A look at Vermont's feeble job creation philosophy

Of course it will require the government to spend more than $25,000 to police the lucky employers to make sure they meet all the program requirements for pocketing the $500, but that's apparently included elsewhere in the budget.

Another example: beginning in 2016, the proposed science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program will distribute $1,500 a year to Vermont college graduates in those fields for remaining in Vermont, presumably working, for five or more years.

Contrast the Shumlin philosophy of "government as the wellspring of correctly managed and channeled economic progress, one job at a time" with the philosophy of probably the nation's most economically successful governor, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana.

In a recent speech Gov. Daniels explained that "we believe that government works for the benefit of private life, and not the other way around.Every day we work to lower the costs and barriers to free men and women creating wealth for each other.When business leaders ask me what they can do for Indiana, I always reply: 'Go make money. That's the first act of corporate citizenship. If you do that, you'll have to hire someone else, and you'll have enough profit to help one of those nonprofits we're so proud of.'"

Gov. Shumlin appears to believe that economic progress comes from government wisely picking favorites, showering them with subsidies and credits, forcing consumers to buy their products at above-market prices, hiring functionaries to stimulate, coordinate and enforce, and managing government to carry out these many tasks smoothly and efficiently.

Gov. Daniels believes quite the opposite. He recognizes the role of government in preserving public order, financing infrastructure, and underwriting, but not necessarily providing - the education essential for a prosperous economy and citizen self-government.

But beyond that, Gov. Daniels says, "We believe it is wrong ever to take a dollar from a free citizen without a very necessary public purpose, because each such taking diminishes the freedom to spend that dollar as the owner would prefer."

That limited government, pro-freedom governing philosophy has put low-tax Indiana in the top rank of the nation's states, economically and fiscally.

The Shumlin jobs bill will give the Hoosiers little worry about losing their high ranking to "progressive" Vermont's far more, high-tax, overregulated, low-growth nanny state-of-mind.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org).


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