Every silver lining has a cloud

To the Editor:

It's taken me a while, but I think I've finally figured out Todd Smith's editorial writing strategy. It appears to follow the current style of the broader political community, which is to take a snippet of news and use it as a launching pad for inapt and incorrect commentary that is personal in nature and not supported by the fact(s) at hand.

Take, for instance, a recent editorial (Good Place to Live, Lousy Place to do Business) in which we read about a recent CNBC ranking of "America's Top States to Do Business." Vermont's overall ranking went up from 44th last year to 39th this year. The overall ranking is a composite of a number of factors including business friendliness (25th) quality of life (3rd) and education (4th). These would seem to be good results, especially business friendliness, which rose from last year's ranking of 34th.

Not in the eyes of our publisher, who can't seem to find anything positive in a news story that belies his own beliefs. Rather than acknowledge the slight improvement in Vermont's ranking, he chose to denigrate it by dismissing the business friendliness improvement ("who in business really believes it's better?") and wishing to exclude quality of life ("too subjective") and education ("not directly business related"). This last statement knocked me off my stool in the breakfast nook. Please, could you name for us one business person who does not want to hire well-educated young people? Unless the aim of Vermont businesses is to import all of its new workers from other states or countries, in what way is there NOT a direct link between the quality of education and business as Mr. Smith claims?

It must be galling to have such a double-whammy in one poll -- a high ranking of our educational climate (when this newspaper hates public education) having a positive effect on the overall ranking of the State in a business poll. And yes, while we're at it, toss out that pesky quality of life thing because it might mean something slightly different to you and me. I've never read a business poll that does not factor quality of life into its rankings since (surprise surprise) people actually care where they live and raise their families. The newspaper's ongoing negative rhetoric against the business climate in Vermont is a self-fulfilling rant; let's just keep telling people Vermont is a bad place to do business so they won't bother looking. This is the Republican business mindset that is going to bring us out of recession? Really?

Mark Tucker

Danville, Vt.

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