” and “Live Green or Die”: the first is a call to personal responsibility; the second a threat of totalitarian domination by robotized children.

John Klar is a farmer and an attorney. farmerjohnklar@gmail.com. This article was originally published in American Thinker. Reprinted here with permission. 

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September 26, 2019

by John McClaughry

Last week’s Climate Strike mercifully stopped short of massive civil disobedience, but it’s worth taking a look at the organization that collaborated with 350.org and VPIRG to train Vermont youths to do that. Ken Braun has done  that in a recent report from the Capital Research Center.

Last April the UK based Extinction Rebellion – known as XR – was already strong enough to deploy thousands of demonstrators onto the streets of London. In the process, they invaded a handful of major traffic thoroughfares, blocked them, and held them for eleven days. The uprising snarled traffic, required the deployment of 10,000 police officers… and led to more than 1,100 arrests.”

“Extinction Rebellion announced its goal to ‘shut down London.’ It turned up the heat and called for reinforcements: ‘This movement is the best chance we have of bringing down capitalism. Get on board…’ That last, perhaps too-revealing tweet was later deleted.”

“Another April entry from the XR Twitter account quotes an opinion piece from the Guardian: ‘Our choice comes down to this. Do we stop life to allow capitalism to continue, or stop capitalism to allow life to continue?’”

“Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam declared  ‘We are going to force the governments to act. And if they don’t we will bring them down and create a democracy fit for purpose. And yes, some may die in the process.’”

Vermont’s ingenuous climate protestors, and their enablers at 350.org and VPIRG,  should rethink their alliance with radical revolutionary groups like XR.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

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September 25, 2019

by Rob Roper

The events of this week’s Climate Strike demonstrate that we do have a real and serious crisis on our hands. No, it’s not impending environmental catastrophe, it is the evident psychological damage being systematically inflicted on our children.

Scott McKay, writing in The American Spectator, sums up the problem very well:

What we know about this And A Child Shall Lead Them fraud is that it’s the product of a widespread, persistent, and highly destructive indoctrination effort by the global Left in our schools and pop culture, so much so that it has caused mass hysteria among kids. A Rasmussen poll recently found that half of Americans under 35 believe the “mass extinction” Thunberg prattled on about is coming within 10 or 15 years, despite zero evidence anything like it is coming. And what do you get when you’re that successful in selling the (Earth’s) sizzle? Jon Gabriel at Ricochet delivers the bill:

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly one-third of all 13- to 18-year olds will experience an anxiety disorder. The numbers continue to go up; between 2007 and 2012, anxiety in children and teens rose 20 percent.

The suicide rate for young Americans is now the highest ever recorded. Between 2000 and 2017, the number of suicides has doubled for females aged 15 to 24. Males between 15 and 19 killed themselves at a rate of 17.9 per 100,000, up from 13 per 100,000 in 2000.

Is that all from global warming hysteria? No, but it’s part of an abusive environment created within education and pop culture — worse in Europe than here, to be sure — that is targeted, relentlessly, toward wearing down to the nub the people who should be grateful for the bounty a market economy has delivered, and thus making them, in the words of Ming the Merciless, “satisfied with less.”

The worst case scientifically based scenarios (as opposed to totally made up doomsday predictions) put forward by the most alarmist activists indicate that by the turn of the next century Vermont will have a climate similar to somewhere between Pennsylvania and North Carolina. That would be different, for sure, but not a recipe for “mass extinction.” No sane, educated person thinks that the earth will literally be on fire in twelve years. (Or is it eleven now?) But lots of our kids do believe these things – and, as we just witnessed, are being terrified by them!

Actively keeping children in a constant state of fear, paranoia, and hopelessness is not education, it is not an expression of concern, it is a manipulative tactic to control. It is cruel. It is destructive.

This mass case of child abuse should not be allowed to continue. The people doing this to our kids – activists, teachers, politicians, the media (both entertainment and news) need to be stopped. That is the challenge the adults need to pick up and carry out if we want to leave the next generation with a genuinely healthy, happy and bright future.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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by John McClaughry

As this Global Climate Strike week moves forward, let me share an interesting perspective on the “defeat climate change” movement from somebody who believes in all the climate apocalypse hype – but seems to have suddenly awakened to the interests promoting it.

Michael Donnelly is a forty-year veteran of environmental activism. He is a longtime friend of left wing film producer Michael Moore and his director Jeff Gibbs, who have just released a documentary titled “Planet of the Humans”. Donnelly calls it “the most dismaying Eco-documentary of the century.”

Since the facts about Earth’s impending human-caused fate were clear, at least to them, Donnelly and Gibbs couldn’t understand “why are we losing?” Their conclusion is that “we have been following corporation/foundation-financed Democratic Party-tied misleadership.”

“Forget all you have heard about how Renewable Energy is our salvation. It is a myth that is very lucrative for some. [Take] feel-good stuff like electric cars, [the current Big Idea of Vermont enviros].  Such vehicles are actually powered by coal, natural gas… or dead salmon in the Northwest”. (That seems to be a reference to Big Hydro).

The Planet film correctly explains how “all alternative energy itself is fossil-fuel based… Solar panels themselves are made with metallurgical coal and quartz – both derived from blowing up mountains… The same with wind and even hydro and nukes as the essential major ingredient in the creation of cement and steel is coal.

“None of these technologies existed nor could they exist, without fossil fuels. The grid cannot even operate without fossil fuel-derived steam-generated baseloads. In the spring when the hydro is surging, the Bonneville Power Administration cuts off wind power and still has to keep the Boardman Coal Plant (Oregon’s top carbon polluter) running in order to balance the baseload.”

Then comes the dagger: “We have to hold the bad actors on ‘our’ side’s feet to the fire, as well, if we are to survive this one.” The film shows Bill McKibben Al Gore, Richard Branson, and Robert Kennedy Jr. speaking to environmentalists, and then clips of them speaking to industry about all the profits to be made.” Michael Bloomberg “basically bought the Sierra Club with tens of millions in donations tied to the Club promoting one of his cash cows, fracked natural gas, as the ‘Bridge Fuel to a Green Energy Future.’”

I’m pleased that some on the Left have (at last) perceived the hypocrisies and self-interested motives of “the Climate Campaign industry”. And it doesn’t bother me that  profit-motivated entrepreneurs step forward to invest in products and services that the public wants.

Take an historical example: shipbuilding in WWII. America entered a war. The government needed ships. Henry Kaiser built a mammoth shipyard in Richmond, California and turned out 1,490 “Liberty Ships”. Kaiser made money (and also pioneered employee health care coverage), and America won the war. Fair enough.

The key point here is that Kaiser didn’t lobby Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor, so he could build ships and make money. In the modern climate example, the “Climate Campaign Industry” spends untold millions lobbying the public and the government to set up and fill a feeding trough of special deals to enrich the Industry.

The classic example is the current cornucopia of subsidies for Big Wind – notably the 2.3 cents per kwhr Production Tax Credit – and Big Solar. Without the taxpayer-financed lifeblood of those fiercely lobbied subsidies, there wouldn’t be enough demand to enrich a renewable energy “Industry”.

Here’s an apt conclusion from a major industrialist:” If the market signaled that consumers value energy from solar panels more than energy from oil and gas, the solar energy industry wouldn’t need to pursue profits by political means, in seeking subsidies from energy consumers and taxpayers. The solar power industry, like every business, should strive to profit by economic means instead of coercive ones.” That’s from Charles G. Koch, from his book Good Profit (2015).

Donnelly, who despises the Koch Brothers as the incarnation of capitalist evil, tells us that the Koch Brothers are hypocritically “the top beneficiaries of tax subsidies to promote solar.” The truth is that the Koch Brothers have outspokenly opposed solar subsidies, and their grassroots political arm, Americans for Prosperity, has actively battled against those subsidies in Washington and in the states.

In any case, Planet of the Humans will do a service by exposing the hypocrisies of the climate-crazed Left, and the inescapable fact that the Renewable Industry is founded on cheap fossil fuels. Its solution?  Donnelly says only that the film “opens up the discussion”, and he can’t bring himself to utter the word “nuclear”.

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

 

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The week of Sept. 20-27 has been dubbed by several activist, special interest and lobbyist organizations as a “Global Climate Strike and Week of Action.” The idea is to convince a bunch of people to walk off their jobs, block traffic, picket offices and businesses, and generally disrupt the rest of the citizenry from being able to function in their daily lives — effectively holding peace, tranquility and freedom of movement hostage in exchange for a radical “Green New Deal” type agenda.

The big problem here is that the shock troops in this strike are expected to be public school students who will march out of class in order to participate in the mayhem. In many cases, if not most or all, the kids will be taking part with the encouragement and facilitation of teachers and administrators on the public dime. This is not OK.

First of all, the kinds of demonstrations being called for — along the lines of what we’ve recently seen with the blocking of the Strolling of the Heifers parade, shouting down business on the floor of the State House, and stopping traffic in Montpelier — are illegal. Those taking part are subject to arrest. It is totally irresponsible for public school officials to aid and abet their students in breaking the law.

In addition to potential legal jeopardy, instigating physical confrontations with people and machines — which is what you’re doing when you block traffic or otherwise stop someone from going from point A to point B — can be dangerous. Some activists could take things too far, or unwilling victims of the protest might overreact, resulting in violent injury. Again, school officials charged with keeping children safe should not be involving students in this kind of activity.

And lastly, what we’re witnessing here is the abandonment of an educational mission in favor of political indoctrination. It’s not just climate change. Over the past year we have seen elementary, middle and high school students encouraged by their teachers to walk out of class over gun control, racism, gender politics — anything to get out of learning (and apparently teaching) algebra.

If these students were being exposed to all sides of these issues, weighing the evidence pro and con, reaching their own conclusions, and then protesting on their own time, that would be one thing. But that’s not what’s happening. They are being told one side of the story, and other arguments are either absent or, worse, being mocked by the people in charge. That’s not education, that’s propaganda.

What we will witness on Sept. 20 and the following week is public schools being willingly co-opted by special interest groups so that children can be exploited by adults in order to push a partisan political agenda. This comes at the expense of the children’s real education. They are not being taught how to think, they are being told what to think, and then what to do.

Is this really what we are paying some of the highest property taxes in the nation and, by some estimates, $22,000 a year per child for? Brainwashed children pouring out of their classrooms to disrupt our daily lives on behalf of political lobbyists? For parents and taxpayers, there’s a hefty combination of insult and injury wrapped up in this equation! For the children, it’s just a sad waste of their true potential.

The solution to this problem is statewide, parent-driven school choice with the money following the child. If you want a school to turn your kid into a left-wing activist playing in traffic, fine. But if you don’t, as a parent you should have the right and the ability to choose a school that reflects your values and priorities. Parents who think schools should be focused on teaching their children reading, writing, math, etc. (and are wondering why our student proficiency levels stink) should speak out and demand the right to move their children somewhere else.

The public school system is a monopoly, accountable in reality only to the politicians who control the flow of tax dollars into its coffers. This unhealthy dynamic is at the root of why we are seeing an increasingly political agenda replace traditional education in our public schools. It’s time to break up that monopoly and make the schools accountable not to politicians, but to parents and students through school choice. That’s something to think about when you’re stuck in traffic on the way to work because a dozen eighth graders have chained themselves together in the middle of the highway.

— Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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September 23, 2019

by Rob Roper

On Friday, a hoard of mostly public school students, arms twisted to skip algebra class to go outside on a beautiful day, spilled into the streets in order to block traffic and generally disrupt to the extent possible the daily lives of hardworking citizens. This protest is organized by lobbyist and special interest groups such as Bill McKibben’s 350VT and VPIRG. The idea is to give the impression that a majority of Vermonters demands bold action on climate change now. But it really illustrates the opposite.

Yes, a few thousand people took part in the protests (again, mostly school kids given the chance to skip class), but this represents a very small percentage of Vermont’s 620,000 residents.

This strike is a grand temper tantrum raging at the fact that most people do not, in fact, agree with the protesters’ alarmist views on climate. If a majority, or even a respectably large vocal minority, did agree the highly sympathetic Vermont legislature with supermajorities in both the house and senate would have passed the package of demanded reforms faster than you can say “ALGORE.” They didn’t. Not because they don’t want to, but because they know that if they did the overwhelming majority of voters would skin them alive at the polls come November 2020.

The questions for tomorrow and beyond are A) if the sane majority of Vermonters can be intimidated and/or duped by this display of mob outrage, and B) if the sympathetic legislature will attempt to use this as cover for passing an agenda most Vermonters want no part of.

The answers to both questions lie with the silent majority. Personally, I think the strike and following week of action will backfire on the protesters. Making somebody wait in traffic for however long as they are trying to get to work, make it to an appointment at the DMV or the doctor, or go to the post office is not going to inspire affection. Moreover, Vermonters have historically been proud of “The Vermont Way” of conducting politics, which is civilly and respectfully. There is nothing civil or respectful about “disrupting” daily life.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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September 20, 2019

By David Flemming

Vermont lost more than twice as many people to distant, less taxed states than it gained from mostly neighboring states that were taxed about the same as Vermont. That’s what the migration data from the Internal Revenue Service’s Statistics of Income (IRS SOI) and tax burden data from Wallethub tells us.

Between 2010 and 2016 Vermont lost nearly 7000 people on net to 41 states. 1 in 4 of these Vermonters moved to Florida, home of the 0% income tax and balmy beaches.

What makes this interesting is that the comparing these side by side with the “state and local tax burden.” While we already know that Vermont has one of the highest property tax rates in the country, the tax burden metric gives us a better idea of how much in taxes we are actually paying, since tax deductions can skew the numbers.

Competing with the rest of the country outside of New England is a different story. We lost 3960 people to Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, California and South Carolina who all have lower tax burdens, ranging from 2.7% in Florida to 6.3% In California(!).

That said, we did gain nearly 3000 people from the remaining 8 states. Thankfully for us, legislators in our neighboring states are even more zealous about high taxes. We gained 1155 migrants from New York, which places a 9.4% combined tax burden on property and income, a full 2 percentage points higher than Vermont’s 7.4%. That said, Vermont still has the highest combined income and property tax burden in New England: 7.4%.

Aside from New Hampshire (5.6% tax burden, to whom we lost 264 people to), most New England states have a similar income and property tax burden. That goes from 7.1% (R. Island) to Vermont’s 7.4%. We gained 328 people on net from New England as a whole. Overall, it appears that when you are already being taxed exorbitantly, you may as well live in a beautiful state. Vermont has the “taxed exorbitantly” and “beautiful” bases nicely covered, but those taxes still hurt us overall.

David Flemming is a policy analyst at the Ethan Allen Institute.

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September 19, 2019

by John McClaughry

In the Wall Street Journal a week ago columnist Daniel Henninger described the Democratic presidential candidates in that marathon CNN climate debate.


Said he, “While it’s understood by now that Donald Trump routinely issues outrageous claims to keep the fact-checkers’ union employed, the Democratic candidates’ lurch into fantasy during the CNN town hall on “the climate” was something to behold. The only thing missing was a Texas cattle auctioneer to conduct the bidding.”

“Elizabeth Warren bid $3 trillion to save the planet, and Beto O’Rourke upped that to $5 trillion. Andrew Yang matched his $5 trillion and Julián Castro raised the bid to $10 trillion. Naturally Kamala Harris matched his $10 trillion. Then Bernie Sanders blew away the bidding with $16 trillion, which he said would “pay for itself.”

“[Most Democrats over 40] would most likely agree the sanest thing said in that climate town hall’s seven hours came from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar: ‘I think you’ve got to be honest with people about how you’re going to get the money and what you’re going to spend it on, or it’s going to be really hard to bring along those people that we need to win in the middle of the country’.”

“Oh, them. She means all the millions of blue-collar workers whose jobs are in some way connected to energy production, and who will re-elect. Trump if their alternative is a Democrat nominated by the Sunshine Movement.”

John McClaughry is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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