Politics is nothing more than understanding ambition and the conditions that produce it, and there is a surfeit of both as the Vermont Legislature begins its work.
It will be a session unlike any other. Legislators will be faced with a $150 million hole in the budget that needs to be plugged. It has an unemployment trust fund that is about to run bone dry. And it is dealing with a state economy that is anemic, at best.
The general conclusion is that we must learn how to do more with less, or, as the governor suggests, to do less with less.
The coincidence of having two of my three post-college-age daughters home over the holiday and it being the end of the first decade of the 21st century prompted this observation: While New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning economist Paul Krugman called the decade past “The Big Zero” for the economic stagnation that pervaded the Bush years, my daughters’ view of the decade was one of excitement and optimism.
Consider their perspective.