Bruce Lisman pitches a D+ idea

 At a Campaign for Vermont forum in Bradford last week organizer and moderator Bruce Lisman gave out cookies to those attending and made his pitch. The press release said the “ideas campaign” panel of experts concluded that greater prosperity in Bradford and the rest of Vermont will require better access to health care, food, workforce development, and education. That is all true, but so basic one wonders why they didn’t add that good is better than evil.  

But in addition to baking cookies Lisman has tried his hand at sleuthing out “good ideas” on the workforce development issue. He looked south and found that Louisiana has a state development/jobs program that he almost demands Vermont emulate.

“I think it can happen in Vermont,” Lisman said. Warning of Vermont’s declining national reputation for workforce quality, he said, “It has to. It’s a question of people saying, ‘we’re not going to take it anymore.’”

It is unclear what evidence he bases Vermont’s “declining national reputation” on or the anger he predicts may fuel it.

The programs that Lisman says have transformed Louisiana, once renowned for incompetence in workforce development

from worst to first in the nation in part because of a private sector initiative in which corporate executives contributed funds to an independent, statewide workforce development program, and received training themselves on cutting-edge development techniques.

The problem may be Louisiana has been given a D+ rating for its program.  

Louisiana Governor Jindal calls the programs his state’s most powerful tools for business development and Lisman would certainly agree. But the program gets a  D+ rating from the non-partisan research center  Good Jobs First. They studied five programs in Louisiana that cost taxpayers $1.1 billion annually and found that

the costliest tax credits, exemptions, and cash rebates don’t include the kind of strict performance standards needed to ensure that quality jobs are being created for the money that taxpayers spend. Louisiana Economic Development is the state agency responsible for overseeing and administering economic development subsidies.

Three of five programs do not prohibit job-shifting. States receive zero economic benefit from subsidizing companies that create jobs by simply moving from one part of the state to another.

Four of five programs lack wage requirements. Simply creating jobs will not lead to a stronger economy. Those jobs must pay enough to support a decent standard of living, and create economic ripple effects. Without wage requirements, the subsidies can result in jobs that pay workers so little that they must rely on social safety-net programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Four of five programs have no health-care requirement. Although most people get health insurance from their employer, that percentage is declining. Subsidized workers unable to afford their own health insurance may fall onto the rolls of Medicaid, thus negating any positive economic benefits.

The report goes on to give part of the Louisiana effort good grades for job creation and says that could be a model to base needed reforms on. However, fewer than half of the programs require job creation at subsidized companies and the programs’ standards are quite low. Subsidized jobs with benefits and wages so low that workers need Medicaid and food stamps should not be classified as economic development they say.

Hope the cookies Lisman gave away at forum were good because his “good idea” from Louisiana is only half-baked.  

8 thoughts on “Bruce Lisman pitches a D+ idea

  1. I used to work for a white-collar crime syndicate that took scads of $$ from people just like you.

    In any decent society I’d be viewed as the pirate that I am, but in 21st century Duhmerica, I’m a captain of industry, since all industry does nowadays is move money around and charge big fees for doing it.

    Here’s a cookie, idiots,

  2. The point is that the state should exist only to serve the needs of the corporations in that state.

    The state should charge the taxpayers to provide the basic needs of citizens that the corporation shouldn’t have to: paying a decent wage, providing health care and pensions.  All of that Interferes With Profits and therefore no corporation should have to do any of that.

    That is why the state exists at all: to subsidize the company’s profits.

  3. or it would appear, no kool-ade was served. Imagine that in the invite or press release:

    “Refreshments-cookies & kool-ade will be served”

    Aside from the ‘kool-ade’ inference, the combination would make him look like a really lame cheap bastard.

  4. closer scrutiny, ‘inquiring minds’ may wish to ask themselves just why Mr. Lisman has taken it upon himself to become the self-appointed solver of VT’s problems, while in actuality most of them are manufactured by Mr L.

    Pretty audacious to begin making plans with a ‘panel of experts’, using ‘studies’, even if they are so lame as to foolishly state the obvious then come up with the proposed ‘solutions’. So, who pays for all this & why, would be my obvious question.

    Lisman & Lenore “Moneybags” Broughton also passing notes?

    The breezy, gauzy explanations I have seen plus his persona appears he is hiding something, (I’m a mom-I have eyes in the back of my head). If I were LE investigating a crime I would take note of the who-me? guilty look permanently etched on his face, as well as the long nose & furry ears under that sheepskin cloak.

  5. And if he tried to pass those cookies off on a Home Ec class, he’d get a D+ there, too.


    The decadent international but individualistic capitalism in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war is not a success. It is not intelligent. It is not beautiful. It is not just. It is not virtuous. And it doesn’t deliver the goods. ~ John Maynard Keynes (1933)

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