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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Idiots wrapped in a moron


By Jim Parker

Your recent editorial regarding the ease at which personal incomes can be deduced because of the implementation of Act 185 (prebate checks sent to the towns rather than taxpayer) was right on the mark.

It would take an idiot wrapped in a moron to believe that this legislature would do anything to protect the taxpayer of Vermont. There simply has not been evidence of late that there is serious intent to do the people's work in Montpelier; particularly as it relates to the tax burden caused by ever-rising education cost. The cap on spending proposed by the governor and finally passed by the legislature, for lack of a better idea, will help but not reduce spending or our taxes in any meaningful way.

I have included a reprint of former Senator Mark Shepard's comments relative to this subject.

Jim Parker lives in Warren.

"Vermonters should learn a lesson from the passage of Act 185. When we elect legislators who trust government bureaucracies over citizens, we should expect to see our privacy erode, along with opportunities and our net incomes. The Act 185 debacle is but one example of the high cost to citizens when responsibilities are shifted from citizens to government.

"When Act 185 (H.880) was being voted on in the Senate, I pointed out on the floor of the Senate that in all but a very few cases a simple calculation would reveal the income of any household under income sensitivity. Yet the bill passed with my vote being the only no vote in the Senate.

"The distrust of citizens to make smart decisions shows up in more than our expensive government-run education system. Every year government takes control of a greater share of the health care market. We pay government to tell us to use efficient light bulbs and electric appliances. Bills from last session would have us pay government to tell us to insulate our houses, what to eat, what to drive, what to eat when we drive, when to not talk on our cell phones, how to build our homes, how to heat our homes. There seems to be no end to how these 'smart' people we elect want to protect us from making stupid decisions.

"And to be sure there are plenty of examples of citizens not making the best decisions. We all have made choices that given a second chance we would make differently. But as Act 185 should demonstrate, it is not only citizens who make stupid decisions, those elected have that same capacity, only that the ramifications are much greater as all of us have to suffer from their stupidity.

"A free marketplace of ideas and opportunities clearly results in the least number of bad outcomes as we all watch the outcomes from choices others make and use that information to help guide our decisions.

"So if freedom and opportunity are important to you, next election ask each candidate who wants your vote for their thoughts on health care, energy, education, or security. If their response reveals a greater trust in government bureaucracies than you, you might consider an alternative. Consider the costs."

Hon. Mark Shepard (R),

Former Senator from Bennington


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