By Robert Maynard
Any study of the rise and fall of civilizations will reveal that, one of the biggest factors causing civilizations to decline, is large public debt. Another major factor is excessive taxation. In fact, Charles Adams wrote a whole book on this subject entitled “For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization.” A lot of attention has been given to America’s debt problem, but the national debt is not our only problem. Each state has varying levels of dept problems of their own. One of the best measures of how much of a debt burden a government entity has, is to look at it’s debt to GDP ratio. A hight debt to GDP ratio is a sign that the government entity in question is living beyond its means.
Here at True North, we have written extensively about the fact that Vermont is one of the highest taxed states in the country. That is only part of the problem, as it is also the state with the highest debt burden.
Canada’s Fraser Institute did a study on Quebec’s “Quebec’s Government Indebtedness: Unnoticed, Uncontrolled.” To get a perspective on Quebec’s debt problems, the study compared Quebec’s debt burden with that of its neighbors, including states here in the U.S. Here is an interesting part of with the study found:
Quebec’s bonded debt expressed as a share of the economy far exceeds any American jurisdiction. Quebec’s bonded debt of $161 billion represents 46.6 percent of GDP. The highest level of bonded debt to GDP in the United States is found in Vermont, which has a bonded-debt-to-GDP ratio of 17.1 per cent. New York’s total bonded debt is close to, but still less than, Quebec’s at $142.7 billion.
So, Vermont has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation and the highest debt burden expressed as bonded debt to GDP and we are about to run off the fiscal cliff with a government take over of our health care system in the form of Green Mountain Care. Yet our leaders seem the be doing nothing more than saying: “trust us, we know what is best for you.” The Shumlin Administration still has not come clean and told Vermonters how we are going to pay for ShumlinCare. Instead, as noted in this TNR article, at the same time that he admits that they do not have the perfect plan, he assures us that he has the perfect people working on it. They will not tell us what their plan is and pretty much admit that there really is no perfect plan, but we should trust them because they are perfect people. We cannot afford to keep blindly going along with these “progressive” schemes while at the same time piling up a debt burden that we will be passing along to our children.