Roper: We’re beyond the canaries, coal miners are dropping

By Rob Roper

This week we learned that two stalwart Vermont companies are cutting jobs due to the Covid-19 economic shutdown, and an iconic Vermont business is leaving the state.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Darn Tough socks announced that they are laying off 50 of their 330 workers, a 15% cut. It’s hard to conjure a more resilient, successful Vermont company than Darn Tough. They are a poster child for businesses “making it in Vermont.” Back in December, before Covid, they were announcing a major expansion. Due to their military contracts Darn Tough is considered an essential business. Even this wasn’t enough to prevent this hit. If Darn Tough isn’t tough enough to handle this, who is?

National Life is one of Vermont’s largest private employers and one of our most successful. They are laying off 53 of their 800 person Vermont workforce, as well as making cuts in offices in other states. These are some of the best paying jobs in our state.

Magic Hat Brewery is hailed as a pioneer of the craft brewing industry that has become such a strong pillar of the Vermont Brand. But now the company (owned by FIFCO USA since 2014) is pulling out of Vermont and consolidating its operations in Rochester, NY. While this may have occurred without the Covid impact, why is it that when an out of state company purchases a Vermont company and decides to consolidate operations, they never do so in Vermont?

These companies aren’t the canaries in the coal mine, they’re the coal miners. If they’re struggling, imagine what’s happening throughout the rest of our economy.

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

Image courtesy of Public domain

3 thoughts on “Roper: We’re beyond the canaries, coal miners are dropping

  1. Rob, it is much worse than you think. You and others highlight the “business” leaving or cutting back, in VT….but the real “canary in the coal mine”….is PEOPLE….that are rushing out. All these insane protests are turbo charging the exit….and many are upper incomes… Here’s proof. VT has 623,000 people…..Maine has 1.33 million people. So Maine is over DOUBLE the population of Vermont! So, let’s look at the latest real estate figures from realty site “Redfin”….this morning:

    There are currently 5,286 homes for sale in Vermont.
    There are currently 5,221 homes for sale in Maine.

    Astounding figures. Maine has more than DOUBLE the population of VT….but there are more houses for sale in Vermont! You cannot hoist that these are people looking to downsize or upsize….these are people that want OUT of Vermont. VT has an older population and many baby boomers have, or will, soon retire….they are either leaving 100% (as I) or they leave “six-months-and-a-day” and no longer are full time taxable VT residents. BIG tax loss $ to VT… You cannot live well on retired fixed incomes – in a “hate-the-rich-Progressive-State”. And, we are tired of frigid weather. This will play out even bigger in the next two years, as peak baby boom births were in 1957….they turn 65 in two years. Many have to wait till 65 for full pension or social security benefits. But those that can afford to…are leaving now… and when they leave they take all their taxable incomes with them ($$$)….all the VT easy money…of LARGE income taxes on all pensions, social security, dividends, interest and capital gains…..pfffff….gone. ALL the State “economists” are missing this. But figures don’t lie. Compare ME to VT….and it is only going to get worse…..FYI, NH is not a valid comp as the southern heavy population part of NH, is a suburb of the greater Boston area. Time to ‘Get Woke” Vermont Legislature! Many people want as far away from you as possible….they “vote” to “leave”…you can’t stop them… Progressives own VT now. I was so tired of being hated, but we are paying for everyone else’s way :)…I was never thanked, they only wanted “more”.

    • Vermont has half the population of NH.
      Vermont has double the bureaucracy of New hampshire
      Each Vermonter supports FOUR TIMES as many bureaucrats than each New Hampshirite

      How much more do you need to know ?????????

  2. Phil Scott made some very bad decisions that have led to this point, yet continues to pat himself on the back for a job well done as if he personally stopped COVID-19. He has yet to show any of the pseudo science behind his decisions.

    We easily could have proceeded with a short-term phased and stratified approach that would have allowed all businesses to carry on while protecting the elderly and those with underlying co-morbidities.

    Remember, the two week shelter-in-place was only supposed to be about not overwhelming hospitals. Here we are, months later, with Phil Scott’s spigot being turned in infinitesimal amounts as more and more families lose their livelihoods and businesses close. All this against a backdrop of no hospitals overwhelmed against 56 deaths out of more than 600K residents. While all these deaths are sad for the folks who loved them, many of them of the were in their last chapter anyway (as my 85 year old mom calls it).

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