What’s your first thought upon reading the following, from a Linda Borg article in the Providence Journal?
The rising tide of economic recovery has not lifted Rhode Island’s poor, the 2017 Report on Hunger in Rhode Island found.
Rhode Island, at 12.8 percent, has the highest rate of poverty in New England, with 130,000 people living in households with incomes below the poverty line. One-third of the jobs created in Rhode Island last year have an annual wage of $26,529, the study says.
Unless you believe the politicians’ rhetoric that our state’s economy is strong — in which case, you’ll see these 130,000 as inexplicably slipping through the cracks — you’ll probably conclude that Rhode Island’s economy needs to improve so the tide actually is rising. As the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) shows, it’s not.
But Borg’s article, which is essentially promotion of a Rhode Island Community Food Bank report, never challenges our state’s approach to economic development. Rather, it advocates against Republican policy proposals in Washington and spares a word to chide the state government for the UHIP debacle.
Charity is an important part of the equation when it comes to helping our fellow human beings, but the higher goal — mentioned whenever the topic comes up — should always be to get folks on their own feet and in a condition to be charitable toward others. That is how the rising tide works, and too much reliance on government suppresses it.