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Do Vermont Candidates Understand the Magnitude of Our Fiscal Problems?


The following was written by Tom Licata, founder of Vermonters for Economic Health.

 

Are any of Vermont’s Gubernatorial candidates – or for that matter, any Vermont candidate running for this coming November’s election - really listening? Do they really understand?
In response to a blistering attack on his own Republican Party, “Four Deformations of the Apocalypse” (NYT op-ed, August 1), David Stockman, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, said this in an August 2 interview with CNBC host Larry Kudlow:

“Let’s not think this is an abstract problem anymore.  For the long-run it’s a clear and present danger.  Do you realize, Larry, that in the last two years since the big upset in October 2008, money GDP, nominal GDP, is growing $4 billion a month and the debt has been growing at a $100 billion a month; 25 times faster.  Now, that is just unsustainable. That is a serious threat to financial stability.”

Then, earlier, on July 11, at the National Governors Association Meeting, Erskine Bowles, Co-Chairman of President Obama’s “Fiscal Commission” and former White House chief of staff to President Clinton, said this:

“Ithink it’s a fact that as a nation we face the most predictable economic crisis in our history… this debt is like a cancer.  It is truly going to destroy the country from within…and it is basic arithmetic. …

 

“Today, if you just look at the mandatory spending, which is principle (sic) Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; it does consume 100% of the federal revenues. That does mean that every dollar we spend on homeland security, the military, defense, education, infrastructure, transportation; all borrowed, and one-half borrowed from foreign countries.”


I’ve done some of my own - more harrowing - calculations, to wit:

Since 1990, in 2009 inflation-adjusted dollars, federal debt has risen 155% compared to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of just 54%.
Thismeans that claims on U.S. assets are increasing some three times faster than what we –as a nation - are producing.  A society cannot consume and not produce.

Closer to home, more “harrowing” calculations, to wit:

Sincethe advent of Act 60, in 1997, through and in 2007 inflation-adjusted dollars, total Vermont state spending grew 97%; Vermont median householdincome grew 8.7%; Vermont state and local government job growth grew 17%; and Vermont private-sector job growth grew 7.5% (through June of 2010, this number shrinks to just .6%, meaning that Vermont employs the same number of private-sector employees as it did in 1997, or some 13 years ago).
Inthe fall of 2007, I founded “Vermonters for Economic Heath” and began a series of “Town Meeting Forums” to discuss the facts of Vermont and our nation’s economic health.
On our original web-site – in 2007 - were these words:

"In The Gathering Storm, Winston Churchill’s stated purpose was “to show how easily the tragedy of the Second World War could have been prevented.”  In Churchill’s time – as now - a storm was brewing but “people were viewing it and not doing anything."

 

Again, I ask:
Areany of Vermont’s Gubernatorial candidates – or for that matter, any Vermont candidate running for this coming November’s election - really listening?
Do they really understand?