JohnGreenberg | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Member since Dec 28, 2012


Recent Comments

Re: “Walters: Scott Administration Explores Radical School System Reorg

Building on Lucas's point, the superintendent of schools in NYC makes about $300,000. The NYC district has about 10 times more kids than all of Vermont.

It seems pretty clear to me that Vermont is wasting HUGE amounts of money on school administration.

Having said that, however, it is still possible to continue to respect Vermont's passionately held tradition of local control, by separating purely administrative tasks from those involving curriculum development, pedagogical choices, etc.

In other words, I see no a priori reason why Vermont can't do both: continue to maintain local school board control of non-administrative questions and consolidate the administration into one district (why 4?).

Vast amounts of money could also be saved by consolidating the purchasing of school supplies. NH already does it. It is FAR cheaper to supply one buyer than 250, so huge savings should be available by doing so. There is absolutely no reason to buy paper by the case instead of the truckload, to cite just one example. When I was in the business years ago, the difference in price would have been right around 50%. That's a LOT of money just being burned.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 01/12/2019 at 7:22 PM

Re: “Sanders Apologizes to 'Mistreated' Women on His 2016 Campaign Staff

" the timing of this "news" is NOT coincidental." Let the conspiracy theories begin. Who's after poor saint Bernie this time? The harassed staffer? The media who reported the staffer's complaint when it came to their attention?

As to Bernie's addressing the program, his first reaction was totally unacceptable: if elected President, are we to expect Bernie to use the "I was busy at the time" for every scandal? He then took his time before finally arriving at the obviously needed apology.

I say this as someone who, in general, agrees with Bernie politically. But the excuses his supporters are willing to make for his behavior, the issues raised by his actions and those of his family, and for his losses are nothing short of amazing to me.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 01/12/2019 at 7:03 PM

Re: “Walters: Rallies Abound on Vermont Legislature's Opening Day

Concerned Vermonter writes: Take the residents of rural areas like the Kingdom: There are not very many good jobs, most are very low paying and they are not close to the jobs, or doctors or shopping and they have to drive 15-30 miles or more. The Carbon tax will mean it will cost more and reduce the amount of money they have to literally put food on the table and clothes for their children.

By and large, thats precisely correct, but it ignores a major consideration. Every carbon tax proposal made in Vermont (and there are quite a few now) returns the money to consumers in a different form: either through electric rates (ESSEX) or through other taxes.

Those making this argument like to pretend that on the one hand, their taxes are way too high, but on the other, they dont pay any other taxes, so offsetting those other taxes wont do them any good. Both cant be true.

Considering the carbon tax only as a tax (and not any often included other programs like low-income weatherization, etc.), the fact is that there is no reason why carbon taxes cannot be strictly revenue neutral. Moreover, there is no reason why the mechanism for returning the money cant favor low-income Vermonters. Indeed, it absolutely should.

Put positively then, a properly imposed carbon tax can actually relieve the tax burden of low-income (and rural) Vermonters, while at the same time discouraging consumption of fossil fuels. There is NO contradiction whatsoever in those 2 propositions.

If Vermont did not have other fiscal issues to confront, I would propose that carbon taxes be imposed while offsetting other taxes to such an extent that the total tax burden of Vermonters actually falls. Its theoretically possible, just not practical in todays world.

2 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 01/11/2019 at 10:38 AM

Re: “Walters: Rallies Abound on Vermont Legislature's Opening Day

In reality Vermont does not have much to do with climate change

Apparently, Mr. Ley thinks that Vermont sh*t doesnt stink. But hes wrong. The reality is simple: burning fossil fuels is the problem and Vermont burns plenty.

It really doesnt matter though. We have a global problem, so everyone is now in the game. In any case, in the real world, Vermonters like inhabitants of other developed countries burn FAR more fossil fuels in every aspect of their lives than billions of people in the undeveloped worlds who can afford neither the fuels, the electricity they produce, nor the products produced with both.

We need large-scale solutions, and carbon taxes (putting a price on carbon) are among the LEAST painful. Americans in general and Vermonters in particular are accustomed to market solutions and Markets 101 tells us that when prices rise (enough), consumption falls (and vice versa).

Indeed, thats exactly why America has had a cheap energy policy for many decades (or longer): lowering the price of energy lowers the price of everything made with that energy and encourages consumption, which accounts for roughly 2/3 of the US economy. Carbon taxes are one (relatively gentle) way to reverse that. Effective alternatives include mandates and regulations (which most Americans despise) or rationing (even worse). Of course, we could all adopt third world lifestyles.

It is tiresome to hear folks like Mr. Ley refuse to recognize the problem or, when they grudgingly do so, refuse to consider ANY solutions to it. The time for action passed long ago: the game is now in overtime.

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 01/11/2019 at 10:22 AM

Re: “Pension Tension: Vermont's Underfunded Retirement Obligations

"California and Illinois are both seriously at risk, so much so that their bond rating is basically junk bond status." Neither state's bond rating is "basically junk bond status." Illinois' is closest, with ratings of BBB- from Standard & Poor's, BAA2 from Moody's and BBB from Fitch All 3 ratings are investment grade, but the first 2 are only one step away from "junk bond status."

California, on the other hand, is not in the same ballpark at all. In the same order, its ratings are AA-, AA3, & AA-. These ratings are 6 steps above junk bond status and only 2 steps from the highest possible rating.…

13 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 12/22/2018 at 9:35 AM

Re: “Hundreds Rally in Burlington to Protect Mueller From Trump

Paul Richards wants to pretend that believing that Sessions should resign (for any number of reasons) contradicts the demand that he not be fired at this time and under these circumstances. It isn't. The first simply notes his significant inability to carry out the office for which he was appointed. Sessions conceded the point at the outset of the Trump administration by recusing himself from an investigation in which he might be a target. The fact that Trump can't forgive him for answering to his office and not this president is irrelevant.

The second is a recognition that firing him in the midst of an ongoing investigation of the very person who is firing him is a serious abuse of power and quite possibly a criminal act: namely, obstruction of justice. There is no contradiction between these positions: none at all.

14 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 11/10/2018 at 7:23 PM

Re: “Hundreds Rally in Burlington to Protect Mueller From Trump

"At this point, only the most gullible of our citizenry still believe the Russia narrative." Does that mean that "the most gullible of our citizenry" includes all five high-ranking officials who have already pled guilty and the dozens more who are under indictment, not to mention those in attendance at the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer who have not yet been indicted? Hmm.

17 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 11/10/2018 at 7:15 PM

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