February 14, 2012

An Open Thread for Interesting Times

Carroll Andrew Morse

We've hit a bit of lull at Anchor Rising today, for reasons entirely unrelated to a lack of things happening in the world worth blogging about. Here are a few big-picture items on my list to cover, that I am planning to articulate upon over the next few weeks...

  • Local taxation numbers in Rhode Island, and what they tell us about how well various municipalities are run.
  • What the Cranston West Banner tells us about a progressive need for absolute purity (Cranston is an important counter-example to some cutting edge research into the nature of people's political beliefs).
  • Is Rhode Island an outlier in how it deals with its fiscal crisis, or will we be the first domino to fall on this side of the Atlantic, as 300 years of limited government democracy prove to be an anomaly, and the world resumes an unstoppable path to absolutist rule?
  • What it is that drives Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Providence to their blatantly hypocritical behavior.
  • What overall trends in Rhode Island educational scores seem to tell us (hint: it's not that teaching quality doesn't matter, and socio-economic status is unalterable destiny).
  • Why Mitt Romney's failure to connect with Republican voters is not just personal, but a product of the times.
The first post on local taxation numbers -- as Rhode Island heads toward what looks to be the next chapter of the "funding formula" debate, as schemes to raise statewide taxes to bail Providence out seem to be receiving an increasing number of mentions -- should be up within 24 hours.

Otherwise, consider this an open thread on what you think are the absolutely biggest issues facing your community, your state, your country and the world right now. Also, you can enjoy this picture of Hopkinton Town Councilman Scott Bill Hirst at CPAC (he's on the far left) which was used to headline the FrumForum website for a few hours yesterday. (Councilman Hirst's photo is the only thing in the linked blog item worth noting).

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Providence: Getting firefighter/police 5-6% compounding COLA and disability fraud under control to create a solvent pension system going forward.

Rhode Island: Reinventing itself as a business-friendly state and shedding its deserved reputation for corruption, nepotism, hostile labor unions, high taxation, and arbitrary regulatory enforcement.

United States: Getting public debt under control, specifically military and entitlements spending.

World: Facilitating the transition to open, elected governments and free market economies.

Posted by: Dan at February 14, 2012 6:26 PM

"firefighter/police 5-6% compounding COLA"


On a more cheerful note: way to go, Scott!

Posted by: Monique at February 14, 2012 9:28 PM

Don't worry, Monique. As RIFuture reminded us yesterday, it's "only 20%" of retirees getting 5-6% automatic compounding COLA's. Doubling time of 12 years, no big deal. A $50,000 pension becomes $800,000 over 48 years - Providence can afford it. Hey, it's not like any of them are retiring before 50, so the city will never have to worry about that.

Posted by: Dan at February 14, 2012 9:43 PM

The prayer banner controversy again reminds us what a cancer on our society Steven Brown is.
This state would be better without him.
Let him go back to the NY cesspool he arose from.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 15, 2012 5:19 AM

Posted by Dan
"United States: Getting public debt under control, specifically military and entitlements spending."

Many people still think of defense spending at about 50% of the budget, which it was in the 1950's. Even then, it was bloated with what would be called social programs. National Defense HIghway Act (interstate highways), National Defense Student Loans (student loans), etc.

Presntly it is about 20%, less than Social Security, or Medicaid/Medicare.

There is an interesting, ficional, book from the 1960's "The Report From Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desireability of Peace". One hupothesis is that military spending is favored by politicians to exercise the Keynesian theory of "priming the punp". It can be cut, or added to, almost without public outcry. It is less sensational to mothball a fleet than it is to stop a hospital building program.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 15, 2012 8:44 AM

I'm trying, Dan, but I'm getting no comfort whatsoever from your passing along that analysis.

Possibly retirees and property owners will be reassured by it, however, as Justice Flanders and his budget hatchet are walking into City Hall.

Posted by: Monique at February 15, 2012 9:07 AM

Warrington - Percent of the overall budget isn't directly relevant. I'd rather spend 50% of a much smaller number than 20% of a much larger number. The Soviet Union was a real and credible threat to our country's existence in the 1950's - today there is no such threat present. Your point about social programs being lumped in with defense spending in the 1950's supports my principle because the social spending today is appropriated separately. Further, the fact that we are spending far more on Social Security and Medicare means that we will be more hard-pressed to reduce military spending to stay solvent, not less.

Posted by: Dan at February 15, 2012 11:28 AM

I just saw photo! It is appreciated! BTW, It looks like I will be an Alternate Delegate for Romney from R.I.,. I ran in Second District. The Dems actually require delegates serve by gender division although on ballot that is not listed.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at April 25, 2012 5:18 PM
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