August 25, 2009

The Rhode Island Lack-of-Blame Game

Justin Katz

Whether by ignorance or deceit, there's a curious omission from the Providence Journal's coverage of Governor Carcieri's plan to bring the state government's budget out of deficit. It's not in the summary article by Cynthia Needham and Katherine Gregg. It's not in the article conveying state workers' anger, by Richard Dujardin. And at best, it receives a vague allusion in Barbara Polichetti's article about municipal mayors/managers' anger, when East Providence Mayor Joseph Larisa says, "We understand why this is being imposed."

Inasmuch as the alerts of Dan Yorke and Matt Allen are broadcast fleetingly over the radio, one has to dig deep into the comments section of the middle link, above, to find it stated by somebody calling him or her self TPaine:

If the General Assembly continues to be spineless cowards, then it is up to the governor to get the budget in line. Since the General Assembly removed the Governor's power to remove items from the budget (something 38 OTHER governors have) last decade, the tools at his disposal are blunt and heavy. Blame the General Assembly that you all elected. You reap what you sow.

So far, five out of six people have given the comment a thumbs down.

The bottom line is that the General Assembly handed Carcieri the requirement to find some $68 million in "unspecified cuts." The governor's authority to actually make cuts has a limited scope, while the Democrats in the GA have the entirety of state expenditures at their disposal. The gnashing of teeth that we're hearing, today, is orchestrated and loosely conducted by a design that directs heat away from the den of Rhode Island's corruption. With another $65 million that apparently must be found to make up for the final deficit of the last budget year, that heat is reaching furious temperatures.

In conversation after the recent picnic hosted by the Rhode Island Republican Assembly, I half-joked that the RIGOP should forswear all state-level races in the next election cycle. Focus resources at the national and municipal levels, but let the Democrats own the hollow center. Based on the electoral results, last time around, the broad failure of the state's mainstream media to explore beyond the scripted political outline, and the absence of substantial healthy skepticism among the general public, one can only prescribe an emulation of God's lesson for Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16:43: "Because you did not remember what happened when you were a girl, but enraged me with all these things, therefore in return I am bringing down your conduct upon your head."

When a structure is rotted to its very foundation and the owner refuses any expense beyond minimal cosmetics, the only remaining possibility is to allow its collapse, clear the rubble, and rebuild something new.

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.

The Democrat General Assembly - and the unlikelihood of its composition changing anytime soon - is a major factor in why I've decided to relocate to Florida and start over there.

Rhode Island requires major restructuring, and absent that this state's future is increasingly bleak, notwithstanding how the national economy performs.

The two defining characteristics of the Democrat General Assembly are corruption and incompetence - it controls the macroeconomic environment of this state, and so anyone that stays here is in effect leaving their economic fate in the hands of that body.

I prefer to not have my economic fortunes influenced by, much less determined by, the likes of Teresa Pelosi-Weed; Bill Murphy; Costantino, who are just the latest iterations of the Democrat machine that brought us John Harwood, Bill Irons, John Celona, Martineau, Matty Smith ...

We can look at long-declining Michigan from afar and understand why middle-class people are leaving in droves, and express dismay at why so many choose to stay, hoping against hope that the political powers that be will eventually start changing the way they've conducted affairs for decades.

Well, people from Michigan could look back at Rhode Island and wonder the same thing. After all, amongst other parallels, we are the only two states that have been losing population for some years now.

Posted by: Tom W at August 25, 2009 10:48 AM

Could not agree more with the views expressed in this commentary, especially regarding the need to remove Rhode Island's rotted-out political trunk, refertilize, and plant anew if this state is going to save itself.

However, there is a much better alternative just a couple of hours away.

The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 people to move to New Hampshire and use any means within their control to reduce the size of government and maximize liberty and free markets within the state. New Hampshire was chosen by vote because of its small size and history of independence, liberty, and small-government (Rhode Island was rejected as authoritarian and business-hostile beyond redemption). Even though only half of the number has been reached so far, and the big move has not yet been triggered, hundreds of so-called early movers and activists have already relocated to New Hampshire as part of the Project and have been having major successes through both in-the-system political activism and civil disobedience. Members have successfully been elected to local offices as well as to the state legislature, and Project efforts have successfully stalled a number of bills that would grow the size of government and restrict freedom.

While the Free State Project is largely considered a "libertarian" movement, it is actually a collection of all different political perspectives, and the only requirement is that once in New Hampshire participants work to reduce the size of government, something with which I think Anchor Rising would be in accord. I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone on this blog to consider ditching the unwinnable crusade that is Rhode Island politics and supporting or signing up for the Free State Project. As well as being consistently rated as the "freest state," New Hampshire (not coincidentally) is also considered among the healthiest, friendliest toward small business, best quality of living, and it has no state income tax, state sales tax, or state capital gains tax.

Everyone here eventually needs to ask themselves the questions: 1)At what specific point would you be willing to acknowledge that RI is beyond redemption and is no longer worth trying to save from itself? 2)Why persist in trying to rip out a rotten foundation when a brand new and promising foundation has already been laid by dedicated activists just one state away?

Posted by: Dan at August 25, 2009 11:27 AM

Yes. And why the GOP and the Governor doesn't scream from every hill in RI about whose fault this is and why it is so, and cite specific examples and name specific names, I'll never know. Tell people how the game works. Where is Gio? Isn't this his job? Or is he too busy playing around with Ken McKay?

Posted by: Patrick at August 25, 2009 1:43 PM

BTW, let me offer what I think is a MAJOR point: the rank and file unionized state workers are being played for fools by the leadership of the General Assembly and their own union leadership.

While $68 million sounds like a lot to you and me, in a state budget of several billion dollars it is a pittance. The Democrat GA increased their budget by 12.9% and then told Carcieri to fund $68 million in cuts? This doesn't pass the smell test.

It is a political stunt to force Carcieri to make unpopular (amongst unionized state employees) cuts, and so "energize" these folks to campaign vigorously against any Republican gubernatorial candidate in the next cycle.

Since the union leadership is part of the General Assembly leadership, they must be in on it.

Were I a rank and file unionized employee, I'd be wondering why the Democrat GA leadership increased the budget by 12.9% and expects me to take cuts. I'd also be PO'd since it appears that the increases must have been dedicated to the other major expenditure - WELFARE.

Posted by: Tom W at August 26, 2009 9:31 AM

Problem is, Rhode Islanders allow themselves to be bought with a little rub-n-tug from their local legislators Til then, the "They're all corrupt...but not MY guy!" ensures no progress.

Posted by: rhody at August 26, 2009 12:05 PM

Dan, the Free State Project sounds like a great, much needed idea. Best of luck to them!

Posted by: Cecil at August 26, 2009 12:25 PM

Cecil, why don't you sign up and be a part of it? You will not have to make the move anytime soon, and even if you later decided not to, nobody would force you to go through with it, although we would hope that you would.

Posted by: Dan at August 26, 2009 3:44 PM

Hey, even if you can't move there, you can make occasional road trips to NH to stock up on booze, other non-perishables and electronics.

That way you'll help deprive the corruption machine on Smith Hill of some of the fuel that enables it to operate, and thereby hasten the day of reckoning so sorely needed in RI.

As for me, I'll have to check and see which state has a lower sales tax, FL or GA. Although I suspect in FL I won't resent paying sales taxes the way I have in RI - at least it doesn't also impose an income tax and they actually maintain their roads, so I'll at least feel like I'm getting something in return for my taxes.

Posted by: Tom W at August 26, 2009 4:18 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.