Flemming: Climate action eclipsed by Covid-19 for No. 1 priority in Legislature

By David Flemming

This past week, Vermont’s Senate Health & Welfare committee and Senate Education committee held a joint hearing on Youtube, with two employees from the Agency of Education and one from the Department of Mental Health, in which they discussed when they could expect funding for various government services could come through.

Senator Ann Cummings, D-Washington, gave voice to her concerns:

We’re all talking about data and information and we’re assessing about when the (federal) funds are coming. I’m just concerned that we’re going to have tragedy out there in someone’s home. Because we’ve put parents and children and suddenly taken away their resources, for many of them we’ve taken away their money. This is probably the most stress any of them have lived under. I’m just feeling more of a sense of urgency… see if we can’t get those resources out to people even if we have to do a public service announcement on the evening news or something. I think that’s my concern. The urgency we used to be asked to have for global warming I’m now feeling for preventing a family tragedy.

Other senators in the call nodded in agreement.

While I could unpack quite a bit from this statement, the most noteworthy piece is at the end. When I hear the “urgency we used to be asked to have for global warming,” the attempts of the Legislature in the past few years to address climate change come to mind, headlined by the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act a few weeks ago. Just last February, which seems like an eternity ago today, it looked like climate change would continue to hoard the spotlight for “most important issue facing Vermont,” despite the exceptionally minimal impact our Legislature could have on crafting meaningful policy to address climate change.

And now? Vermont has been blindsided by COVID-19 and thoughts of climate change have been put on the back burner. I would certainly rather go back to the days when so many Vermonters did not lay ill from a strange alien virus. But it does feel good to at least be in the same chapter as even our most progressive legislators in prioritizing the health and safety of Vermonters. While we may never end up on the same page with legislators who exhibit ideologies counter to what a free Vermont is like, I hope this feeling of us “all being in this together” transcends the current pandemic.

Regardless of ideology, the coronavirus is the primary priority of all Vermonters — conservatives, liberals, progressives and independents. While we should not shy away from the debates that are sure to follow over how society and government can address COVID-19 and the aftereffects, I’m glad can at least find some common ground.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

7 thoughts on “Flemming: Climate action eclipsed by Covid-19 for No. 1 priority in Legislature

  1. What happened to JUSTICE ?….I demand my “Justice” in the Legislature regardless of COVID19….I want Racial justice (even tho’ Vt has the smallest % of minority population in USA…I demand racial justice. Then Social justice…we need gender justice….. they want environmental justice…GMO Justice….BST Justice….fertilizer Justice….Global warming justice…Organic food forced on us justice…legal justice…Free Stuff justice…subisidized property tax justice…tax only the rich (and not me) justice. We demand justice because we are the “victims”. Making me a victim is how the Democrats stay in power….along with creating false fears… Class envy & Class Warfare…. victimhood… are a winning ticket to the low information voter :)….which sadly is much of VT is…. Kumbaya to you too:)..we demand Justice for “Gaia”….mother earth also.

  2. The attention to covid-19 has one side benefit and that is global warming nonsolutions in Montpelier have for the moment been tabled. How about the round file?

    • Junk science deservers the round junk file as does 90% of what emanates out of Montpelier along with those emanate said Marxist junk.

  3. And ironically the answer to the Covid-19 epidemic is to become a socialist state, who controls all money, power and actions of it’s citizens.

    It’s all Trumps fault and this is caused by global warming. Yeah, that’s national news headlines across America.

    The Soviets and China must be so jealous of our “press”, it would be ridiculously funny if the results weren’t so effective. These smart phones are a propagandists dream come true.

    • The state is powerless without money.

      Taxing people, well of or not so well off, who have taken enormous hits, would be the last thing to put on the agenda.

      It would be much better, if the state would furlough about 30% of the head count “to share the pain with others in the private sector”, instead of standing around waiting for a federal bailout to arrive to close budget holes.

      • The state (meaning the federal government) is completely happy to print money and it doesn’t really care if we send in our taxes or not, because when you think about it, after all the money is printed no one turns to the printing press and says, “OK buddy, how much do I owe ya?”

        Parts of Modern Monetary Theory have become mainstream, and one of the key elements of this theory is that a “state” that issue its own currency (like the US) can always pay its bills. As a matter of fact, Bernie’s key financial adviser during the 2016 election was none other than Stephanie Kelton, one of the main proponents of MMT whose latest book is– and I’m not making this up– “The Debt Myth.” Maybe that’s why Bernie never said how he’d pay for it all.

        So … according to MMT we could all become wards of the state for a very long time and the fed wouldn’t care one iota, because it can print all it wants to and so long as demand for goods doesn’t outstrip money supply, everything will be fine.

        You may not believe in MMT, but I can assure you that there are people out there who do and are willing to act on it. Exhibit one: Bernie Sanders. But this theory knows no political boundaries and its principles can be useful for the left or the right, or for any government that deems it useful to make its citizens dependent on a universal income for sustenance.

        This COVID crisis is hitting the lowest incomes hardest, no doubt about it, and if the state (Vermont) is going to take their jobs away, then that state needs to step up to the plate and, in addition to making up for lost employment, give them their jobs back, which is what they, and all of us, really want. This crisis is nothing more than like a bad case of the flu and is simply not worth destroying the economy.

        • The Dems want power over everything

          The Media, handmaiden of the Dems, are scaring people, Russia, Global Warming, virus, anything.

          The Dems say we need a trillion for this and a trillion for that, to fight the latest dragon, and the Feds must print money, but us Dems must be in charge of giving away in the way we know, to maximize our power and control

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