Archive - Nov 2009 - Editorial
In the hubbub over the recent crackdown on employers hiring illegal migrant workers, the one statement that seems to define the situation in Vermont is that the hiring of migrant workers is not about cheap labor, it’s about hiring dependable labor in a market where no others are willing to do the work.
If Congress, the administration and the federal bureaucracy could tailor federal laws around that single premise, perhaps a workable immigration law (or amendment) that applies to dairy farms could be written and passed.
Guess which country has the lowest fertility rate — Iran or the United States. It’s Iran.
The United States is one of the few rich nations of the world in which women have more children during their child-bearing years (15 to 49) than it takes to replace them and the fathers. Iran has a fertility rate of 1.9 for the whole country, 1.5 for the capital city of Tehran. The magic number is 2.1. Two to replace the parents, point one to compensate for early female deaths. The U.S. rate is at 2.1 or a bit higher.
If half a company’s revenue came from five percent of its customer base, the CEO would begin each day with the same ritual: prayer.
That’s a narrow base upon which to build hope, let alone a sustainable business.
To an extent, that’s Vermont’s issue, not at the corporate level but with state government. We have a spending level that is disproportionately dependent on a progressive income tax structure and a paltry number of taxpayers.
In business, it’s not always possible to achieve your mission the first year out of the block. But there’s evidence that 51 Main Street in Middlebury has come pretty close.
Roll back the clock with me to a scene there last April. It’s a cold, blustery Thursday night and one would have expected Middlebury’s Main Street to be quiet at the 8 o’clock hour.
This night, however, was different.
In the past, we’ve generally started our Christmas shopping around Dec. 18.
There’s a powerful adrenalin surge that comes from the mob hysteria the week before the holiday. Similar to the running of the bulls in Pamplona every July, the shopping of the desperate in the mall every December is an annual rite that draws thousands, thrills the participants and poses a serious threat of trampling. Granted, the risk of being gored at the mall is comparatively small, but it’s still a pretty good time.
When a dark mood overtakes me, I force myself to feel grateful.
“Think of three things you’re thankful for,” a small, wise voice inside will say. “Just three little things.”
“OK. I’m grateful for the dinner I had last night. And for having friends. I’m usually grateful I’m alive.”
If that little recitation fails to turn the tide, I’ll try to name three more things for which I’m grateful. And three after that.
As I build a little mental pile of my personal blessings, it becomes easier to bear whatever fictitious burden I imagine myself to be carrying.
Adding a personal story to the health care debate, Randolph Herald editor/publisher Dick Drysdale wrote the following editorial several weeks ago about a Randolph couple that had spent the summer in Canada and experienced that country’s health care system. It’s worth a read not because it tells us about the Canadian health care system, but because it reveals the shortcomings of our national bias.
As school boards get into the nitty-gritty of next year’s budgets during these last weeks of November and early December, we wonder how they will heed warnings from state officials to rein in spending if they are to avoid state-mandated cuts.