Watching the sausage get made

The Vermont Statehouse, in sunnier times (October 2006)

Twitter, it's inane, narcissistic, shallow, and a host of other bad things (twitter kills blogging, a funny, short -- only 80 characters -- comment about this here), but occasionally provides interesting blow by blow instant reportage -- though stripped of context -- of events as they happen. So on this cool gray Saturday afternoon the local twitter stream followed the Vermont legislature's attempt to pass a budget and adjourn for the year:

(Perhaps the columnist providing these 'tweets' should quit his day job and start writing press releases for the left wing of the Vermont Democratic Party. Also, I think the reported comment by one of Waterbury's representatives is patently false -- it's more like the Vermont budget represents the ideal of 'spending money that you don't have', which is how the current impasse came to be.)

As I wrote in an earlier post -- making a rather muddled argument -- to be a Vermont taxpayer these days is to be caught between two distasteful political realities; a caretaking and vision-less Republican governor and a willfully naive and intellectually dishonest Democratic legislature. I know that to be in public life is difficult, especially in testing times like these -- but I am really quite angry and increasingly appalled at how this process has played out.

I believe that the current 'Great Recession' is not a normal blip in the business cycle but in fact a re-ordering of things and that there is going to be lot less money sloshing around the economy in the future. There seems to be a consensus that a future recovery will come not with a bang, but with a whimper, and that job creation is likely to be very gradual and incremental. I don't hear anyone in the local political sphere addressing these realities. Instead of vigorous debate and discussion on what the Vermont's future will look like, I see the same old platitudes and failed ideological divides. I think that perhaps the best analysis of this situation was by Emerson Lynn published in the St. Albans Messenger and the very partisan Vermont Tiger site...

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