July 31, 2011

Generous Benefits Attract Those Who Need Them

Justin Katz

When PolitiFact found Gary Sasse to be truthful about Rhode Island's 52% premium for human-service programs, as compared with the national average, it offered a bit of broader speculation:

The 52-percent figure could mean that the state is being overly generous with its benefits.

Or it could mean that the characteristics of Rhode Island's population require us to spend more to give the same level of service that other states provide.

Or it could mean that the national average is depressed by states that are declining to provide some of the "optional" services, such as hospice care for the poor, that some Rhode Islanders might regard as anything but optional.

I'm not sure that the "or" conjunction is entirely appropriate, in the sense that finding a high percentage of people eligible for benefits would minimize the possibility that the state is too generous. Obviously, more expansive benefits will apply to a greater number of people. Also obviously, greater benefits will attract people who would be eligible for them.

As for the third quoted option, other states' "declining to provide" certain services is merely the flip side of Rhode Island's deciding to provide them.

Whatever the case, considering Rhode Island's position on the wrong side of one national listing after another, from employment to business friendliness to welfare benefits, it ought to be general policy to strive at least for the middle of the national pack when it comes to government spending and pervasiveness.

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In nearly every category, Rhode Island is more generous to welfare recipients, public employees, and illegal immigrants, and is more demanding of businesses than competing states. And progressive-Democrats still can't understand why the state is floundering and going bankrupt, or they blame it on how "conservative" the state is. There are no limits to the depths of self-delusion.

Posted by: Dan at July 31, 2011 1:14 PM

"it ought to be general policy to strive at least for the middle of the national pack when it comes to government spending and pervasiveness"

Yup. As well as academic achievement in our public schools.

Crazy as it sounds as a goal, "Average" would be a good place - i.e., an improvement - for Rhode Island to be in all of these categories.

Posted by: Monique at July 31, 2011 10:46 PM
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