May 18, 2007

I've Had It

Justin Katz

This week, I lost over a third of my income owing to a corporate layoff. I can't blame the Massachusetts research company for which I've worked for nearly a decade, because it is just trying to do what it deems necessary to survive, and to be honest, I welcome the opportunity to reshuffle the deck. In that shuffling, however, I will certainly be doing some cost/benefit analyses with regard to remaining in Rhode Island. My wife's large local family precludes my going far, but crossing a border could go a long way, especially in light of the news that recent Anchor Rising posts have reported.

Yeah, I'm in a foul mood because I just lost a job, because my construction boss is shoving his crew toward a vacation-mansion deadline that can't be met, because it's raining, and because this is all happening on my birthday. But this comment by Rep. Savage — a Republican, mind you — is the kicker:

... we want to maintain strength and integrity of our social and educational programs...

To begin with, the "integrity" of our social programs is nil. We pay people abundantly — more than just about every other state — to be indigent drags on local society. Our "social programs" are an invitation to sloth. Our "social programs" are a vote-buying scam for Democrats (for which our Republicans lust). In short, our "social program" is to kill the society.

And our "educational programs" are mainly an artery tapped for public union leeches. Any legislator who wants to invoke the "strength and integrity" of our children's educational system must in the same breath express whether he or she is talking about teachers' compensation or about the infrastructure and programs that are available to our children.

In short, I guess what I'm saying — as Anchor Rising's resident wordsmith — is screw the "strength and integrity of our social and educational programs." What about my integrity as a voter, as a home owner, and as a provider for a family that includes three potential Rhode Island children? What about my ability to even make ends meet in this state?

Talk to me Mr. or Mrs. State Legislator, because whether or not you want to admit it, you exist in this state, if not by my vote, then by my willingness to stay put and cover the bills that you accrue like a drunk with an open tab on Friday night. Let me put it simply, so that even you will understand: Cut spending, and do not raise taxes. It really isn't that difficult for the rest of us to move, and the truth is that I can continue to badmouth you no matter where I live.

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.

As Rep. Savage just happens to be my state rep, I'll do my best to defend him (a little). It may not come as a surprise to you, but Jack's background is as a teacher and school principal. His wife is a teacher. Jack is technically "retired" -- meaning he receives a pension, but also works as a part-time principal, up to the number of days allowed. So, in that sense, he is a product of the thinking inherent in that system. Therefore, when it comes to educational issues, he can fall somewhat left of right-of-center (how's that for finessing it?). However, he is conservative on pretty much all other issues, including economic and social issues.

That being said, Jack did an extraordinarily good job yesterday in defending the governor against the malicious attacks of certain paid union hacks, who have accused the governor of a lack of compassion, or of trying to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the poor, the sick, the crippled, the homeless, the children, or any of the other groups that get trotted out and used by them for their own selfish ends.

He means well (now you can continue berating him...).

Posted by: Will at May 18, 2007 9:13 PM

>>I will certainly be doing some cost/benefit analyses with regard to remaining in Rhode Island. My wife's large local family precludes my going far, but crossing a border could go a long way ...

With all due respect, are you nuts???

If you have the opportunity, get the he** out of here!

RI has incredible potential - which it may SOMEDAY realize - but in the meantime it's still stuck in a 1930's industrial "working class vs. capital" mindset and our endemic culture of corruption.

Though great potential exists, there's no question that in the next several years things are going to get a lot worse in this state.

Exhibit 1: the bills for the unfunded pension / retiree health "benefits" haven't yet hit the General Assembly's mailbox in earnest.

With the far greater earnings potential in the more economic vibrant parts of our country, their lower cost of living, including much lower taxes - you could live elsewhere, fly Southwest here whenever a "family visit" beckons, and still have much much more "jingle left in your pocket."

Wouldn't it be better to watch the Nero's at the General Assembly fiddle with the safe distance of residency in another state with better near-term economic prospects?

Posted by: Tom W at May 18, 2007 11:13 PM

For some reason I'm reminded of the 1980s movie "Escape from New York."

I have several members of my family who've already done what you're contemplating. In the case of my family members, it does not take a lot of effort to move from East Providence to a place like Seekonk or Rehoboth MA. Even in neighboring "Taxachusetts," as long as you avoid the Boston area, the cost savings are quite significant right over the border in comparison to Rhode Island, without any meaningful difference in services. We have a family business that we moved from RI to just over the border in MA several years ago, and sad to say, it was the best financial move we ever made (No TDI tax either!).

What it comes down to is this: People who have the financial means to leave, have probably already left, or soon will leave -- or at least they will "leave" for the purposes of reducing onerous taxation. Just last week , a friend of mine had a "going away" party, because he and his wife are moving to Idaho in a few weeks. He'll literally be getting twice the house at half the cost (I guess this is good as long as you don't have an aversion to potatoes and mountain lions). You might consider them "tax refugees." Many older folks upon retirement declare their primary residence in a place like Florida, and then keep a smaller vacation house in RI. That way, they get the benefits of Rhode Island, such as access to Narragansett Bay, etc., without too many of the negatives.

Borrowing from a phrase the president was fond of using after the 9/11 attacks, sometimes I wonder if Rhode Island's "terrorists" have already won. It's very difficult to remain very optimistic about the future here. I try.

Posted by: Will at May 19, 2007 12:49 AM

I hear you from across the aisle.
Being in a profession which is withering on the vine (for which, ironically, I blame Bill Clinton for being foolish enough to sign the Telecommunications Act of 1996), I have to think about my future, just as you're doing right now. Since my spousal unit is in a much more booming profession than mine and can work anywhere, I no longer dismiss leaving this state out of hand.
Two possibilities to think about: Delaware (good economy, great beaches) and Vermont (particularly after hearing Bill O'Reilly trash the state and its people up and down this week).

Posted by: Rhody at May 19, 2007 1:50 AM


You've got to face up to a hard question: which is more important: good relations with your wife's family, or a better future for your children and your own family?

There is no doubt where RI is headed, and what the most likely consequences will be for you and your children. Moreover, as many on this site have noted, you can always come back in the summer, to see family and enjoy RI's charms without its many and increasingly painful hassles.

What's stopping you?

Finally, think of the big picture. The more and faster affluent and educated taxpayers leave RI, the faster will be the arrival of the final crisis that, painful and disruptive though it will be, is probably the only solution left with a snowball's chance in hell of turning this state around.

Granted, watching the end game unfold will be fascinating. But thanks to the internet, you can do that from afar, while living much, much better, and with lower blood pressure.

Frankly, you'd be crazy not to leave.

Posted by: John at May 19, 2007 2:10 AM


Sorry to hear your news.

As you know, I recently moved from RI to just across the state line in MA. Income taxes are substantially lower, property tax rates are about 50% lower, schools are decent, and I am still close to most anywhere in RI I want to go. I even got my new driver's license in less than 10 minutes, an experience which made me gush to the people there about such a remarkable RMV experience!

It makes no economic sense to stay in RI. And it will get worse before it has any chance of getting better.

Turnarounds are only successful when the people involved are willing to confront the brutal facts which caused the problems in the first place. Only after acknowledging reality can the will develop enough to cause the required change.

RI is nowhere near having a consensus and urgency about its problems, let alone having the will to see change come about. For that reason, I believe it will have to collapse substantially further before the existing balance of power can be altered.

Reminds me of the ProJo editorial I wrote in 2004 which got us connected in the first place:

RI public unions work to reduce your family's quality of life

Along the way, good people - like your family - will be put at risk and that most certainly is neither fair nor just.

Posted by: Donald B. Hawthorne at May 19, 2007 2:47 AM


I consider myself a well-read person, yet some of your posts send me to the dictionary (overall, a good thing.)

Not this one. This one is raw and direct.

You've been dealt a hand that I have seen all too often in my own profession. Layoffs are brutal but always bring a clarity of thought that is surprising.

Living in RI, with its corrupt general assembly, and Cranston, with its moron mayor, I have finally hit the perfecta.

I can do my job from anywhere in the U.S., and you can bet that I am taking steps to unravel my life here in RI and move it to somewhere that provides a better infrastructure upon which to build my family's future.

So bask in the afterglow of your birthday (Happy Belated), take comfort in the hugs and kisses of your wife and children, and make an escape plan.

You and your family deserve nothing less.

Posted by: oz at May 19, 2007 8:54 AM

I agree that you should leave if you can do it. But to others who have suggested Mass. and Vermont I have to laugh. Mass. is bad and will get far worse under Cadillac Deval and all-Democrat rule. Vermont is one the 3 states with a HIGHER state/local tax burden than RI. Yikes.

Posted by: Mike at May 19, 2007 9:10 AM


First of all, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to you. Losing your job through no fault of your own is a wrenching experience.

You have just been slapped by the Invisible Hand of the Free Market. Construction is a notoriously boom-and-bust industry. We have been enjoying the boom for the last 3-5 years; now we have entered the bust. This is a national phenomenon; Boston is one of the most overpriced markets in the country, and RI tends to approximate the ups and downs of our larger neighbor to the north (and east).

This is all part of the "creative destruction" of capitalism. The market--in its infallible wisdom--has decided to stop allocating capital to construction and to put it elsewhere. Now, based on free-market principles, you are simply supposed to slide effortlessly into an industry that’s on an upswing. How you are supposed to do this, unfortunately, is not the concern of the Market. Nor is the Market concerned if there are no industries on the upswing. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that people like you are available as a surplus labor pool for the next boom cycle.

Also, you can congratulate yourself on being part of the fight against inflation. Ben Bernanke is concerned that a tight labor market will stimulate inflation. And, since you have been with the same company for ten years, no doubt your wage was high enough to create more upward pressure. So everyone should join me in thanking you for taking one for the team.

Then too, you can take comfort that you are in good company. As corporations move their labor pool to locations with lower unit labor costs, many people are finding themselves in the same situation as you. After all, they were making too much money, so their jobs had to be eliminated.

And you can thank Republican policies of the last thirty years for making it easier for companies to react nimbly to changes in the Market. And it’s good that we’ve been cutting back on things like unemployment insurance, because that also helps keep taxes low. Of course, if individuals have to face economic shortfalls, that’s the sacrifice that the Market requires. No doubt, the people at the top of the economic pyramid who are finding their incomes soaring because of these policies also extend their gratitude for your sacrifice on their behalf.

But you may want to reconsider moving to Massachusetts. It has a higher tax burden than RI, so no doubt industries are fleeing Massachusetts in droves to places like Alabama or Mississippi, where those money-sucking leeches don’t drain public coffers. The poor in these states live in squalor because they’re lazy or wicked and deserve to be poor. Either that or they haven’t organized as well as Rhode Island yet. So you may want to consider moving there.

Posted by: klaus at May 19, 2007 11:04 AM


Here's a link to somebody else who also decided he'd had enough -- and apparently left. The arguments in this article are even more true today, which strongly support Don's points

Good luck.

Posted by: Susan at May 19, 2007 11:09 AM

Dear Justin,

Obviously, family comes first and you have to take your own counsel on where to live especially with kids.

However, if you can hang out for just a little while, the future here looks simply amazing.

Yes, we have challenges.

Yes, we need to make changes.

Please keep in mind: what's on the drawing board should be enough to keep most folks.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at May 19, 2007 11:14 AM


Actually, my construction job is still going strong; it was my editing job that I lost. Market fluctuations are one of the reasons I've tried to keep my feet in different worlds. Moreover, among the benefits — as a dedicated, capable person — of the non-unionized construction industry has been the ability to climb rapidly based purely on merit and investment in tools. The corporate job followed more of the "managed" style that you prefer.

I'd also note that, according to the Tax Foundation, "tax freedom day" came earlier in Massachusetts than in Rhode Island. Moreover, the organization ranks Rhode Island's "business tax climate" 50th among the states and Massachusetts' 36th.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 19, 2007 11:16 AM


The rage you feel is justified. Society is at a crossroads, those who believe in hard work, education, fairness and the difference between right and wrong and those who exist to beat the system, take everything that is offered and give nothing in return. One side, our side, still believes that good will prevail and we can right the ship that is quickly sinking. "The strength and integrity" of our social and educational systems which in large part exists only to be exploited by those on the other side, their disgraceful philosophy embraced and condoned in the halls of power and society in general has reduced those programs to tools for predators whose only goal is to feather their own nest at any cost. Society as we know it, or used to know it, is on the verge of collapse. I don't know what to do about it other than care enough to say what I feel, write what I think and live my life in the most honest and productive way I can. Leaving this state of disgrace, Rhode Island, is a temporary fix. The ills of society will follow you. I don't have the arrogance to advise you what to do with your life, nor do I have the answors, I just hope you and those like you continue to set an example with your words, work and way of life.

Posted by: Michael at May 19, 2007 11:29 AM

>>Here's a link to somebody else who also decided he'd had enough -- and apparently left. The arguments in this article are even more true today, which strongly support Don's points


As has already been mentioned on this site, the author of that / founder of the RI Policy Analysis web site himself exited this state some months ago.

I've heard - though don't know for a fact - that the economy and prospects here were a major, if not the primary, reason motivating his departure.

Posted by: Tom W at May 19, 2007 11:33 AM

Bobby the Oracle of Newport wrote: "Please keep in mind: what's on the drawing board should be enough to keep most folks."

Oh Bobby, please do tell us here in the woefully ignorant "outsider" masses, what are these great plans on the drawing board that we all seem to have missed?

What do you know that we don't about the future of Rhode Island? Or is it all top secret, hush-hush stuff that's below our humble paygrades?

Please, do tell. Your eager public awaits...

Posted by: Susan at May 19, 2007 12:39 PM

Bobby Oliveira, the Oracle of Newport, wrote: "Please keep in mind: what's on the drawing board should be enough to keep most folks."

Bobby, please do tell those of us wallowing in ignorance: what have we missed? Or are these drawing board plans such top-secret, hush hush stuff that they are above our humble paygrades?

Your eager public awaits your next posting about why "RI's future is so bright, we have to wear shades..."

Posted by: Susan at May 19, 2007 12:42 PM

Dear Susan,

Nothing is secret. Everything has been on the front page of the Journal for weeks.

The expansion of Newport Grand. The expansion of Green. Something will finally happen at Quonset. A new education aid formula.

Stop being so negative. More money is being spent here right now in different ways than ever before. We have to understand where those revenuse streams are, what makes them work and how to take advantage of them.

By the way, the RIGOP has been running the "chicken little message for sometime now." It is so successful that since the beginning of the Carcieri era, the GOP has lost statewide officers, city and town councils, and has less seats in the Assembly then when the era started.

When do you folks plan to wake up and discover what results your "fearless leader" has delivered with his oh-so-negative bashing of everyone? (teachers are dogs, unions are corrupt, et cetera)

The weakness of the RIGOP, and almost destruction under the Carcieri regime, actually makes it harder for some of us to control rogue Democrats. Please go back to the drawing board and find something positive to say.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at May 19, 2007 1:10 PM


First, I got the job wrong. My apologies.

Second, you address two minor points of my comment. So I guess you concede that the rest of it stands? You sidestepped the most significant part of my comment and act like you’ve won the round. But then, that’s your MO.

Third, and most salient. RI has the lousy business climate, but the company that fired you is in Mass. Where exactly is the connection between the two?

Fourth, I can read the Tax Foundation site, too. If business climate determines where businesses locate, why aren’t Wyoming, S Dakota, Alaska, and Montana the real economic engines that drive this country? They are 1-4 in favorable business climate. For SD, some companies have switched their incorporation to SD jurisdiction, but it has brought absolutely zero benefit for the economy of the state.

Four-point-one, if business climate has such a big impact on where businesses locate, why are there any businesses in NY, Calif, NJ, and Mass? The first three are in the bottom ten, and Mass is in the bottom 15. And yet, these four states are home to most of the biggest companies in the country. Isn’t that a disconnect, too?

Four-point-two. Do you understand the difference between correlation & causation? Because there isn’t even a correlation between bad business climate and good economy. Therefore, you can’t posit (in any logically valid way) that a bad business climate means jobs are leaving a given state.

Four-point-three. “Bad business climate” is as defined by the Tax Foundation. Do you think that their definition might have a bit of a slant to it? There’s more to a business climate than taxes and regulation. See points 4.0 through 4.1.

Five, and also very important. If my income is 50% larger than yours, but my tax bracket is only 10% above yours, I will hit tax freedom day sooner than you will, despite paying more taxes, and a bigger percent of my income in taxes. So your “point” is rather blunt.

Six, what was the stuff about the non-union construction thing, and the “managed” style that I prefer? What do I prefer? That individuals aren’t left solely to the mercy of a corporation? Because it’s the corporations—not small construction companies—that are setting business policy in this country. The corporations have the money to buy they gov’t they want.

So, tell me again how the dead-beats in RI made your Mass company decide to remove you from their payroll? I’m sorry; I’m just a stupid liberal who doesn’t quite see the connection there. Can you enlighten me?

The decision to “lay you off” (which is pure euphemism) had nothing to do with anything except a market decision by your company. Maybe they found someone in India to do the job cheaper.

Look, I’m sorry to be kicking you when you’re down. But you really need to get a grip here. Stop blaming others. Look at the macro business environment. What happened to you has been happening with increasing frequency over the last 20 years. It’s got nothing to do with welfare queens or any of the other RW talking points. It’s all about labor arbitrage, and the way companies really don’t care about their employees. To a corporation, humans are a resource and an expense category. That’s it. And people who think like this are the ones running the country. GWBush is an MBA, remember? What the heck do you think B-schools are teaching their students?

Posted by: klaus at May 19, 2007 4:00 PM


I only wish that one day, you could have the pleasure of sitting across from a large public pension fund trustee, and the money manager hired by said trustee, who owns a significant block of your company's shares, and listen to what they say to a CEO, CFO, and sometimes to the board too. I can assure you they aren't asking you to please don't outsource to India because we want you to keep good paying jobs in the good ol' U.S. of A. No, Klaus, they are banging you about your total shareholder returns, why are they so low, and what are you going to do (soon) to improve them? Or we're going to listen closely to the next private equity offer or acquisition offer for your company. And you know why they say that, Klaus? Because most of them are so underfunded they are desperate for high returns on their investments to close that yawning gap. And they know that GASB disclosure rules for retiree health care liabilities are only going to put more pressure on them -- and on you.

That's the part you seem to miss, Klaus. Your beloved union and public sector pension funds have liabilities to fund(which, as you know, keeps retirees' checks coming). And in order to do this, they demand high returns from the companies in which they invest their funds. And you know what, Klaus? That's the bottom line for them -- even if it means outsourcing jobs to India, cutting back on training and development spending, or replacing workers with more effcient machines and IT investments.

That's the real world,Klaus. And it is filled with much more hypocrisy and many more conflicts of interest than you seem to realize. Or maybe you'd just like to maintain your ideological purity by keeping your head in the sand.

Posted by: John at May 19, 2007 4:15 PM

>>The expansion of Newport Grand. The expansion of Green. Something will finally happen at Quonset. A new education aid formula.

Oh, you must be referring to the eventual Prococcianti casino in Newport. Yeah, so Newport too can be like Atlantic City - instead of the current seasonal tourist industry burger-flipping jobs there can be some year-round tourist, err, gaming industry burger flipping jobs.

Do you think that this will prompt the city fathers to finally repair the moonscape that is Broadway and Washington Square???? Boy, those make a great impression on the visitors.

Quonset. Don't hold your breath.

A new education aid formula? Surely you jest! If implemented in a new way (i.e., the vast bulk of the money going to Providence, Woonsocket, etc.), other than rearranging the deck chairs, where do you believe that additional money is going to magically appear from.

Oh, and let's not forget the multi-BILLLION dollar unfunded state pension liability.

Now add in state / teacher retiree healthcare.

Now add in the municipal unfunded liabilities for pensions and healthcare.

And the continuous flow of "undocumenteds" coming to our state to enjoy our mild climate ... err, I mean vibrant economy ... err, I mean extraordinarily attractive "social safety net."

Yeah, RI's on the upswing all right!

Posted by: Tom W at May 19, 2007 4:35 PM

First, I didn't "sidestep" your points. I just declined to answer them because they appear to be pretty much a repeat of the same comment that you leave here time and time again, which I've already discovered it to be a waste to answer.

Second, I wasn't drawing a meaningful link between my being laid off by a Massachusetts company and the business climate in Rhode Island. The former may merely act as a catalyst for some "reshuffling." If there's a connection, it's that I'd found it necessary to work the extra hours that the MA job required because there's been a dearth of opportunity in RI at least since I graduated college in the '90s.

Third, I don't see where I blamed anybody for the loss of my job. You're reading more into my post than I wrote there. I realize that you've got somebody else in mind whom you'd like me to blame, but the alternatives to blaming all-powerful corporations aren't limited to blaming "welfare queens." One alternative is not blaming anybody... and then turning one's eye to those who limit the opportunities to move on.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 19, 2007 5:04 PM

klaus, your first comments are telling. As I have long suspected, it seems you don't actually read full posts and comments. Rather, you read a few lines, and then draw assumptions. Your responses are typically all over the place, and eventually end by blaming George Bush (as evidenced above).

Perhaps you might consider reading Justin's post to see that he doesn't draw a correlation between his job loss and conditions in RI, but rather his job loss and his foul mood, along with the comments from Rep. Savage. Do you understand "correlation" klaus?

One must wonder why someone as intelligent as Justin must work 2 jobs, at least one out of state. Further, I doubt Justin will be able to, or even want to, keep spending as he always has, and pretend that there will be no deficit in household income (as our state government does).

Hang in there Justin. And happy birthday.

Posted by: crowd surfer at May 19, 2007 5:28 PM


If you really believe that Republican losses are the result of the local message and not the result of the national drag on the Republican ticket, then I dare you to come out in favor of eliminating straight-ticket voting.

And calling what the governor has done "negative bashing of everyone" is nothing more than classic interest group/insider tactical message strategy that has little to do with reality. The message to the Governor is "Yous donts rock 'da boat too much, and we tells 'da public 'dat you a nice guy". We get it.

Unfortunately, replacing responsible fiscal and economic decision making with all of the handshaking and backslapping in the world can't dig RI out of the hole it's dug for itself.

Posted by: Andrew at May 19, 2007 7:24 PM

... did someone say, eliminate straight ticket voting?!?

Posted by: SusanD at May 19, 2007 9:51 PM

Dear Andrew,

If you eliminate straight ticket voting, the local GOP is in even worse shape. It's traditional and seniors like it so I don't think it's headed anywhere.


Why so negative?

You don't want people to visit, you don't believe in the Governor's ability to reenergize Quonset and the new local aid formula, which some of you have been screaming for, doesn't work for you either.

Exactly what do you want?

Let me rephrase:

What exactly out of what you want do you think that 50%+1 of Rhode Islanders would go along with?

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at May 20, 2007 3:13 PM

>>Exactly what do you want?

I want to be like New Hampshire - no sales or income tax, yet roads that are better than RI's, and public schools that outperform ours ... not to mention no need for a permanent cadre of federal investigators assigned to the legislature.

That would be an excellent start.

As for whether 50%+1 would go for it - given that after e.g., RISDIC the populace of this state STILL reelected the same corrupt party into power - I doubt it.

That is why I encourage anyone with the opportunity to get the heck out of here, for their own financial well being.

Posted by: Tom W at May 20, 2007 5:24 PM

We always feel the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, especially after a layoff (happened to me 12 years ago). But as much we all complain about Rhode Island for varied reasons, are we going to be better off somewhere else?
I'll be damned if I'm going to a state where my political leaders are decided by the oil and gas industries, or by powerful churches (perhaps the only place down South I'd consider living in is Austin, Texas - an oasis of reason, if I'm still enough to hanle regular 100-plus heat). If you're conservative, do you really want to go to California, or to Vermont after Bill O'Reilly bashed it last week the way Mitt Romney bashes Massachusetts on the campaign trail? And why would anybody of either political persuasion want to live on the Gulf of Mexico, given our government's response to natural disasters?
I can fully understand why employment considerations might require somebody to move in this era. That said, home is what you make it. There are places I could make more money or live in a bigger house, certainly, but would I be as happy living there?

Posted by: Rhody at May 20, 2007 7:11 PM

Just a word to John.

How do you know I don't sit across from a pension fund money manager? Has it ever occurred to you that I live in the belly of the beast, and have a more direct knowledge of what's happening than any of you seem to?

Because I sure don't get the impression anyone here reads the business press with any regularity, if at all. What I get is a mix of Rush's business analysis and some stale Adam Smith.

Because, John, what you're talking about is making the number the next quarter. That's not exactly the best way to run a business. And, the funny thing, a lot of pension managers understand that better than the Wall St analysts who cover sectors or companies.

My god, people, how much good will it do a company once it's gutted its domestic market? Henry Ford understood that you have to have employees who can afford to buy your products. You know what? A lot of people working at Wal-Mart can't afford to shop there. They move one step further down the food chain to the Job Lots and Dollar Stores. And is anyone here aware that Wal-Mart's growth has been flat, it's stock sagging for the last few years? Think maybe there's a connection?

So, John, please don't presume to lecture me on the business world. Contrary to what most of you would like to believe, I'm not some scruffy wild-eyed Red revolutionary who wears a Che t-shirt.

As for Justin and Crowd Surfer, so now it's time to play "I never said that," which is a fairly common occurence.

Justin: you're the English major, rite? What about "juxtaposition"? Familiar with that? You go from losing your job to being in a foul mood because of your deadline to Rep Savage's comment.

OK, I drew a connection there, especially when you said

...I'm in a foul mood because I just lost a job...But this comment by Rep. the kicker...

Then, after the quote, you talk about the "indigent drags on local society." Then, in the last paragraph,

...What about my ability to even make ends meet in this state?...

Sorry. But it sure seems like you're implying a causal connection.

What you think, Crowd Surfer? Did I read the whole thing or not? I not only read it, I analyzed it.

And, in your first response you talked about the bad business climate, cited the Tax Foundation....And, only then, when I'd refuted those points, you claim "I never said that."

And if I keep repeating myself, it's because what I say continues to be true. You, me, and most everyone who reads this blog is being sold down the river for the benefit of those who are already wealthy. I've given you stat after stat to show this, but you would all rather remain all snug & cozy inside your ideology than face the real world.

Yes, offshoring can--CAN, but doesn't always--save money. In the short run. What about five years after that? Why has the median real wage been stagnant for 30 years? We've been living with tax cut after tax cut for 30 years, and not a drop of it has "trickled down" to the middle class. I'm actually well above the median, and I've worked hard for it. But I'm only one chronic illness or crippling auto accident away from seeing it all vanish in medical bills, as are most of us. We have lots of stuff, but we have no security, and no one person who's working for a living has any security either.

That was the point of my post, Justin. The Market doesn't care. Unless you have several $mill stashed away, or rich relatives, you're living on the edge of the precipice. In the meantime, the rich get richer. It didn't used to be like this. Mr Reagan sent us down this path. I would hope this experience would help wake you up to this fact.

But, apparently, it hasn't.

Posted by: klaus at May 20, 2007 7:32 PM

Well, Klaus, you're just to clever for us. Juxtaposition; transition; reading comprehension. I guess there's no sense in denying my further indulgences: I also admitted to being in a foul mood "because it's raining." Clearly, English major that I am, I'm asserting a causal connection between (1) my layoff, (2) Rhode Island's welfare policies, and (3) the weather. Gimme a break.

I'll repeat — because you apparently didn't believe me the first time: the Savage kicker was that there appears to be no short-term prospect of change in the difficulty that I've experienced finding work in Rhode Island for coming on a decade now. I had to work that extra job — which I was very fortunate to find in a part-time, work-from-home arrangement that will be nigh upon impossible to replace — because Rhode Island is in a state of prolonged economic collapse.

In other words, I'm not blaming "our social and educational programs" for losing my MA job, but for the difficulty that I will surely face rearranging my employment in a way that is not exponentially more arduous than the 60-90 hour weeks that I've had to work over the past several years.

And as for the rest, I continue to be disinclined to respond, because (again) I've gone down that path and found your response to consist of repetition and dogged assertions that nobody's attempted to answer your rhetorical brilliance. Sorry. Don't have the time to play the game right now.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 20, 2007 8:16 PM

"not to mention no need for a permanent cadre of federal investigators assigned to the legislature."


Posted by: SusanD at May 20, 2007 9:25 PM

Comrade Klaus.

Henry Ford happened to sell very expensive products, naturally there would be extra concern that people needed to be able to afford his product. Since nowadays most products are affordable by all, whether they work or not, your point is irrelevant. Though some might say that this demonstrates that Henry Ford understood the uncaring market.

Since you have got this all figured out, where do the workers at the Dollar Store shop? According to you it would seem there is no place left for them to afford to buy anything!!

Nothing has trickled down? You mean to say that in two decades no wealthy person has started a business, or built a house, or thrown a party, or made a donation, or had dinner at a restaurant? Wow, I’d like to see that stat!

And now your answer for all that ails us is to provide complete security from any mishap that could ever befall a US citizen? I am sure the insurance industry and the government would take issue with you on this one, they think they already provide some of this. But I suppose you think the government should step in (again) to provide the additional security you wish to possess. This certainly sounds like the mother of all social programs!

And finally the uncaring market. And you would replace it with what exactly? Government production and price controls?!!

Your ideas just continue to hammer away at the disposable income and freedoms of working class Americans, thank you. Your socialist agenda isn’t fooling anybody.

Posted by: Frank at May 21, 2007 12:25 PM

Dear Tom W,

In order for that to work, you need NH's population mix. You also need their lack, except for skiiing, of tourism. You also plan to have many of us work in Massachusetts anyway.

I'm making too much money and having too much fun to ever consider leaving.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at May 21, 2007 12:29 PM

Laid Off? Shouldn't you just accept being fired? I mean, are you going to collect welfare...I mean, unemployment insurance, to use your AR wordsmith parlance.....

Posted by: Pat at May 21, 2007 12:33 PM

>>In order for that to work, you need NH's population mix. You also need their lack, except for skiiing, of tourism. You also plan to have many of us work in Massachusetts anyway.

Population mix shouldn't determine tax and economic policy. That is a big part of the problem here in RI: policy is skewed toward attracting and coddling the non-working class.

I've got news for you, many Rhode Islanders do commute to work in MA already.

>>I'm making too much money and having too much fun to ever consider leaving.

Just wait until you're here as a senior citizen, on the cusp of losing your house because you can no longer pay the property taxes necessary to feed the teachers union contracts.

Posted by: Tom W at May 21, 2007 1:38 PM

Dear Tom W,

1.) Let me be more clear: RI cannot become as non-urban as NH is overnight. You again refer to statistics that have no truth to them. By percentages, our urban core is like everybody else's.

2.) According to the Commerce Department, we are talking about a majority of foolks living south of Manchester working in MA. We're not close to those numbers yet.

3.) There are fixes for the "elderly tax issue". One is to freeze the amount at twenty years of home ownership. We almost did it in Tiverton, we should have done it in Newport. I even campaigned on it.

By the way, compared to the lack of funding at the Federal level for the mandates in NCLB, contracts almost don't even matter.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at May 21, 2007 2:18 PM

>>1.) Let me be more clear: RI cannot become as non-urban as NH is overnight. You again refer to statistics that have no truth to them. By percentages, our urban core is like everybody else's.

You missed the point. The point is that we should eliminate the "programs" for "urban" constituencies. RI should reduce ALL "social" programs to no more than federal minimums, where required, and eliminate all other period.

The "War on Poverty" has been a failure.

Let the dependent class either get their act together or "" to another state run by gullible, bleeding heart liberals - VT would be good.

>>2.) According to the Commerce Department, we are talking about a majority of foolks living south of Manchester working in MA. We're not close to those numbers yet.

So what does "south of Manchester" mean? What about as a percentage of population? And of those, how many moved to NH to escape of some MA taxes, just as some are leaving RI to escape ours.

>>3.) There are fixes for the "elderly tax issue". One is to freeze the amount at twenty years of home ownership. We almost did it in Tiverton, we should have done it in Newport. I even campaigned on it.

That's just shifting the deck chairs.

>>By the way, compared to the lack of funding at the Federal level for the mandates in NCLB, contracts almost don't even matter.

This is a myth. Federal money is not free money. The problem is the teacher union contracts are WAY too generous; there are way too many classified as "special needs" etc.

Our public schools cost too much and are functionally inferior. Typical and inevitable result of a combination of government bureaucracy and union mediocrity.

Posted by: Tom W at May 21, 2007 3:34 PM

Dear Tom W,

Besides hating unions and trying to blame everything on them, do you do anything constructive?? That message doesn't even play in right to work states.

1.) You fell into an easy trap there. Time after time we find out it's pay now or pay later with later always being worse. This Don Carcieri "don't pay at all" is just a pipe dream.

2.) South of Manchester means geographically South of Manchester. I'll try to get you answers on the good questions you asked.

According to the struture of corporate trainer contracts, teachers' contracts are right where they should be.

Did a teacher hit you once or something?

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at May 21, 2007 4:12 PM
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