May 23, 2010

Rhode Island's Love of the Bottom

Justin Katz

I'm not sure whether or not it's a healthy development that Providence Journal economy columnist John Kostrzewa has come to the despair-bearing conclusion that many of us in the back alleys of conservative RI commentary have harbored for many months, now:

Hope has all but evaporated for a V-shaped recovery in Rhode Island — one in which the state quickly gains back the jobs and economic strength it lost during the recession. ...

Rhode Island has a noncompetitive tax structure, a lousy business climate and reputation, and an inability to solve state and local budget crises, leaving uncertainty for any taxpayer or business trying to plan a future here. Who would want to live or move into that environment?

During the long recession, a lot more could have been achieved if the state's leaders had kept their promise to rebuild the state's economy.

Because they didn't, Rhode Island is still stuck in the back of the pack.

Too many Rhode Islanders are invested in the status quo or duped by the arguments that what they love about the state is irrevocably tied to what's killing it or lulled by the preemptive assertions that we'll always be first in, last out of every economic decline for reasons outside of our control. The truth is that, in a state with a healthy political culture, every member of the General Assembly would be facing a tough fight to retain office, this November. The likelihood is that only a handful will change, and without significant effect.

The most sound advice, at this point, has to be to get out or hunker down. And if you choose the latter, for whatever reason, the best strategy for substantive change is to start local. It's not a thrilling call apt to rile up a revolution, but it's the only way forward.

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The passivity of the average Rhode Islander continues to astound.

That is why I've no optimism for the future of the State. This is not to be unjustly negative -- I recognize RI's great potential -- but after decades watching RI'ers "put up with it" I've ceased expecting the electorate to do what is necessary. (Apparently Steve Laffey came to the same conclusion, based upon his reported remarks about RI'ers not being ready for the change that is necessary to turn the State around.)

The first clue should have been after RISDIC (and it's legacy, the "temporary" 7% sales tax). When Rhode Island didn't revolt and throw the perpetually corrupt Democrats out of office then, it was (in hindsight) a signal event that they'll just continue muddling along, growing ever weaker, as more parasites climb on board and begin feeding off of their life's blood.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at May 23, 2010 5:37 PM

Don't you think a columnist could at least glance at what the news reporters are writing downstairs at the Journal? I remember when the Providence Journal editorial board endorsed then Governor Edward Diprete even as stories of the corruption he eventually went to prison for were appearing on the front page of their newspaper.

Providence startup hoping to connect with networking craze

09:46 AM EDT on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

By Cynthia Needham

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE— Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Rhode Island native Angus Davis will launch an investor-funded Internet company in the Jewelry District on Tuesday, marking what may be the largest-ever venture-capital outlay for a Providence startup.

"Who would want to live or move into that environment?"
Providence Journal columnist John Kostrzewa

Posted by: Phil at May 23, 2010 5:51 PM

Funny, I thought about Ed Diprete as I read Ragin' Rhode Islander's comment about perpetually corrupt Democrats. I considered commenting about the absurdity of pointing the finger at corrupt Democrats, then thought of Diprete, then realized that these polititians are affiliated by party name only to win elections.(the ones that win anyway)

Good Luck Angus!

Posted by: michael at May 23, 2010 7:34 PM

DiPrete was a scumball, and I hope he burns in hell. This seems to be a pattern with Cranston "Republicans," truth be told.

But in sheer numbers, even accounting proportionately, statewide the Republicans can't hold a candle to the Democrats when it comes to corruption:

From the "soft" corruption of patronage and nepotism (e.g., Judge Rodgers, formerly of the GA, appoints Magistrate Harwood to a lifetime appointment, she being the wife of the then Speaker of the House. Later Judge Rodgers attends the ceremony unveiling the oil portrait of his "friend" now former Speaker of the House, John Harwood at the State Capitol. So much for the Canon of Judicial Ethics and "avoiding even the appearance of impropriety." Later still, Judge Rodgers retires and, who is selected to replace him? His daughter).

To the hard corruption of bribes and kickbacks: RISDIC; Operation Dollar Bill and, no doubt, several things we don't know about.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at May 23, 2010 11:09 PM

"The appearance of impropriety" is defined by the office holder. State and local government jobs are doled out based on seniority, political patronage, nepotism, and campaign contributions (legalized bribery). Qualifications are often the secondary consideration.

How should an office holder who was hired under those conditions define the "appearance of impropriety"? If they say there should not be bribery, nepotism, or political patronage then they invalidate their own position. It is not in their self interest.

Conversely, it is in the self-interest of consumers of public services that the best qualified people are in public employment. That is where almost all of the friction orignates and the reason behind expensive, ineffective and inefficient government.

I was training State workers on how to search the Internet several years ago and the network went down at the State offices. I called the person in charge of the network to let them know my class with about 30 people was not able to do any work and they needed to reboot their servers.

They admonished me for disturbing them while they were in a meeting and told me the next time the network went down - I should *e-mail* them and describe the problem.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at May 24, 2010 8:00 AM

Robert, how do you reconcile telling that story with your advocacy of increased government control over our lives and your denigration of economic freedom?

Posted by: BobN at May 24, 2010 8:11 AM

BobN - It is easy. I am a *huge* fan of President Obama. There is finally someone *qualified* in the White House.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at May 24, 2010 8:39 AM

"Progressive"(Trotskyite)David Segal,current GA House Rep mentioned on RIFuture that he is employed a part-time paralegal by guess who?Peter Wasylyk,a GA House Rep(who allegedly "represents"me)and lawyer.
Something stink there?I don't think one Rep being another Rep's employer is too ethical.It may not be a technical violation,but it sure looks bad.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 24, 2010 9:21 AM

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn are huge fans of Barack Hussein Obama too. So proud that the individual for whom they hosted his first fundraiser running for political office is now President, they feel just like parents for, in a sense, they're his political parents.

Equally proud, somewhere in hell, Saul Alinsky is looking up, smirking at the "hope & change" fast one that was pulled on the American public.

Back to RI. What with all of the patronage and nepotism, the Democrat General Assembly should be arranging "elevator music" to be piped in their chambers and all state offices: the theme from the movie Deliverance. All of the political incestuousness of RI has certainly resulted in retardation!

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at May 24, 2010 9:22 AM

"Love of the bottom"?

Is this thread about David's popularity amongst the very young of color males of Providence?


Posted by: Tommy Cranston at May 24, 2010 9:50 AM

It seems that the general logic represented here is to use simple-minded labeling to brand everything remotely considered 'left' or 'right'.

Then, show how opposed you are to every solution to every problem using inciteful, hate filled rhetoric while hidden behind an alias - saying that you would be 'victimized' if your identity was revealed.

That way, if something does fail, you can point to yourself a having been correct *and* victimized - even if simply wrong and hateful 95% of the time. And, you can deny culpability for everything you were wrong about.

Employing the vernacular of the aliased victimized: Chickens - Bwauk, Bwauk.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at May 24, 2010 10:45 AM

Robert B sez,
"BobN - It is easy. I am a *huge* fan of President Obama. There is finally someone *qualified* in the White House."

Who the chef? lol Bwauk Bwauk Bwauk

The John Cicilline story in all its' glory is a prime example of the putrid Rhode Island gene Matt Allen talks about. A genentic abormality that keeps so many RI'ers loving the bottom of the barrel.

Posted by: Tim at May 24, 2010 11:43 AM

Tim - Listening to talk show radio obviously led you to 'genentic abormality'.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at May 24, 2010 12:40 PM
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