by Jason Herron
Getting Senator Becca Balint to answer a direct question is like trying to nail pudding to a wall. She will throw out bullet points concerning issues we face but will give no substantive details on how her policy spending will fix them. That is, unless increasing taxes and growing government is the fix. How long will her constituents tolerate this empty rhetoric? Here is “Bullet Point Becca Balint’s” latest set of bullets and just how empty they are.
Senator Balint states: As we head into another session marked by the ongoing pandemic, my top priority is making the most of the historic federal stimulus dollars available to Vermont to improve the lives of working families. This means real and sizeable investments, with much-needed policy support, in:
- pandemic response
- addressing the housing crisis
- meeting our critical workforce shortage
- protecting our climate and planet
- accountability in our criminal justice system
- supporting our teachers, public employees, and their pensions, and
- enshrining reproductive rights in our constitution
Just a quick side note on Senator Balint’s statement before diving into her bullet points, there is no such thing as “federal stimulus dollars”. It is all taxpayer labor that is being redistributed by our government on your behalf and the behalf of future citizens. That tab will be paid one way or another. This statement alone leaves no question that Senator Balint is perfectly comfortable creating even more debt for us while leaving the bulk of it for our posterity to deal with.
- Pandemic Response
Senator Balint stated late last year: “We need our executive branch, our governor and our Department of Health to step up and protect the people of Vermont when we are facing the most challenging and difficult time of the pandemic in Vermont.”
Senator Balint is the lawmaker, not the Governor or any department whatsoever. She would prefer the Governor, or some other department enact the laws on her constituents so she can’t be held accountable. She is simply hedging her bet and will take credit if it’s beneficial but wants political distance if there are consequences. If masking or vaccine mandates turn unpopular among her supporters, she has wiggle room to escape accountability.
The first thing my fearless Senator did when she got to her office in 2022, was to propose meeting remotely. “Essential” Vermont workers haven’t missed a beat through all of this and continue to support our economy with their labor. If it wasn’t for government defining “essential workers”, they wouldn’t have destroyed so many of those “unessential” businesses. This isn’t the act of a leader, it’s an act of a coward who, by the way, is far from essential.
- Addressing the Housing Crisis
Government interference in housing seriously disrupts voluntary arrangements. If a judge issues an implied warrant of habitability the entire voluntary market could shut down. This is because no tenant could afford to pay the landlord the amount of money that is required to bring property up to certain standards.
If you have a system of rent control that keeps rent artificially low, property will not move to its highest value user and the landlord, strapped for cash, will not be able to make the repairs necessary for the property
Consider rent control where rent is fixed at maximum levels. Under these circumstances the tenants sitting in possession have automatic renewal so property cannot be moved to higher uses, landlords become reluctant to create new properties. The entire thing turns into a regulatory struggle about what type of rent increases can be made to deal with the increased cost the landlord incurs.
Good luck getting Senator Balint to answer to any of those simple truths. That’s like nailing jello to a wall.
- Meeting our critical workforce shortage
If you understand the impact of government interference in the housing market, you already understand why there is a workforce shortage. The overall cost of living and the ability to invest in housing for a reasonable price, will drive free market employees to a better market. No different than the cost of groceries or other goods will “drive” Vermonters to New Hampshire to avoid that added government cost. Larger Government regulation only exacerbates these issues because it created them.
- Protecting our climate and planet
I just love this bullet point. It’s as if Becca Balint is the only one who wants a healthy planet. The problem arises when you disagree with her taxing and redistribution methods. If you question her logic or, “is the juice worth the squeeze”, you will be labeled and bullied as someone who doesn’t care about our planet. Here’s the thing, if she would stand on a specific policy measure and defend its merit and effects, there could at least be a discussion. However, she will never lay out a plan and show the effects of any specific policy. It’s all empty rhetoric and the only result is more tax burden and a larger more inefficient government.
- Accountability in our criminal justice system
Becca Balint made this statement: “We also can take meaningful action on racial justice, by seeking to end qualified immunity.” Ending qualified immunity for police officers would allow unwarranted lawsuits to proceed against them. These officers are now defendants and would be required to fight frivolous claims or to settle those claims to avoid the expense of the lawsuit. Who will fund the defense of those lawsuits? The interesting thing here is, qualified immunity protects law enforcement and government officials. Is Balint willing to end qualified immunity for government officials or just those who serve and protect us from criminals? Becca also likes to throw prefixes in front of the word justice. Social justice, racial justice etc., Becca Balint should know that justice doesn’t need a prefix, it is blind.
- Supporting our teachers, public employees, and their pensions
Vermont’s public pensions are facing nearly $6 billion in unfunded liabilities. You read that correct, Little Vermont and all her laborers have a $6 billion-dollar unpaid tab. Balint has been in Vermont’s Senate since 2015. There are only 30 total Senators that make up that chamber. She was the majority leader starting in 2017 and is now the Pro Tempore. Has there been a person better positioned in Vermont’s congress to address this issue than Balint? If it is addressed by her, is there any chance it won’t cost the taxpayers even more money? Most likely she will delegate her responsibilities to a “trustworthy” investment company. That way, when they lose the money, she can wiggle her way out of accountability. This is just another talking point to get union and public employees to think she has their interest at heart to win their vote. Her actions, or lack thereof, prove otherwise.
- Enshrining reproductive rights in our constitution
Balint is talking about adding Proposal 5 (Article 22) to the Vermont Constitution. Proposal 5 reads:
That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.
What does she mean by “an individual’s right”? Does that include men’s reproductive rights? It doesn’t mention the word abortion or the word women. It does mention reproduction, and contrary to some woke opinions, it still takes a man to reproduce. Here’s the thing, proposal 5 allows for abortion, whenever it’s convenient, up to and including the day of birth. That alone should give any thoughtful person pause. However, whatever your opinion is on abortion, this proposal is full of loopholes and potential lawsuits that a junior high school debate team could tear it apart. It has no place in the Vermont Constitution.
Bullet point Becca Balint is a typical politician, all rhetoric, and no substance. She should be removed from public office entirely. We certainly should not elect her to represent Vermont in the U.S. Congress. She is the absolute antithesis of what we need in any political realm.
The author is the Windham-1 captain of the Convention of States