December 2, 2008

Saving Rhode Island in a Few Simple (But Difficult) Steps

Justin Katz

Hoping that repetition will get the message across, Ed Achorn tells Rhode Islanders that happy thoughts will not turn the beast around:

These pages have spelled out for years what must be done: Cut spending to what Rhode Island can afford. Make taxes competitive with (at least) those in neighboring states. Attack the public-employee-pension nightmare, and bring overall benefits for such employees back to earth.

Reform business regulations, including the over-reaching fire code, to make Rhode Island welcoming to job creators. Cut costly mandates to cities and towns. Encourage the municipalities in the state to merge as many of their services as possible. The duplication and waste are terrible.

Obey the constitution by fully implementing separation of powers and get rid of the straight-ticket voting option, so that Rhode Island functions more like other, more progressive and civic-minded states. Focus more on serving students at public schools. Develop the ports. Put a greater percentage of public dollars into higher education and infrastructure repair.

If our leaders did all that, Rhode Island's terrific advantages would spring to the fore, and we would be poised to boom as never before when hard times ended, reaping tax revenues that would provide all the money we would need for superb government services, including compassionate aid to the needy. As a bonus, residents would be much happier and healthier.

The probability is, though, that we're in for another half-decade of pain, and that's assuming the next two years are bad enough to spur the voters to change their behavior.

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Pretty simple actually:

Laffey's First Day

Posted by: George at December 2, 2008 7:29 PM

Ed may be a one-trick pony, but at least he's good at it. Just wish more people would listen.

Megadittos, George!

Posted by: Will at December 2, 2008 10:00 PM

George & Will

So it appears as though you both agree with me that the current Governor is not up to the job and you cannot wait until the day he ceases to be in that office.

Posted by: Phil at December 3, 2008 7:15 AM

Phil, I can't speak for Will. But yes, on this, and quite likely only this, I agree with you.

Posted by: George at December 3, 2008 8:16 AM

It's not that he's "not up to the job," it's that his approach of trying to work with the General Assembly leadership simply hasn't worked. That kind of approach only works when you are dealing with honorable people and their handshake is their bond. They aren't honorable or even honest, and in many ways, are grossly incompetent.

Anyone who knows me knows that I was a very early supporter of Gov. Carcieri, and I still am. However, his unwillingness to be forceful and confrontational, in order to rally the public against the General Assembly leadership when necessary has not been fruitful. They are the reason for virtually every ill this state has. He keeps holding out his hand in friendship, and they keep slapping him down. I think we need a different approach.

One "benefit" of the recent election results locally, is that it pretty much ensures that nothing will change for the better in the next two years, which will pave the way for a "fixer-upper" type of person like Laffey to walk in.

Posted by: Will at December 3, 2008 12:10 PM


It's good to find common ground even as the ground is shifting.


I do wish for a change for the better, but I understand your point. Those who will be most adversely effected are not running for office or currently holding office. They don't have any political clout and will bear the brunt of a bad economy.
I don't agree with your assesment of the Governor's failings. The inability on his part to meaningfully engage those that he needs to is his job description. The fact that he has not reached out to the state's congressional delegation says more about his partisan impulse rather than their's. I think his focus has been narrow along partisan political lines and his policies favor the well off.
thank you for your answers.

Posted by: phil at December 3, 2008 6:31 PM

"The fact that he has not reached out to the state's congressional delegation says more about his partisan impulse rather than their's. I think his focus has been narrow along partisan political lines and his policies favor the well off."

Now, I'll defend the governor...

Reach out for what? A handout? If anything, our excuse for a congressional delegation is probably one of the most hyper-partisan and least influential in the entire country. Jack Reed's a nice fellow, but he spends more time on "Meet the Press" than he does here in Rhode Island. I think Pat's still in and out of rehab, and Jim hasn't been feeling all that well. As for Sheldon Whitebread, who knows what's in his mind. As for partisan impulses, I don't think the governor is nearly partisan enough. Most of his inner circle are not even Republicans. His policies, to the extent they are even in force, favor those who are productive citizens.

"They don't have any political clout and will bear the brunt of a bad economy."

Who? I assume you mean the hard-working middle class majority of Rhode Islanders -- because the poor, the unproductive, and the big labor bosses all have plenty of political clout.

Posted by: Will at December 4, 2008 12:55 AM

There's no point in reaching out to the General Assembly, for they're gonna do what they're gonna do.

If there is a criticism to be made about Carcieri, it is that he's been too easy on them trying to reach out to them.

He should have been hammering them in the public square all along. In the Rhode Island General Assembly you have one of this country's most corrupt institutions, populated by craven little people who are mental midgets (that institutions history allows no other conclusion).

They are not to be reached out to or dealt with, but defeated and rendered irrelevant.

Posted by: Tom W at December 4, 2008 1:00 AM


Thanks for taking the bait. Children.

Posted by: Phil at December 4, 2008 6:07 AM
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