Roper: Peter Shumlin’s good advice

By Rob Roper

The Washington Post recently ran an article on the many proposals by Democrat presidential candidates for some form of universal healthcare in light of Vermont’s epic failure to pass a statewide single payer system back in 2014. The big question was what, if anything, the national candidates should learn from Gov. Peter Shumlin’s colossal flame out. Shumlin actually had some good advice, “If I were running for president of the United States, I would have a team working on a plan so I don’t sell an idea to Americans that you can’t achieve. That’s the mistake I made.”

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Former Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin

It’s advice the former governor should give to his home-state legislators as well. As the 2019 legislative session enters its final weeks, the House and Senate leadership’s signature issues, a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave, appear to be hitting the same reality wall single payer hit in 2014.

RELATED: Shumlin says single-payer ‘greatest disappointment’ of his political life

Just as Shumlin discovered that single payer would cause “economic shock” to the state if it were actually implemented, legislators today are finding similar undesirable outcomes if they were to make the transition for their priorities from bumper-sticker campaign slogans to actual policy.

For example, the realization that the $15 minimum wage could cost the state tens of millions in increased health care costs seems to have caught at least some folks’ attention. As for paid family leave, maybe given the state’s inability to find a funding source for lake clean up, the need to shore up billions in unfunded pension liabilities, and the cyclical likelihood that we are due a recession sometime in the not too distant future means this isn’t the time to implement a new payroll tax to draw in $80 million plus in new tax revenue to fund a new entitlement program.

These ideas were not well thought out before they were presented, but they did look good on campaign literature. Now here we are.

Give Peter Shumlin credit. When he realized he was going to be the engineer of massive train wreck, he stopped the train and took it off the tracks lest more damage would be done. Let’s hope our current crop of legislators is capable of learning from Shumlin’s mistake.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
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2 thoughts on “Roper: Peter Shumlin’s good advice

  1. Ace Post reporter Goldstein managed to craft this weepy story about poor disappointed Peter Shumlin without speaking to even ONE person opposed to his whole silly, impossible Green Mountain Care Plan. For example, Wendy Wilton ran the numbers in 2012 and showed that GMC, using the Shumlin numbers, would produce a string of enormous deficits as far as the eye could see. Response: “We don’ need no steenkin numbers.” Even Dr. Hsiao, whom we paid big bucks to tell us how solve this problem, said publicly that GMC wouldn’t work. The Ethan Allen Institute kept explaining what could work, but “we don’ need no competition and choice crap” (despite the fact that Barack Obama told the nation he wanted health care reform based on competition and choice. (9/9/2009)

  2. Getting away from the state DOME makes for cleaner air and thinking. Quoting:
    “If I were running for president of the United States, I would have a team working on a plan so I don’t sell an idea to Americans that you can’t achieve. That’s the mistake I made.”

    Seems that many currently under the Dome need a permanent clean air hiatus.

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