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Candy Land on the Winooski River

It's both frustrating and depressing to see just how out-of-touch Vermont's new governor is when it comes to leading this state out of its economic morass. He's not unlike a kid with a nickel burning a hole in his pocket and with his heart set-not on five-cents worth of jelly beans, but-on the big, swell colorfully wrapped $1 candy bar. And not unlike the kid with his smoking nickel, the governor has no sense of either proportion or reality- at least as far as what and how much that nickel can buy.

The governor is presiding over a little state that can no longer pay for Candy Land fantasies such as single-payer health care or ridge lines peppered with wind mill whirlygigs.

At the moment, Gov. Shumlin's single-payer health care legislation, H.202, is Montpelier's biggest Candy Land drool fest. Vermont Democrats have been salivating for months over H.202's incense and peppermint, and cure-all allure.

But H.202 is just another unrealistic, high-cost socialized health-care program that ignores the simple fact that the state's coffers (and citizens) are unable to sustain such a plan. And don't even think of asking Vermonters to assume more taxes to pay for it until our fiscal and jobs house is put in order.

Shumlin and his political majority of legislators have spent four months ignoring the long litanies of testimony via newspaper op-eds by Vermont employers, health-care providers, and everyday citizens, to take the responsible approach to health-care reform.

It's late April 2011 now and we still have no idea how much the governor's health-care plan will cost, what it will cover, and how it will affect individuals, local providers, and the state's long-term financial picture.

Shumlincare has no real funding plan, no real benefit package, no real measurement of the impact on health care providers or the economy down the road. There's just nothing there.

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