by Rob Roper
There is a great episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry begs George to teach him to lie like he does so that he (Jerry) can pass a lie detector test. George’s tip, earnestly conferred, “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.” So often when I hear Peter Shumlin speak, this line comes rushing back into the forefront of my thoughts. Does he really believe what he’s saying, and is that how he can actually present it with a straight face?
At the WPTZ debate between Shumlin and Randy Brock, Shumlin came right out of the box in his opening statement with this quote: “I said when I ran that we would, together, get some tough things done to create jobs and opportunities for Vermonters…. Coming out of the worst recession we had two challenges: unemployment and underemployment. Guess what? Twenty-two months later, Vermont has the fifth lowest unemployment rate in America.”
Yeah, but, guess what? Twenty-two months ago, when Shumlin came into office, Vermont had the FOURTH lowest unemployment rate in America. And, as of October 19 and the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vermont has slipped to SIXTH. The man has taken us backwards, yet he looks Vermonters in the eye and spouts our ranking as if he is responsible for some great, crowning achievement. The fact is that over the past six months, as national unemployment rates have come down, Vermont’s unemployment rate has gone up 17% from 4.6% to 5.4%, while at the same time the total labor force in the state shrank.
Shumlin’s policies of single payer healthcare and “investing” in “green jobs” were supposed to create jobs for Vermont. His critics said these policies would actually drive jobs away. Twenty-two months later, guess what? It looks like Shumlin’s critics are right.