Mission creep, scope creep, ratchet effect… it has many different names, but the end result is continued loss of your rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. While this sounds all very lofty and high minded, it exists in the very communities in which we live and affects our lives daily. We live in a country right now that is under constant attack by people who want to control or profit from the government that is supposed to serve you. They do it in many different ways, but the end result is always the same. Various groups count on the fact that you, the citizen, are asleep at the wheel and/or too busy to pay attention to what they are doing.
Let’s take East Greenwich. On the surface… a very desirable place to live with good schools, solid tax base, low crime. A quintessential New England town, by all accounts. What’s really happening (and how did it happen)? East Greenwich is broke, its borrowing money it doesn’t have, pensions are insolvent and the public sector unions are feeding at the trough like it’s all you can eat at the Golden Corral Buffet, and as far as I can see nobody is stopping it. In fact, its being encouraged.
The groups that brought you this are counting on the fact that you haven’t noticed, or if you have, they will do anything to you shut up. I also have a few specific questions for our local government. Are we better off financially than we were one year ago after the so-called referendum election? Has the firefighter overtime issue been solved? What are our legal costs, and what have been our settlement costs? Do we have convicted felons working in our financial office? Are we really so well off we can afford 20-year bonds on equipment that will long be out of service?
The average citizen in EG falls in two categories for simplicity: the locals and those who came for the schools. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about either group, but both are being adversely affected. Many of the locals who have spent their lives, and even generations, here are slowly being taxed out of their homes or are unable to conduct business. This is due to the high cost of doing business, with ever-rising state/local taxes. The school crowd tends to be more upwardly mobile, professionals, young kids, fast-paced lives with very little time for mundanities of local government and aside from school issues are largely disengaged. Let’s face it: Life is pretty good in the EG, and most are unwilling to put a toe in the boiling political waters.
What has always been around Rhode Island is the onerous government in all its forms constantly feeding off its citizens. Politicians passing out patronage jobs, no bid contracts, insider info, supporting “evergreen contracts,” essentially everything to keep them fat and happy. Now, here come the Progressives. Every half-baked social-contract idea you could imagine and not pay for!
These zealots are wild-eyed and extremely well organized, pushing an agenda most people are not warm on. Here’s the rub: Progressives are very effective in taking you into their agenda, and if you don’t buy in, they are even better at bullying you to shut up. So, what we have here is the “perfect storm.” Unions were only too willing to embrace these people in exchange for approving whatever the unions wanted. Progressives were happy to take the money and lead the rest of us into “enlightenment.” In the end, however, the taxpayer and the average citizen pays for it… until he can’t.
Here’s the problem, “perfect storms” inevitably make landfall and wreck things. It’s not fun after a long day to go sit in a town meeting. It is boring to read budgets, much less understand them. It is painful to stand up in a crowded room filled with aforementioned groups and make a case while they shout you down even as they tar and feather you on social media. I get it.
Sooner or later though the wheels will come off the wagon; it is inevitable. The townies will be pushed out, and the transients will no longer come because the tax base is gone, housing has become too expensive, and the schools fail. Please explain to me how you can buy one of the McMansions across Route 2 at $1.2 million and expect to get your money out after all the improvements have been made and you are still staring at a $30,000 tax bill.
To say nothing of all the other “affordable” housing at $500,000, which buys you 1,200 square feet. At least the locals breezed out of town with a little cash in their pockets to a red state.
Freedom isn’t free. It needs an engaged citizenry to ensure liberty is preserved, not just for us, but all those that come after. We are merely stewards of our great country, and it is our sacred duty to take care of it.