Rhode Island is stealing our opportunity to fulfill our potential and be self-sufficient. We’re becoming increasingly dependent on subsidies from government, jobs remain scarce, and the state’s latest programs are designed to make things worse.
Here’s one indicator of increasing dependency: From January 2007 to January 2010, the state added over 60,000 residents to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; “food stamps”). Over the next three years, nearly 50,000 more joined, bringing the total to nearly 181,000.
In those few years, the state added about one-tenth of its population to the welfare program. Since then, during a supposed recovery, the number of participating Rhode Islanders hasn’t even fallen by 10,000.
During the same period, nearly 40,000 jobs disappeared from Rhode Island, and the state hasn’t quite replaced 30,000 of them. Joblessness or low pay subsidized with handouts appears to be the new normal in Rhode Island. As the crawling increase in jobs shows, we’re not achieving our role as a community to provide self-fulfilling, dignified work that allows us to support our own families.