Bob Frenier: Ehlers’ portrayal of Republicans wrong

Bob Frenier: Ehlers’ portrayal of Republicans wrong

James Ehlers, the first Democratic candidate to challenge Phil Scott in the 2018 election, is quoted by VPR as saying voters in the next election will have grown tired of “that whole ideology of Republican thinking that says if people just work a little bit harder, then they’ll succeed, and everyone who isn’t succeeding, it’s because they’re lazy.”

Mr. Ehlers is not the only Democrat politician who imagines Republicans think like this, and I do hope they all continue saying such things; it is so 1950s. They will eventually learn today’s Vermont Republicans actually believe that if working Vermonters are not succeeding, in most cases it’s because Vermont’s very liberal government has planted a regulatory stranglehold on the economy and dug deep into everyone’s wallets with too many taxes. A few examples will suffice:

If you’ve worked and saved to buy a house, Democrats want to diminish the value of that investment by imposing some of the highest property taxes in the nation on it.

What if you want to run a landscaping business that requires lawnmowers and weed whackers, or start an excavation business that requires a backhoe and dump truck — you know, things that run on fossil fuels? Or maybe you just have a long commute to a decent job or to your grocery store. Democrats want to hit you with a half-billion dollar carbon tax every year that will eat the profitability right out of your business and take a hefty bite out of your take-home. Talk about barriers to success!

Then there are the local child day cares that aren’t there anymore. The same Democrats who claim to be empowering women have rigged the regulations against businesses mostly run by women and driven them out of business because Democrats kowtowed to the teachers’ union, which wants those pre-K kids brought into the public school system.

And let’s not forget the progressives’ arbitrary “independent contractor” test, supported by construction worker unions, that actually keeps independent workers with a pickup and some tools from getting contract work with companies that want to hire them. That same test keeps freelance computer whizzes who have no desire to be anyone’s employee from offering their skills to businesses, too.

Everyone realizes this list of government interference in the success of working Vermonters can go on and on, but Mr. Ehlers says, “I’m going to ask Phil [Scott] and his friends who are fortunate — they’re millionaires — to do more.” Phil Scott’s friends are millionaires? Phil Scott’s friends are the working people and small business owners who work for their money and think they should be able to keep it and spend it on things that are important to them. People who are already oppressed by taxes and regulations that make it harder to succeed. Yet according to Mr. Ehlers, those beleaguered people must “do more.”

God forbid Mr. Ehlers gets his way and makes it even harder to succeed in Vermont than it is today. But whether he does or he doesn’t, there still won’t be any Republicans who say Vermonters aren’t succeeding because they don’t work hard enough. We know where the problem lies.