The Peter Principle

peter-principleIn its never-ending quest to find yet another financial transaction occuring somewhere in the state that needs an additional tax to be levied on it, the Shumlin administration’s plan to levy a tax on soft drinks was killed in committee.  The committee voted 5-5 on the bill, with one member absent, and the tie effectively kills the bill.

The Shumlin administration is frantically grasping at tax straws in order to secure additional funding for Peter’s Single-Payer Plan ™, which is receiving a lot of attention lately as the bills for it are becoming better understood.  Currently the bill is $1.6 billion, with the best case scenario utilized in the research done by the University of Massachusetts.  In less-rosy projections in the same model, the cost comes to $2.3 billion.  So the price could only vary by going up, roughly 50% higher than the stated price.

In a state that ranks 1st out of 50 states in total tax burden per $10 of GDP, with the 6th highest ranking in tax burden per capita, the Shumlin administration figures that yet another tax, another increase in the cost of living, will be just a super way to pay for something we don’t need, but will net Peter an increase in publicity amongst the Democrat party in DC, which is where he wants to go.  A realistic analysis of how these increased taxes will impact Vermont’s already lifeless corpse of an economy is clearly not something pondered in any depth by the Shumlin administration.

In other words, we’re going to worry about how to fund it later, let’s just pass it now because it’s the right thing to do – for Peter.  Never mind that a state where the largest employment sector is the public sector, where Peter works, and this spending would only increase that percentage.  Those facts probably have no impact on the lack of private-sector job growth in Vermont.  There’s probably no correlation at all.  10 years of 0% new job growth can’t possibly indicate that the state’s economic policies are abject failures, right?

Oh, and to top it off – the people that single-payer was supposed to help are going to see their rates increase under Peter’s Plan (from the linked article above):

Apparently all health care needed was organization.  Who knew?

Apparently all health care needed was organization. Who knew?

Vermont has two publicly subsidize

d health insurance programs geared to providing coverage to low- and moderate-income working people and families: the Vermont Health Access Plan and Catamount Health. Lawmakers and advocates have been raising a

n alarm for months that many of the people enrolled in those programs face steep increases in the cost of health insurance, because federal subsidies under the exchange will not be as generous as what the state has been offering.

Members of the House committee had reviewed charts in recent weeks from legislative fiscal analysts showing a wide range of impacts from the switch from the state programs to the exchange, depending on income and size of household. Some families would be hit hard. One chart offered the example of a single parent with two children, who could see a monthly premium increase of $256, more than doubling the current premium of $208. 

Why, given all the uncertainties in costs, funding, and impacts, would we push forward with a new system when we have no real idea of the totality of impacts – other than what all the evidence shows us is a negative impact?  An increasingly negative impact?

That Shumlin wanted this behemoth passed quickly, before all the relevant data was in, says a lot about what he really cares about.  We are witnessing the Peter Principle in action.


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