A press release on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ website last August is fascinating for its irony. The release notes that the scale of highway work being done in Vermont at that time was matched only by the spate of rebuilding that took place after the 1927 floods destroyed hundreds of bridges statewide.
That disaster resulted in federal funding, but not without controversy: “After short but spirited debate, Vermonters swallowed their pride and agreed to accept $2.7 million in federal aid (about $33 million in today’s buying power),” notes Sen. Sanders’ release.
Imagine that: pride actually had to be swallowed to stomach $33 million in federal aid. Today, in contrast, the stimulus aid to Vermont’s highways is $143 million just in the last two years, let alone the hundreds of millions that come in through various other federal programs.
I recall a gathering last year with some of our local lawmakers, in which one of them noted with satisfaction that Vermont comes out ahead of many other states when it comes to the amount of federal dollars coming in, compared to how much we all pay to the federal government. I would frame it another way: Vermont is being subsidized by money from other states’ taxpayers.
I can’t speak for anyone else, of course, but I’m not fond of being bribed by my own money, even if it’s mixed with a pile of cash from some of my other fellow citizens.