The status quo in Rhode Island needs a reality check with regard to the now epic UHIP computer systems disaster. With reports of Rhode Islanders being driven to extreme measures to make up for the loss of social safety net, the insiders must realize that once again they have headed down the wrong path. Big government is incompetent to run our lives. While we empathize with those families being hurt by the UHIP nightmare, we recognize that we must be vigilant about the expansion of the social safety net, because dependency robs individuals of the soul fulfilling benefits of work. A major goal of UHIP is to ensure that the state provides as much social service aid to as many people as possible.
Even if the state government manages to get UHIP to work the way they want, their dependency scheme is not in the best interest of Rhode Islanders. It is one thing to upgrade informational systems. It is an entirely different issue when those upgrades are used as a strategic tool to encourage people to become dependent on government assistance, and driving up costs for taxpayers. It is not the proper role for government to discourage a productive and self-sufficient lifestyle. While we recognize that it may be beyond point-of-no-return with the UHIP project, the Center encourages legislative leaders to closely monitor and prohibit strategic use of UHIP to dramatically expand Rhode Island’s social services network.
Does anyone trust that an elite cabal of political cronies should centrally engineer our economy with a mix of big social service programs for the very poor, and big handouts to the very wealthy? This is not an isolated incident, look at the failure of the DMV computer system, or the underperformance of our out-of-date school system. Or, should we place more trust in the great people of the Ocean State to be able to unleash their suppressed capacity in a fair and free-market economy with family friendly ideas, via major tax and regulatory reductions across the board and school choice scholarships? The top down ideas, being demonstrated by the incompetence of big government in trying to run our lives, are not the answer for restoring our economy. They are a mistake; Rhode Island’s forgotten people deserve so much more.
In closing, a well-planned “shock” to the status quo is, indeed, needed for Rhode Island. I am looking for state leaders – either lawmakers or civil society leaders – who will work with me to begin this very serious and important conversation. Until we put into place the proven family friendly ideas necessary to turnaround our state, we will continue to see the negative trends continue. Your voice is powerful. This is not the time to hang back on the sidelines and hope someone else creates change. By fighting for right answers on these issues, you can make Rhode Island a place that will remain home for your family for generations to come.