The National Memo: Opinion: Froma Harrop: Progressives Don’t Need Washington All That Much
There’s a tiny little state in New England right next door of New Hampshire which is happens to be the Libertarian Republic of New Hampshire and just south of Maine called Vermont. Or as I and a lot of others like to call the Socialist Republic of Vermont. Of course if you are an American you already know that unless you live somewhere thousands of miles from Vermont with no access to any media. But I say this because Vermonters do what so-called Progressives in Washington especially in Congress and so-called progressive activists say they want to do, but never actually get done, but do it differently.
What I’m getting to is that Vermont is nicknamed the Socialist Republic of Vermont because they have the highest percentage of Socialists or socialist supporters in America at least outside of the San Francisco area. And they have been able to establish the polices and programs in their tiny little state of seven-hundred-thousand people or so, that today’s so-called Progressives inside of Washington and their supporters have been talking about doing for decades. But haven’t had any real success at it at least since the Great Society in the 1960s.
Vermont has single payer health insurance and affordable health care for everyone. They have a pension system that is for everyone. And they have a boatload of other taxpayer-funded state-run social services for their residents for everyone. And haven’t asked Congress or the Administration for the funding for them or permission to run federal services in their state. Because they already have them at home. Vermont is the perfect example of why Progressives and Social Democrats should embrace federalism. Because they’ve shown they can enact progressive policies in their state without Washington.
Now today’s so-called Progressives who in many cases are really Social Democrats or Democratic Socialists, would be the last people you would expect to be Federalists. If there’s anyone who believes in big centralized government, it would Progressives and Social Democrats. The inventors of the New Deal and Great Society. But people with the same ideological perspectives as they relate to both economic and social policy in Vermont has shown how federalism can be used in a progressive way and make it work for everyone in their state.
The lesson for today’s Progressives and Social Democrats when it comes to the 2014 midterm elections, is that they don’t need Washington to enact their progressive and socialist policies. Minimum wage increases and marijuana reform happened at the state level on Tuesday. Not at the federal level and states like Vermont, Massachusetts and California have proven that Progressives know how to govern in their states and give people the public services that they want. And that they know how to pay for them and run them.