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Consider the costs of Act 185

To the Editor:

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 healthcare 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, etc. 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 market place 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.

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