In keeping with a recurring theme, on this site, a statement from Governor Raimondo that appeared in a Providence Journal blurb last Wednesday raises a central, fundamental question that nobody is asking as part of the discussion about how to move Rhode Island forward (or at least stop its backwards trajectory). The topic has to do with government job-training programs:
“We have to put employers at the center of the process to determine what they need to hire workers,” she said, “It has to be employer-driven and it has to move at the speed of business.”
Here’s the question: Why is it a legitimate government activity to shape the population to fit the needs of corporations?
Seriously. I’m a free-market champion, and improving the business environment is critical. But (1) that can be done by loosening, rather than tightening, the government’s grip on the reins, and (2) people, not businesses, must be central. If businesses are telling the government what sort of employees they need, and if government is using its coercive advantages in order to shape the people to fit the request, that isn’t free market. It’s corporatist and certain to result in long-term stagnation and a dismantling of the bridge between the have-nots and haves.