It’s that time of year, again, for charitable-sounding legislation to enter the scene and ensure that government controls every aspect of our lives and interactions.
It seems a point of personal pique for him, but Wesley Smith makes a great point when he objects to the characterization of families’ taking care of their own special needs children as “unpaid care”:
Really? What about mothers providing “unpaid care” for their babies? Or spouses for each other? Should such care also be measured in terms of the cost of having services provided by professional caregivers?
As Smith goes on to insist (emphasis in original), “the societal expectation should also be that families are the first line of care-giving.” The first line of care-giving. The first line of financial assistance. The first line of loan guarantees. The first line for education. The first line, period.
The problem is that such activities cut in on the government plantation’s market. Governments can’t tax other people to provide the services. Labor unions can’t take a cut (although they do try). And politicians can’t count on votes from people who aren’t dependent on government.
The deeper affront of the “unpaid care” attitude is how it teaches us to see caring for those we love. The insinuation can be that families would (and maybe should) offload care if they can afford to do so, just as a homeowner may patch a wall to save the cost of a tradesman. As a new state senator from Lincoln touchingly exemplifies, caring for loved ones can be a joyful fulfillment, and society should encourage us to see it as such.
Even if he fails in office, President-elect Donald Trump — merely by promising to behave as if it’s possible for the people to push back against the government-expansionist march — will do much to expose the workings of the government plantation. Consider comments from Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo in an article by Lynn Arditi of the Providence Journal:
Gov. Gina Raimondo said Tuesday during a meeting at The Providence Journal that she “loses sleep” over the prospect of a hasty unrolling of the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid payment system. “It could be devastating for us,” she said.
Such a change would mostly be “devastating” if it portends a new pattern in which the federal government stops paying state governments to provide services. That is increasingly the business model of Rhode Island’s true major industry, government.
The Beast needs customers for its services, and it needs a mechanism to make other people pay the bill. The federal government is critical in that transaction because it’s able to take money in so many ways and without people’s having a clear view of what it’s paying for or a straightforward way to decline the bill year after year.
Providence’s projected loss from expanded charter options uses arguable assumptions, but it inarguably shows how government puts itself first and treats students as produce in the government plantation.
Rhode Islanders should take a closer look at the organizations pushing for $80,000,000 in affordable housing debt, to learn how well-paid advocates harvest the needs of the poor and force-sell it to taxpayers.
Reporting on a study by a couple of health care experts, Ted Nesi writes on WPRI:
Using 2015 data, their projections showed Rhode Island would lose $514 million in annual federal Medicaid funding under such a formula – a huge amount of money, equal to 22% of the state’s $2.3 billion in total Medicaid spending during the 2014-15 budget year. Massachusetts would lose $3.4 billion under the scenario.
First, let’s have a little perspective, here. The revised spending on “Medical assistance (including Medicaid)” for fiscal 2015 was $2,382,919,281. The year before — in fiscal 2014 — it was $1,819,597,682. If you don’t have a calculator handy, that’s a difference of $563,321,599, or about $50,000,000 more than the “huge amount of money” in the possible reduction.
According to the mainstream calculus, government spending can never go down, even just to the prior year’s level. On the one hand, we’re told it would be a terrible thing if Congress were to block grant Medicaid based on state income because states that rely on the program as a large part of their budgets would face massive reductions. As the study says, it “would result in a seismic redistribution of federal spending.”
On the other hand, the authors go on to say, we can’t possibly calculate block grants based on current spending, because that “would lock in large and arguably unfair variation in funding across states.” The only solution, clearly, is to just keep giving states as much money as they need for however many Medicaid recipients they’re able to sign up.
Folks, this is the government plantation, or company state. As I wrote when I first began tracing that economic model in Rhode Island, when the state’s major industry (government) relies on its ability to sign up people for services in order to charge other people for them, the people forced to pay the bill will eventually flee the system, if they’re local, or push their own representatives to stop the bleeding, if they’re in other states being soaked by the feds.
Rhode Island should take the opportunity of the Trump Administration to get off this track. The chasm toward which it leads has no bridge.
A Wall Street Journal editorial has gotten some attention with the headline, “School Choice Saves Money“:
Using data from a crime and graduation study by Corey DeAngelis and Patrick Wolf at the University of Arkansas, the Milwaukee study finds that through 2035 Wisconsin will receive a $473 million benefit from higher graduation rates by choice students. More education translates into higher incomes, more tax revenue and a lower likelihood of reliance on government welfare or other payments. Meanwhile, greater economic opportunity also prevents young adults from turning to crime, which the study estimates will save Wisconsin $1.7 million from fewer misdemeanors and $24 million from fewer felonies over the same 20 years.
Some years back the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity had a victory, in our view, pushing dynamic scoring into the legislative debate with our proposal to eliminate the state sales tax. Dynamic scoring means that one considers the economic effects of a policy and subtracts the increased tax revenue from the policy’s “static” (“sticker,” or first-order) cost. The above paragraph reminds us that there is a social dynamism, too, reducing the need for government services as well as increasing the tax take from a healthier economy.
Obviously, this has perverse relevance to Rhode Island’s “government plantation,” which might gain back some lost tax revenue but lose clients and political leverage over them.
But imagine if we had policies that kept kids engaged in good schools (through school choice) and gave them opportunities for more entry-level jobs (through a lower minimum wage and reduced licensing requirements). It might just reduce the cost of paying government to mitigate social problems, create an environment of entrepreneurship, and turn our state around.
Of course, it would require us to shift away from the government plantation, so it won’t happen.
Highlighting the change in the Providence area’s mix of employment, Ted Nesi reviews a study finding that the metro has seen the nation’s greatest drop in manufacturing jobs, as a percentage of all jobs, with jobs requiring a college degree increasing in the mix.
This is a percentage, not the absolute number of jobs, so all sorts of jobs could go up or down, but if they do so at different rates, the mix will change. In that light, this metric could be indicative of Rhode Island’s government plantation approach. As the economy shifts toward emphasis on government services, more of the available jobs require college degrees (not because, by the way, government-service jobs necessarily require degree-level skill sets, but because it suits politicians and labor unions to require degrees.)
Beyond such considerations, the response from the governor caught my eye:
In his paper, Whitaker notes concerns “that the growing industries do not provide enough work opportunities or middle-class incomes for people without college degrees.” That echoes frequent comments by Rhode Island leaders including Gov. Gina Raimondo who say the state needs to do more to encourage the creation of jobs for workers who don’t attend college.
She may have said such a thing somewhere, but the emphasis of her policies has been on “well-paying” jobs in trendy fields. More importantly, her premise about government effort is wrong. State politicians and bureaucrats are not well positioned to create targeted jobs. And even if they were, they haven’t the right. When the government attempts to create specific jobs, it is either manipulating the public to match politicians’ preferences or replacing residents who don’t fit the plan with outsiders who do. Note this:
A study earlier this year by Boston Fed economist Mary Burke reported manufacturing employment in Rhode Island plunged by 57% between 1990 and 2015, and found a growing number of the state’s skilled jobs requiring college degrees were going to out-of-state workers.
If the state government is to maintain democratic legitimacy, it has to represent the people who are here, not a marked-off place on the map or a collection of preferred industries.
Having lured another 117,000 people into Medicaid, the state government of Rhode Island is going to plug them into an experiment that the progressive faction can use as “ammunition” in its political fight.
The argument for higher tuition (or taxpayer subsidies) at RI’s government colleges and universities suggests an alternative world in which a perverse variation of the rules of economics applies.
Over on RI Future, Steve Ahlquist complains that, under President Donald Trump, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is now detaining people for “even minor crimes.” Here’s Ahlquist’s example:
According to sources familiar with the incident, José Eduardo Cames (the third part of his name may be misspelled) lied to immigration officials at the border when he and his wife entered the country. They carried a baby with them that was not theirs, loaned to them from another family, to make a better case for themselves to stay in the United States.
An investigation revealed the lie, but under Obama, that did not make the couple a high priority for deportation and as long as they made periodic visits to an ICE office in Warwick, they were allowed to stay in the country. At their most recent visit to the Warwick ICE offices on Friday, ICE did not let them leave and detained them, said a source familiar with the case.
In other words, the “minor crime” that the couple broke was entering the country illegally, with the added dynamic of fraud, and the agency that the federal government has created at great expense to enforce that particular area of the law is holding them, perhaps to deport them. (Never mind that they “borrowed” a baby, as one borrows a car, perhaps with the intention that the child’s actual parents would then have an excuse to enter the country, which is arguably a form of exploitation and human trafficking.)
As I’ve written before, there are legitimately difficult cases in the immigration debate, but one gets the impression that progressives don’t actually believe that any of the cases are difficult. Their view appears to be that we should let everybody in at the border and then let them stay (seeding the government plantation and giving progressives political leverage).
Funny how moral principle in politics seems so often to align with self interest. Here’s Byron York in the Washington Examiner:
Why is Washington State mounting such a vigorous challenge to President Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending non-American entry from seven terrorism-plagued countries? Of course there are several lawsuits against the president, and there are lots of motives among the various litigants. But Washington State’s is the suit that stopped the order, at least temporarily. And a look at the state’s case suggests that, behind high-minded rhetoric about religious liberty and constitutional protections, there is a lot of money at stake.
Judging by the briefs filed by Washington State, as well as statements made by its representatives, some of the state’s top priorities in challenging Trump are: 1) To ensure an uninterrupted supply of relatively low-wage H-1B foreign workers for Microsoft and other state businesses; 2) To ensure a continuing flow of high-tuition-paying foreign student visa holders; and 3) To preserve the flow of tax revenues that results from those and other sources.
And don’t forget Medicaid, SNAP, public education, and other federally subsidized welfare programs available to legal and (probably) illegal immigrants on the government plantation.
A great short report for which I’ve done some research, but which I never manage to get to, would look at the effects of Vermont’s legacy school choice program. Given the long-rural history of the state, some districts offer students actual school choice, including to private schools, and a key finding that Rhode Island homeowners should find interesting is that property values go up significantly in areas with choice. Geoffrey Norman doesn’t offer more than a nod to that dynamic in a recent article in The Weekly Standard, but he does use the current debate in Vermont to make a key, fundamental point (emphasis added):
So, school choice is not—and could never be—supported by the education bureaucracy. It threatens not just their convictions but their livelihoods. Where parents can take their kids and the public money that is being spent on them out of one school and move them, and it, to another—well, this threatens the entire system.
Why it might even, in the dark vision of one of the prominent Vermont opponents of school choice, “turn children into commodities.”
Which of course stands the whole thing on its head. Commodities don’t make choices. They are manipulated, packaged, and bundled. As are students in the grip of the industrial-education complex.
What Norman is touching on, here, is the government plantation. Attracting people to an area who are likely to need government assistance, binding them to their region with government dependency, and locking their children in government schools creates a captive audience with little power to affect the services their receiving. Again, “commodities don’t make choices,” but when human beings are “manipulated, packaged, and bundled,” they lose the authority to do anything but sit on the shelf until they’re of use to some powerful consumer.
Hey, here’s a thought: Maybe the State of Rhode Island should stop acting like a subsidiary of the federal government and start acting like a sovereign state that thrives when its people thrive. If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what could be:
While other states – including Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Montana and Kentucky – are more federal aid-heavy than Rhode Island, a newly-released analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, of 2014 census data, found Rhode Island 16th highest in the nation in terms of how much of its budget is financed by federal dollars. In that year, 34.7 percent.
Anyone worried? The answer: You betcha. But some more openly worried than others.
In large part, this is the government plantation, but it’s also indicative of the government’s crowding out the private sector as an economic competitor, too.
Any wise investor upon having a scare with a particular stock would figure out the importance of diversifying. It’s time for Rhode Islanders to stop relying more on government as an economic driver and start relying on each other.
And don’t let fear of President Trump specifically be the end of your consideration of the matter. Think about how vulnerable to real tyranny it makes us that our supposed leaders apparently have to make decisions about governance in order to keep the money flowing. Everything else, from culture to global warfare, could easily take a back seat to that bottom line.
As individuals, families, and a state, being dependent makes us weak and vulnerable.
A statewide elite in government and the media that ignores people whom they don’t like allows reckless governance that will ultimately crash the ship of state.
Morgan Scarboro of the Tax Foundation has taken a look at the states’ reliance on the federal government when it comes to taking money from other Americans and padding their own budgets:
In fiscal year 2014, over 60 percent of federal spending in the states went to benefits payments to individuals, including Social Security and Medicare. Aid is also given to states for education, transportation, housing, agriculture and more. Medicare is the largest grant program and continues to grow. Federal aid to states as a whole also grew 25 percent (adjusted for inflation) from 2005 to 2014.
Rhode Island is in the top group of states, with 34.7% of our state revenue transfered to us from the federal budget, more than any state this side of West Virginia other than Maine, which is poorer. This is the government plantation, and it ought to be an embarrassment to Rhode Islanders.
New U.S. Census estimates of states’ populations are out, and Rhode Island just like last year, experienced a small increase in population. And once again the details of the numbers give reason for concern.
For the second year in a row, total population increased by a smaller number. That is, 2014’s increase was 1,447, 2015’s was 1,127, and 2016’s is 819. The natural population increase resulting from having more births than deaths was the smallest since 2010.
Of more concern, though, is that more Rhode Islanders continue to leave for other states than to head in the other direction, but those departures are over-compensated with immigration from other countries. This year, we lost 3,784 Rhode Islanders to other states but gained 4,203 from other countries. (Illegal immigrants would be included in these numbers.) According to the Census, Rhode Island lost 28,565 residents to other states but imported 25,406 residents from other countries.
Putting aside the fact that people who arrived from other countries may have later left for other states, Rhode Island has, roughly speaking, swapped out 2.4% of its population for people from other countries. One needn’t be xenophobic to worry that this trend might not be ideal.
As the Rhode Island Family Prosperity Index report suggests, the Ocean State’s policy decisions are pushing our neighbors to leave. Meanwhile, the government plantation model of the state’s major industry (government) creates incentive for elected officials and bureaucrats to seek to import clients who’ll require their services (and provide them votes).
The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today issued the Ocean State’s iteration of the American Conservative Union’s Family Prosperity Index report, making Rhode Island the second state explored in detail. An associated Web site for the state is also up now.
The index incorporates a broad variety of demographic and economic data to compare how well states are performing for the families who live within their borders, and not surprisingly, Rhode Island ranks an abysmal 48th. From the report:
… the FPI research suggests that economic hardship can often lead to adverse personal or social consequences, and vice versa. The issue of drug abuse, which has long been a concern for families and for the business community in Rhode Island, provides a clear example of this linkage. As we will discuss later, Rhode Island ranks worst in the nation in terms of illicit drug use. To its credit, in 2016, Rhode Island took action to address this disturbing trend.
With the Ocean State ranking nationally in the bottom 10 on the FPI Economics index, as well as the entrepreneurship and unemployment sub-indexes, it isn’t a surprise that the associated personal fnancial distress has an impact on its residents’ personal behavior.
An introductory report is obviously just a starting point, and the initiative’s data for the whole country is online already in interactive format. We’ve already been making use of it, in this space, noting for example evidence that Rhode Island’s economic and civic reality is actually spurring two conflicting reactions among its people: one to retrench toward healthy behavior and one to compensate for difficulties with unhealthy behavior. Unfortunately, our elected officials seem more inclined to implement policies that favor the unhealthy behavior and impede the healthy (arguably to fertilize the government plantation).
To help make the case that Rhode Island needs a new direction, the Rhode Island site is encouraging Rhode Islanders to tell their own stories, whether negative or positive, and is hosting a leadership forum in cooperation with the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University on January 17 (RSVP at the link).
The charter school debate in Providence brings out the point that government schools shouldn’t look to be expansionist, but policy should be set for student outcomes.
Yes, it’s arguably unfair to react to the phrase I’ve italicized in the following quotation from a recent article by Christine Dunn in the Providence Journal without the context of a longer, more subtle conversation, but it did jump out at me:
More than 13,000 people applied for housing vouchers in less than a week in November, when Rhode Island Housing and the Providence Housing Authority jointly opened their waiting lists, the Rhode Island Housing Board of Commissioners was told Thursday morning.
The online application process was a success, and most people were able to apply on their mobile telephones.
It’s a truism of the welfare state that, no matter what the government is technically subsidizing, taxpayers are actually subsidizing the least-necessary goods and services the recipient purchases.
Of course, used properly, smartphones and the related data plans can be valuable tools helping people to advance in their lives. Absent some structural incentive, though — or even just a little bit of stigma to being on the public dole — the public must wonder whether we’re subsidizing technology mainly for entertainment and so that beneficiaries can better access more public benefits.
Treating welfare recipients as consumers of packages of public products leads to the government plantation.
Notice anything about the recent op-ed from RI Education Commissioner Ken Wagner?
Some claim that charters take money that is owed to district schools. In my view, the money is not “owed” to district schools or any other education provider. Local, state and national taxpayers raised this money for a specific purpose: to educate the youth of a community. We have an obligation to ensure the money serves the children rather than simply maintains the current system.
This is the core of the argument that I’ve been proffering for total school choice. Public dollars aren’t collected and expended for the maintenance of a government-branded school system, but for the cause of educating the public. Whatever structure or method will accomplish that goal most effectively and economically is the proper one.
Indeed, just about every argument in Wagner’s essay would apply to education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, or any other school choice vehicle and could be added to the Bright Today list of myths.
It is only through the devotion of insiders to the status quo and their control of public information that this point remains sufficiently obscure that Wagner doesn’t feel he has to address it. The people are starting to figure it out, though, and it is yet another area in which those of us who really wish to move Rhode Island forward for the benefit of its people need only guide their natural conclusions.
Consider Dan McGowan’s WPRI article on public testimony regarding the Achievement First charter school expansion proposal before the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education. The article is 17 paragraphs long. Here’s the 13th:
But the majority of individuals who testified about Achievement First Tuesday encouraged the council to back the expansion.
That is, after 12 paragraphs — three-quarters of the article — conveying the points of view of insiders, who are in the minority, McGowan finally gets to what should arguably have been the headline of the article: that people want school choice. When all is said, the only argument to prevent the people from using public funds for their preferred public policy is maintenance of the government plantation.
Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity CEO Mike Stenhouse often refers to the value of “a paycheck, not a welfare check.” Rich Lowry suggests President-elect Donald Trump is on the same page:
Trump hammered away at the true bottom line of the economy for most people. Mike Konczal, a fellow with the liberal Roosevelt Institute, went back and listened to Trump stump speeches after the election to better understand how the mogul pulled off his upset. Konczal notes that Trump “never mentions poverty. And while he talks a lot about reducing taxes, he never talks about increasing transfers, redistribution, or access to core goods. He talks about wages, full stop.”
And that’s the key to Trump’s economics. If you squint just right, you can see a strategy. It is to increase growth through traditional Republican means (i.e., tax reform and deregulation) at the same time, he aims to directly create a tighter labor market through soaking up labor via an infrastructure program and reducing foreign competition by discouraging outsourcing and squeezing immigration.
Related principles applied to Rhode Island would focus on workers both by decreasing the incentive for them to enter into dependency on government programs and by increasing the resources and liberty at their disposal to expand their work and, if they choose, build their own businesses (that is, reducing taxes and regulations). Instead, the champions of the status quo in the Ocean State are striving to make more of us dependent on government (through, e.g., UHIP and continually expanding social welfare programs), to attract people to the state who will require government assistance (for the government plantation), and to give government-selected businesses an edge against their local competition by taxing others more to tax the favored companies less.
This is unambiguously the choice Rhode Islanders face, and it has to be made again and again. For example, infrastructure projects to “soak up labor” are sorely needed, both for jobs and for public safety, but the choice is whether to increase the tax/toll/debt burden or to redirect funds that currently foster dependency to help independent workers.
Pay attention to this tidbit from a Providence Journal article by Alisha Pina:
The majority, said Cindy Machado, chief human service policy and system specialist, were here because they want to know why their benefits were cut. Of the 97,000 receiving food assistance, 3,000 have been deemed ineligible or didn’t give the required paperwork in time to keep getting help.
Another 500 people on Thursday had their state health insurance cut for similar reasons. UHIP has a program that allows the state to check monthly if residents are still eligible for the insurance. Notices were sent to those in question, and time was given before benefits were ended. Officials had hoped that the program would save about $16 million this fiscal year, but delaying the launch by two months decreased the projected savings by $2.4 million.
Right now, it sounds like a money saver that 3,500 welfare beneficiaries were found to be ineligible, but we’re on an economic upswing, and all of the state’s welfare programs aren’t fully integrated, yet. When the upswing stops and, more importantly, when all government programs are linked for this month-to-month assessment, UHIP will become a way to maximize payments, not minimize them.
Through a creepily invasive “program” that keeps a monthly profile of all Rhode Island residents — at least those below some income threshold that we might call the “dependence line” — the plan is for the government to actively sign up new “clients” as they become eligible, sucking a maximum number of people into the system. Again, we’re all either potential produce or tax-money laborers for the government plantation.
Without the motivation of the government plantation, Americans would find their comfort point and compromise on immigration.
The other day, the Providence Journal published an interesting map showing that, much like the country as a whole, Rhode Island’s presidential votes were split by region, with the coastal municipalities’ going to Hillary Clinton and the interior going to Donald Trump. The image oversimplifies, of course; several cities and towns in the northeast of the state don’t touch the coast, and Charlestown and Tiverton went to Clinton without her winning even half of the vote.
Reporter Paul Edward Parker touch on some of the nuance in the numbers:
Four of the five communities with the highest median household incomes voted for Clinton, as did seven of the eight communities with the lowest incomes.
Essentially, Clinton drew her support from the wealthiest and poorest places, while Trump drew his from the middle.
Laying this out in more detail arguably tells the story of Rhode Island’s current condition in a single chart:
Refer back to this 2009 post on Anchor Rising, and you’ll see that the bottom of the U is almost exactly in line with the population that has been leaving Rhode Island throughout this millennium. As those Rhode Islanders flee the state, those who remain are increasingly part of the “company state” or “government plantations” model, wherein highly paid service providers in and around government have incentive to increase the number of clients requiring subsidized services as a pretense for taking money away from those above the line for subsidies.
This model harms the economy and drives people away because it reduces the incentive and opportunity to work. The “productive class” is characterized by the economic role of the people who tend to be within it. It’s the broad class of people whose main function in the economy is to turn their effort and ingenuity into money that they can use to support and advance their families.
This trend is terrible for a state for a multitude of reasons, but two stand out as particularly profound and overarching. The first is that the “productive class” is the group whose activities are the foundation of a thriving and advancing society. They are the dynamism and hope for the future.
The second is that the erosion of this tier of the economy as a source of balance eliminates political competition. A loss of political competition will inevitably lead to a political monolith that is not only incapable of correcting itself, but also susceptible to simple, wasteful, and demoralizing corruption.
Those who sympathize with the high points of the U really need to reevaluate the long-term good of their policies. The rest of us need to redouble our efforts to turn the tide.
While Joseph Paolino’s desire to do good is admirable, his St. Joseph’s project has given us a valuable preview of the vision that drives progressive government.
Basketball relies on superstars and soccer on a solid team; RI’s progressive establishment likes the basketball approach, but the economy functions more like soccer.
Looking at a charter school debate in Providence and a home schooling question in Tiverton, the guiding principle of the state’s education system appears to be whether special interests can profit from a particular policy.
UHIP waiting lines illustrate state government’s harvesting of human beings and prove how low the minimum wage really is in a system of government dependency (even as elites throw awards at an unpopular governor).
The Rhode Island Democrat Party and other left-wingers have been trying to make a big deal out of the fact that conservatives aren’t entirely sitting on their hands during this election cycle:
On Thursday, former Democratic party chairman William Lynch, now senior adviser, issued a news release calling on voters to “reject special interest money” from “outside right-wing organizations” trying to influence the election.
He pointed to $90,294 in combined independent expenditures from the Roosevelt Society, led by former Republican Providence mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop, and the Gaspee Project, founded by activist Mike Stenhouse, and suggested they were being secretly funded by the trucking industry.
That’s two organizations spending on a range of candidates and issues. A GoLocalProv article out today actually puts the groups’ combined spending at $60,850, but either way, the idea that this represents some invasion of voter sanctity by self-interested parties is absurd. Just look through the bigger spenders on GoLocal’s list:
- $335,000 from the URI Foundation and URI Alumni Association to push voters to put taxpayers in $72,937,126 of debt (principal and interest) for spending on URI programs
- $175,000 from two individuals directly involved in ProvPort to push voters to put taxpayers in $112,210,962 of debt to expand their port and do work at the one in Quonset
- $100,000 from United Way, as mentioned on this site yesterday, to push voters to put taxpayers in $80,150,687 of debt to fund the local affordable housing industry
- $1,700,000 from Twin River to promote state and local ballot questions to allow a new casino in Tiverton
- $146,500 from Alan Hassenfeld, partly to push for passage of ethics reform, but more to back candidates who’ll work to infringe on Rhode Islanders’s Second Amendment rights
- And rounding out GoLocal’s top 10 list is Planned Parenthood, with $25,712 to promote politicians who’ll fight to continue allowing the killing of babies before every inch of them is clear of their mothers’ bodies
Anybody who’s concerned about the use of government to take away people’s property and rights should be much more concerned about money for debt and left-wing policies. Voters should also be concerned about a party and ideology that tries to make it seem scandalous that those who disagree with them have the audacity to participate in the political process. They’d rather be able to take your property and your rights without any opposition.