Childless Vermont

In the article itself, authors Fred and Harry Siegel recite the stats: "the average city worker receives $107K/year in salary and benefits, while the median annual salary for New York families is $50K". That's a remarkable but unmentioned parallel to the Vermont situation deplored by the Rutland Herald in a Nov. 17 editorial entitled "The Ruling Class?".

Nor do the authors recite the Gallic-reference source, a series of Wall Street Journal articles and commentary, years ago, which described French governance as dominated by the abnormally-large numbers of government employees and income-redistribution recipients, and called the phenomenon, called the French Disease. Vermont, with a ratio of government-employees-to-total-population which is usually no. 1 or 2 in an all-state ranking in year-to-year studies, can legitimately be similarly labeled, something your scribe has occasionally done in this space, always identified as "redux" (a little press-room Latin lingo, there).

They do recite the Brookings Institution stat documenting "NYC second only to LA with the second-smallest share of middle-income families in the nation..." while defining the middle class as "...the people who are leaving", a demographic pattern which Vermont author Fred Jaegels, writing from his cabin-in-the-woods in Cabot, described a quarter-century ago as Vermont's obvious-even-then emerging two-tier socio-political structure. He got no source footnote from the Siegels either.

Similarly, Steyn in Cassandra mode devoted no ink in his no-future argument to society survival via continuous recruiting and in-migration, as demonstrated by such institutions as the church hierarchy and pre-modern high-death-rate cities, interesting subjects in their own right.

Dramatic declarations that a zero-natural-increase state has "no future" are refuted by retiree-dominated counties across the U.S., where continuing in-migration of passive-income types-pensioners, bond-coupon-clippers, and trust-funders-quite readily makes up for zero-natural-increase, even when accompanied by out-migration of active-income types. It's when the passive-income types decide that the governance environment has become repugnant, and pack to flee, that a prediction like Steyn's can come true. Sinclair Lewis' 1935 book, "It Can't Happen Here", is not the final word on the subject.

Retired Vermont architect Martin Harris lives in Tennessee where he enjoys not having to drive in snow and ice.

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