Yesterday, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity released its monthly Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) report. By design, the index doesn’t change much month to month, and the multiple data sources cover different periods. Nonetheless, it was a pretty down month, with employment, labor force, and jobs all down, while Medicaid enrollees were up. Of the five updated numbers, only SNAP (food stamp) enrollment moved in a positive direction (that is, down).
The key finding of JOI is the longer-term ranking among states, and by that measure, Rhode Island has been stuck at 48th since 2012. Combine that with the employment stagnation that the recent post in this space pointed out, covering nearly a year, and we’re clearly not in good shape, and we’re clearly not being helped by the approach of Governor Gina Raimondo and the General Assembly.
The problem is that the things that Rhode Island insiders place as their highest priorities — the irreducibles that they will not touch — are not only directly contrary to policies that would encourage economic health, but if politicians are to attempt to do anything at all, the irreducibles require workarounds that exacerbate, rather than alleviate, the problem. That is, rather than reduce the high taxes, regulations, voluminous give-aways, and labor union stranglehold by which insiders protect their own sinecures, they “invest” our tax dollars in new special interests that are bought off from the start, such as large companies given tax breaks to set up shop, here.
This won’t end well, the only question being whether the Ocean State will continue to bleed out slowly or have a fatal crisis.