The national debt is $28.43 trillion and rising steadily. Even at historically low interest rates, that can’t last forever, the Federal government is paying almost a billion dollars a day in interest on its debt. Social Security will run out of money to make promised payments in 2034. More seriously, The Medicare HI Fund will have to reduce expenditures by nine percent as early as 2026 – and two years earlier than that if Congress and President Biden enact the Sanders $3.5 trillion entitlement bill. What’s the remedy? At the very least, don’t make this worse.
A large insurance company has been flooding the television channels with an advertising slogan “Only Pay for What You Need.” It’s an interesting exercise to apply that idea to various public spending issues.
Steve Klein, Chief Fiscal Officer for the legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office, recently made a presentation to the Pension Reform Task Force. The Task Force is charged with coming up with a plan to fix the state’s public pension crisis, the result of decades of underfunding and financial mismanagement that has led to a $6 billion and rapidly growing unfunded liability. Currently, just keeping the state pension system afloat consumes over 12% of all General Fund state spending and fixing the system will take even more money. So, the Task Force asked Klein where such a pot of cash might be found. The resulting slide show was not encouraging.
The Public Utility Commission, chaired by a noted climate warrior, makes up its own criterion – “societal benefit” – and may soon use that magical incantation to defeat citizen groups whose aesthetic objections would otherwise defeat a Big Solar project. Who voted for that?
The Vermont Climate Council, charged with coming up with a plan to reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below by 2050, is finally putting forward some details about what policies it will take to do this. While they have not yet discussed many specifics of how to pay for these programs, member Richard Cowart summed it up at their July 26 meeting saying “a river of money” needs to be diverted into the cause. A river indeed!
Steven E. Koonin is one of America’s leading high-level public scientists with a long career at MIT (PhD physics), CalTech (30 years, Provost) , five national laboratories, and President Obama’s Energy Department. His new book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters is a devastating refutation of exaggerated, scientifically insupportable, and politically fabricated claims about coming climate catastrophes.
The National Education Association’s assembly has passed two startling resolutions, to push the union’s ideology of racial justice and equity, anti-capitalism, and white oppression into the public school classroom. The “remedy” of concerned citizens regaining control of curriculums only rarely succeeds. A better solution: let objecting parents send their children to independent schools, taking a large fraction of their public school equalized per pupil cost of education with them.
Lawmakers recently passed a bill that begins the process for a major expansion of state-subsidized childcare for birth to five-year-olds rolled out over the next few years. The new law, crafted and pushed by the special interest group Let’s Grow Kids, could have major negative consequences for children, families, and taxpayers.
VCRD’s Vermont Proposition is a sincere liberal’s dream for somehow ending racism, reducing inequality, defeating poverty, countering the menace of climate change, and replacing grassroots democracy with a hugely expanded and unaccountable administrative state. Put it back on the shelf.