The frustrating thing about assessments like this from Joel Kotkin is that Rhode Island’s decline is entirely its own decision:
Today, the often-disdained red states have the wind at their back, while in blue America, the economy seems to be slowing, as industries and people move to lower-cost, lower-regulation states. Seven of the top 10 states in terms of population growth last year were deep red; overall, the South has become home to the better part of economic dynamism in the country, with Texas and Florida alone accounting for one-third of all U.S. growth since 2010. Some analysts suggest that the new tax law, which works against high-income earners in high-tax states, will accelerate these trends further.
We could easily construct our economic policy — mainly taxes and regulations — in a way that would make Rhode Island the beacon of the North. Just give people a place in which to conduct their lives and their business, and they’ll come here to do it.