by Robert Maynard
Every once in a while you come across a political ad so divorced from reality that you wonder whether the creators of the ad are really that far removed from the real world, or merely confident that they will not get called out on a brazen misrepresentation of reality. That was the question, which came to mind as I read a recent Vermont Press Bureau article by Peter Hirshfield entitled “Under fire from GOP super PAC, House Democrats launch counteroffensive.”
Here is what the article had to say about a new ad by House Democrats: ‘In a series of radio advertisements and mailings, the Vermont Democratic House Campaign and Vermont House Solidarity PAC chides “Vermonters First” for contaminating local politics with outside money.‘ Vermonters First is “contaminating local politics with outside money?” I have yet to see any evidence that Vermonters First is being funded by “outside money”. The main source of funding is argued to have come from a single Vermonter. That could hardly be considered outside money.
When it comes to “contaminating local politics with outside money”, there already has been much written about the $100,000 awarded to “Vermont Leads” from SEIU to promote the push for single payer. More recently, Rob Roper has written about a last minute effort of an out of state group to influence Vermont’s elections:
An article by the Vermont Press Bureau’s Peter Hirschfeld revealed that yet another out-of-state organization is dumping money and manpower into our elections in order to push Vermont into a government-run, single payer healthcare program, and to support politicians who will do their bidding. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is a left-wing PAC based out of Washington DC. According to Hirschfeld, “volunteers from across the country will be calling Vermonters to urge them to vote for the Democrat on Nov. 6.”
Those instances are just the tip of the iceberg. What about the $500,000 the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation gave to the Green Mountain Care Board to push the single payer approach? What about this little tidbit from an earlier edition of Vermont News Scan: “The Shumlin administration recently inked a $300,000 contract with the University of Massachusetts to help devise a multibillion-dollar financing system for single payer, but the plan won’t be unveiled until early next year.”
What about Susan Baker of VPIRG being the Vermont representative of the George Soros and Tides Foundation supported Health Care for America Now national network? This is the group that funded a study in 2009 about the cost of health insurance in Vermont. The study was used to justify the move to single payer, but no mention was made that the high cost of insurance is a result of other reforms, which increased the role of the Vermont state government in the health care market and drove out numerous private insurers. What about the Universal Health Care Action Network out of OHIO? On their website there is section called “Help Vermont Win”, that has the following description of their interest in Vermont:
Vermont is leading the way to universal health care using national reform as a springboard and based on a single payer system.If one state can make real progress on comprehensive health reform, that will help all of us no matter where we are in the struggle in our own states!
They did not stop with a website promotion of the efforts going on here in Vermont to push single payer, but actually sent out a fundraising letter to sympathetic groups from all around the country asking them to donate to the push for single payer in Vermont.
VPIRG itself takes in an average annual amount of about $1 million between its 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 branches and employs 8 registered lobbyists, which swells to anywhere from 9- 14 depending on the year. They are constantly at, or near, the top of of the list of groups in Vermont who employee lobbyists. Those who support a free market approach to addressing social ills cannot even come close to matching these resources. Now, when a single Vermonter steps forward to use her own resources to try and provide a small bit of balance to the debate, House Democrats scream about “contaminating local politics with outside money?”
How on earth such a gross misrepresentation of reality can be reported without any refutation is mind boggling to say the least. I suppose that I should not be surprised. Rob Roper has written about Vermont’s media bias here and here.