In a 2019 article I demonstrated that Vermont’s bureaucracy has been growing steadily in both size and incomes at the expense of taxpayers. Often favoring undocumented immigrants over Vermonters, the “Bloated Dome” in Montpelier has ignored native Vermonters and businesses, who continue to suffer economically from state policies and tax burdens even as the bureaucratic tumor that is Vermont’s government feasts rabidly on federal COVID funds, expands reckless spending in the name of “rescuing” the citizenry, and does nothing to prepare for its own belly-popping explosion when its taxpayer host is bled dry.
Vermonters have seen their fortunes sag in direct relation to the advent of extremist progressive experimentation in their state. From 2011-2016, Vermonters’ median income exceeded the national average, but it has lagged behind in 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2011, Vermonters’ median income was $2,591 above the national average. In 2019 it had dropped to $2,711 below. Vermonters’ median incomes dropped 2.4% between 2016 and 2017, before rising in 2018 (3.2%) and 2019 (1.8%).
As is typical, Vermont’s plump tick-belly bureaucracy has been insulated by taxpayer wallets from threats (of fiscal integrity) to its pensions, expansion, or wage growth. Vermont’s 2020 Workforce Report reflects (Table 44) that average state worker salaries increased 3.1% in 2017 (the year taxpayers’ median incomes dropped 2.4%), then increased again by 3.4% in 2018, 2.4% in 2019, and 2.3% in 2020. Vermont businesses were massacred by COVID (compounded by fickle government action) — shouldn’t state government show restraint?
Instead, Table 46 of the Workforce Report reflects the wealth increase (“shift,” the report calls it) between 2015-2019. Table 47 reveals that $781 million was spent in 2020 on executive worker pay, an average of $102,845 (Table 48) for 7,596 employees, a 4% increase from 2019, following increases of 3% in 2019, 2.7% in 2018, and 4.4% in 2017 (that year regular folks lost 2.4% of their incomes, before inflation).
These numbers compare fiscal and calendar years, but the percentage increases tell us what the real story is — Vermonters are oppressed, while this massive bureaucracy ignores them in its Andromeda-like expansion. Table 47 displays the greed: state executive worker average pay increased from $89,529 in 2016 to $102,845 in 2020 — a 14.9% increase. Table 44 shows that average state worker salaries rose from $57,162 in 2016 to $63,858 in 2020 — an 11.7% increase. Data for Vermonters’ median incomes for 2020 are not available, but in contrast their incomes grew a mere 9% from 2013 ($57,797) through 2019 ($63,001).
To summarize: Vermont state workers’ incomes rose 11.7% in the last four years, executive worker state salaries increased 14.9%, and median Vermont household income grew a mere 9% over six years. The inflation rate over that same period was 9.42%, so Vermonters lost money in real terms — while their income and real estate taxes were increased to subsidize that 14.9% pay raise for state executives, ensuring their incomes outpaced inflation. But here’s the real kicker — all those state worker increases are subsumed in the Vermont median income numbers: that is, those state salaries make median income look greater than it is. If median income of Vermonters were analyzed without the input of these inflated bureaucrat salaries, the steady drain on citizens’ wealth would be even more apparent: the losses are larger than these numbers reflect!
No wonder so many natives flee the state. Vermonters’ wealth is being steadily drained by a massive tumor that calls itself our servant. This is unsustainable in the truest sense, like a marooned castaway who begins eating his own limbs. The further Vermont is thrust down this tragic fiscal path, the more amputations of thriving businesses and high-earners will occur, as they are either made unprofitable or driven to sane states that comprehend fiscal integrity and basic economics. Social justice ideology does not care one whit about where money is to come from as it pursues impossible utopias: that absurd stupidity will plunge all Vermonters into further destitution.
Vermonters are beginning to see the fiscal tragedy of allowing ravenous ticks to suck, unsupervised, from their lifeblood. And with every spinning swirl further down this pork-plugged toilet, the bloated progressive Legislature doggedly pursues its dogmatic agenda to dominate rather than serve the citizenry using climate and gun fear, racial agitation, and economic profligacy. More, it cites the poverty of Vermonters to accelerate their impoverishment. Drive around Vermont and view the ramshackle houses, shoddy trailers, and makeshift shacks that so many allegedly “white privileged” neighbors call home — they are being subjugated by gentrifying elites.
Progressives call for decarceration of felons; free housing, jobs and drugs for substance abusers; food stamps, housing, checks, etc. for anyone who wants them — while labeling Vermonters racist, and funneling money to newly-arrived BIPOC people using false racist narratives to justify yet more regressive taxation and spending. The self-styled Robin Hoods import undocumented entrants (not workers), inner city BIPOCs, and traumatized refugees, then impose their Sheriff of Nottingham tax levies on those who work. What is more obscene is that these same snobby Conquistadores then use the poverty of those they import to “prove” that Vermont is systemically racist, alleging the new arrivals’ poverty is a consequence of “historic white supremacy in Vermont.” This is criminal, plain to see, and yet to be corrected. Governor Phil Scott has been eagerly complicit in this liberal folly, for years. (The same thing has been done to our police, using arrests of nonresident black fentanyl dealers to “prove” police are racist by comparing those rates of arrest with Vermont’s underlying demographics.) It is fraud, plain and simple — criminal fraud, by elected representatives.
The various escapades of the progressive circus are coming home to roost in a carnival of waste, inequity, and fiscal mismanagement that will reveal the failed ideas behind this toxic, anti-American (anti-Vermont!) “idiotology.” Burlington is imploding into anarchy, a Mad Max chaos with a Madder-than-Max mayor; slashing the police force while funding more paid bureaucratic agitators; beckoning gang violence and fentanyl trafficking via a prosecutor who very publicly denounces prosecution.
Vermont is following Burlington’s lead — the economic numbers don’t lie. Vermont’s bureaucracy has expanded radically in recent years, and accelerated that growth using COVID as pretense — universal meals, childcare, the Global Warming Solutions Act, EVs; maybe some new sales taxes on groceries “to help the poor.” It’s a smorgasbord of greedy scavengers, who delude themselves they are heroes rescuing the oppressed (while refusing to bolster the alarmingly vulnerable Vermont state pensions system).
Vermonters are beginning to wobble like a proud bull moose, harassed and sucked dry by innumerable mindless, mandibled tick-mouths, gurgling on our blood while they spew a filthy cocktail of infectious ideologies and wasteful programs into the veins of the Green Mountains, all the while preaching arrogantly about how marvelously enlightened they are. (Oh, and how they are saving the children.)
Wait until the math catches up with them.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2021. All rights reserved.