Writing in the Providence Journal, Robert Fellner provides more evidence that Rhode Island government has flipped the proper civic order so that the public is serving the government and its employees, rather than the other way around:
New U.S. Census Bureau data reveals a 68 percent increase in the pay gap between Rhode Island’s local government workers and their private, for-profit counterparts. That’s comparing median earnings of full-time, year-round workers for the 2010-2014 period against the previous five-year period.
Rhode Island’s private-sector workers saw their median earnings fall nearly 4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars to $44,646, the largest percentage decline of any New England state. Rhode Island’s local government workers, however, saw their median earnings increase over 10 percent to a national-high $65,506 — the largest percentage gain nationwide.
To some extent, the private-sector story isn’t entirely one of people not receiving raises and therefore losing ground against inflation (although that’s definitely happening), but rather of a changing population. That’s what I’ve dubbed the “company state,” in which the government imports clients for its services, for which it pays with local taxes, federal handouts, and debt, while driving out people who might compete economically and politically. This process will continue until one of two things happens: Either the state will find it impossible to take enough money from other people to pay for the services it has promised to provide, or the shrinking population of Rhode Islanders who would prefer to live independently from government will, through concerted political effort, put a stop to the abuse.
Unfortunately, people who want to live independently from government are less likely to want to run for government office, and of course, government insiders and special interests aren’t just going to let them take things over. They’ll fight back in ways large and small.
Just today, we learn that they’ve decided to go ahead with a plan to create a brand new revenue source, tolls, to back a bunch of debt undertaken unconstitutionally, without a vote of the people. This is only one of the many ways Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo and the Democrats who run the General Assembly are simply creating loopholes to prevent the public from disrupting their plans. Then, of course, there’s the continuing assault on private individuals’ ability to work to change local government through the traditional channels.
As the pressure between these forces increases — government’s increasing difficulty paying for its expanding activities and people’s decreasing ability to change government or find refuge from it — our society will become much less stable, bringing to mind a recent column in USA Today by Glenn Reynolds:
According to a recent Associated Press poll, the public lacks confidence in government. And by “lacks confidence,” I mean “really lacks confidence.” Specifically, “More than 6 in 10 respondents expressed only slight confidence — or none at all — that the federal government can make progress on the problems facing the nation in 2016.” …
A much-hyped YouGov poll from last fall found that 29% of Americans could imagine supporting a military coup. That poll probably overstated popular support — it didn’t ask if people favored a coup right now, just whether they could imagine supporting one, including in the instance of the government violating the Constitution — but there was also this, as Newser reported: “Some 71% said military officers put the interests of the country ahead of their own interests, while just 12% thought the same about members of Congress.”