By John Klar
In high school biology class, we students undertook an experiment wherein we deposited a small number of flour beetles into a bag of flour, returning in a few days to open a bag filled with dead beetles; no flour. (This would likely be banned now: “Save the beetles!”). This simple demonstration of the obvious extends handily to our nation’s current discussion about global eco-destruction — but that’s not where I’m going here, so please bear with me.
Yes, the human population does look like a swarm of beetles consuming all limited resources in a frenzied consumption. But that is an entirely different bag of flour from the one here addressed: fiat currencies, and the mathematical limits to the printing of money. Ultimately, if America believes it can sustain life solely via infinitely swelling debt, it will end up an empty bag, containing neither flour nor anything else but rotting human carcasses.
Sound dire? It is: debt kills. John Perkins argues in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” that the United States has undertaken to push countries into overspending intentionally, to create dependency on international banking interests, which can only be satisfied by surrendering natural resources, labor, or other assets. He calls this a colonialism without war, and asserts in a sequel that this method has been extended to the United States.
Whether or not Perkins is correct, Vermont is the nation’s petri dish to see what happens when a state becomes its own fiscally suicidal experiment, borrowing money from every nook and cranny without regard to what occurs when the flour runs out. Vermont has garnered debts, and pension and healthcare promises, far beyond the carrying capacity of its faltering economy to pay, and its progressive legislature keeps piling on taxes and spending as if there were no tomorrow.
But tomorrow will come. When the United States’ longest-ever economic expansion reaches a zenith (as most economists now predict is imminent), Vermont’s recent social justice spending spree will come home to roost — only to find it lacks a perch. The state legislature invested huge political resources in 2019 to craft the most aggressively pro-abortion statute in the nation, create transgender bathrooms, re-write textbooks to label residents white supremacists, calculate reparations for slavery, provide transgender surgeries at state expense to minor children, and amend the State Constitution to be gender neutral and erase references to indentured servitude. It hires more and more people to work for the government, extends some of the highest benefits in the nation to welfare recipients, then pushes to create sanctuary for illegal immigrantsand impose mandatory wage increases on all employers because there is a worker shortage (who wants to go to work for $11/hour when welfare benefits equate to more than $20/hr?
Few states have more disconnect than Vermont between the number of bureaucratic beetles dropped in its fiscal bag and the capacity of working Vermonters to keep grinding out sufficient flour to sate these ravenous bugs. Young and working Vermonters are fleeing the state simply to survive, while the Governor boasts of a not-so-brilliant plan to pay $10,000 each to attract people to move here. The nation chortles at this folly, but Vermont’s RINO Governor doubled down in his 2020 State of the State address.
The latest economic idea being floated is to offer a tax exemption to people under age 26, as if the elderly on fixed incomes won’t object to such agism. But how would that stimulate growth or pay down debt? These bureaucrats are so disconnected from economic reality that they believe government has all the answers — if only it is big enough!
Meanwhile, Vermont’s demographics are fiscally terrifying — as the elderly population increases, there will be fewer and fewer worker beetles to cart flour to dump down the endless hole where the state employee flour beetles dine. Vermont has nearly twice as many state workers per capita than neighboring New Hampshire. Those now governing wish to add many more.
Vermont is in a vicious cycle. It’s pensions are underfunded by some $4.5 billion dollars, but that figure is based on absurd projected returns on investments, and equally fantastical predictions which understate future healthcare costs. With skyrocketing rates of opioid addiction (compounded by economic decline and stress), Vermonters are losing real income and not keeping pace with inflation, while the flour beetles in the state bureaucracy dine on regular pay increases that exceed inflationary erosion. The bureaucracy is really more like a virus killing the host, or a gorged tick that keeps sapping the citizens’ blood — “progressive” legislators are right now so consumed with passing a phalanx of gun-laws, family leave mandates, and a carbon tax (their “highest priority”), they are oblivious that economic decline increases exacerbates domestic abuse, suicide, and opioid addiction. These problems in turn create more state dependency (especially for children), thus more costs, more taxes, increasing debt, credit downgrades, fleeing workers and businesses, and so on.
In blind self-conceit, Vermont’s elected representatives are so confident they will win reelection on the anti-Trump coattails that they just ignore the suffering of those they have sworn to serve. (Though, they have been responsive to some social emergencies: there are seven pending amendments to edit Vermont’s Constitution, all symbolic.)
When the flour is all gone, these beetles will wail. What shall they eat? In the Great Depression, Vermont fared better than most states because of the thousands of diverse farms — those farms are practically extinct, devoured by flatlander beetles for development of residential and “affordable” housing (which is astoundingly unaffordable). Businesses are declining, fraud goes lightly punished, tourism is touted as the new savior, and still the insanity continues. One must ask whether this is deliberate, it is so visible to most native (or sober) Vermonters.
Government is supposed to serve the voters, not consume them as elitist rulers. If the Green Mountain State does not preserve some food for that rainy day, the sun may not shine for a very long time. In 2020, Vermonters must exterminate flour beetle legislators at the polls. Voters wish to retain sufficient flour for their own larders, against the day that is imminent — the day the national economy declines and the Legislature finally peers into its own empty bag of tricks.
And it won’t have been Donald Trump’s fault.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.