Topics

City/Town Government

Coalition Radio Introduces Three Fiscal Topics into the 2014 Campaign


Issue 1: Do any candidates for Rhode Island Governor or Rhode Island General Assembly support modifying or repealing Governor Chafee’s Wall-Street-first law regarding municipal priorities?

Issue 2: Will any of the candidates for Governor of Rhode Island have their fiscal staffs look immediately into the possibility of a Providence receivership. Will they tell us if they do?

Issue 3: Buddy Cianci, according to some research done by Michael Riley, once advocated for pension obligation bonds to help finance Providence’s pension system. Might he do so again?


The Incentive to Rend Communities

Data from Tiverton Fact Check shows the high school principal and his teacher wife making two-and-a-half times the town’s median household income, which is a lot of incentive to attack people who complain that a few more hundred dollars in taxes actually has to come from somewhere.


Insider vs. Outsider in Warwick’s GOP Mayoral Primary

While both Rhode Island gubernatorial primaries have been awash in revelations of party-switching and -line crossing, Warwick’s Republican Mayoral primary, pitting long-time Republican Mayor Scott Avedisian against political new-comer Stacia Petri, could also see widespread party-line crossing at the polls.


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Civil Rights

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 42 (Providence Mayoral Primary and Church/State)

Justin and Bob Plain argue over the Democrat primary for Providence mayor and its implications for the separation of church and state.


GOP Gubernatorial Primary: A Final Word on Ken Block’s Vote for Obama


When choosing a President based on the very legitimate criteria of his influence over the Supreme Court, had Ken Block considered what it might mean for basic issues of religious freedom, the right to bear arms, and economic rights?

Republicans want a leader who is going to do more than work around the strange ideas that liberals have, after they’ve been implemented in government. His good work on the master lever notwithstanding, the votes for Obama are a strong suggestion that Ken Block isn’t that type of leader.


Little Towns, Big (Government) Guns

The events in Ferguson, MO have drawn widespread public attention to the increasing militarization of local police departments. It’s a topic that has been discussed amongst civil–rights minded folks for the last decade or so and has both national and local impact.


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Congress

Mark Zaccaria on Issues Facing the US Senate


After his campaign announcement, Republican Senatorial candidate Mark Zaccaria answered questions posed by Anchor Rising on the subjects of:

The guiding principle and vision of American foreign policy.

Where to go on Obamacare, from where we now are.

The institutional way to deal with executive overreach.

The gulf between the elites and the people, on illegal immigration.


Mark Zaccaria Announces for Senate


Mark Zaccaria: “[Y]our taxes, your food and your housing costs are all up as a result of what the Federal Government has done, and Jack Reed has voted yes for every single one of those increases, certainly during the last couple of terms. I contend that Rhode Islanders are ready to vote no, and it’s about high time.

But they have to have a choice to be able to do that, to be able to vote for better monetary policy, or smaller government that costs less, so that it takes less money out of your pockets. You have to have that alternative on the ballot. I hope to be the face of that message to the hard-working, tax-paying men and women of Rhode Island during this campaign.

There is another way, folks. We can do that. And I will be making that point, to anyone who will listen to me, every day between now and the fourth of November…you don’t have to vote for the guy you voted for last time. In fact, it might be better if you voted for somebody new.”


What the Republican Establishment Needs to Take Away From Eric Cantor’s Loss


GOP voters are much less likely than Democratic party voters (or Democratic party elites, for that matter) to reject economics. They thus realize that the intra-coalition deal where the establishment gets an immigration amnesty and lower wages for everyone, while the rest of the GOP gets to listen to the establishment elite posture ineffectively on other issues but never actually achieve anything, isn’t a good one.

If Wall Street/Chamber of Commerce types are interested in helping to build a stronger Republican party at the national level, their path forward is this: Invest some energy into an issue or two other than amnesty.


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Culture & Family

Immature Radicalism Versus Society’s Coming to Fruition

Lamenting a loss of decency points toward (perhaps) the fundamental error that modern society has made over the last century or more.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 42 (Providence Mayoral Primary and Church/State)

Justin and Bob Plain argue over the Democrat primary for Providence mayor and its implications for the separation of church and state.


Why Politics Matter (Mostly from the Left)

It’s fascinating to observe why people on the Left think “politics matter,” because it illustrates how their rhetoric is completely opposite of their end results.


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Economy

August 2014 Unemployment: Turning Down from the Clouds

The employment figures for Rhode Island are on a downswing, although a shrinking labor force keeps the unemployment rate steady or “improving.” Meanwhile, a likely revision in January may darken the picture further.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


July 2014 Employment: The Dream Is Over

Rhode Island’s statistical employment surge came to a screeching halt in July, but not before putting the Ocean State in company with the Deep South. (Of course, the numbers still look likely to be revised downward dramatically in January.)


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Education

Gist: Let Another Full Grade Go Through High School Without System Accountability

RI Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has decided it’s reasonable to hold off on standardized testing as a graduation requirement until the next decade, and Rhode Islanders should expect it to be delayed again, and again.


Fact-Checking Sheehan’s Anti-Gist Attack

Sen. James Sheehan uses official State House channels to issue an attack on Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and winds up illustrating the mentality that teachers unions foster.


The Education Legacy of the Chafee Era

NAEP scores and comparisons of trends across the country suggest that the stall of education reform during the Chafee era has not been good for Rhode Island’s children.


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Environment

Of Free Markets and Atlantic Salmon

The evisceration of the Atlantic salmon is not a tale of free-market self destruction, but of society’s evolving needs and priorities, which are highly contingent on wealth.


The Ups and Down of Climate Alarmism

Looking into Rhode Island’s ranking as one of the nation’s top climate changers over the past 40 years shows that tempering alarm might not be unreasonable.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 28 (Climate Change & Struggling RI)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the relevance of climate change in a tiny, economically struggling state like Rhode Island.


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Gambling

RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Beware Statists in Libertarian Clothing

Some libertarians have been encouraged to see the liberalization of laws on social issues, but they should go beyond the cliché that politics makes strange bedfellows and wonder why they have the company they do.


Betting the House for Rhode Island

Legislation submitted last week would allow people to gamble their assets (such as houses and investment accounts) at the new state-run casino.


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General Assembly

Sen. Conley’s Work for State Government in Ethical Gray Area

An advisory opinion from the state Ethics Commission leaves Senator Conley’s contract work for the state in an ethical gray area that ought to be resolved.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Contra Code of Ethics, Sen. Conley Bills State for $47,030 in 2013

State Senator William Conley (D, East Providence, Pawtucket) has served as legal counsel for the state Ethics Commission, but records show that he may have violated the Code of Ethics when he took additional work from the state after having been elected to office.


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Government

Coalition Radio Introduces Three Fiscal Topics into the 2014 Campaign


Issue 1: Do any candidates for Rhode Island Governor or Rhode Island General Assembly support modifying or repealing Governor Chafee’s Wall-Street-first law regarding municipal priorities?

Issue 2: Will any of the candidates for Governor of Rhode Island have their fiscal staffs look immediately into the possibility of a Providence receivership. Will they tell us if they do?

Issue 3: Buddy Cianci, according to some research done by Michael Riley, once advocated for pension obligation bonds to help finance Providence’s pension system. Might he do so again?


Final Word (Maybe) on the Bob Healey Thing

Wrapping up some threads from my Matt Allen appearance concerning Bob Healey’s surprise run for governor.


The Democratic Primary Where the Candidates Agree on Constraining Democracy


The Democratic gubernatorial primary is where there is substantial agreement that the scope of democratic and representative decision-making needs to be narrowed (ironic, isn’t it?), so that special interests will encounter less interference with their ability to extract resources from the people. All three candidates with a chance of winning tomorrow seem comfortable with a government that gives more governing power to private interest groups at the expense elected public bodies, and even the people themselves.

The candidates are willing to ignore prohibitions on burdening the taxpayers with debt without their direct consent, and to ignore direct language that places retiree benefits outside of the collective bargaining process, because special interests do not approve of these laws. This kind of “leadership” is moving our system in a direction where certain privileged special interests are assumed to sit above the government, with a right to exercise powers that are above the law, that the government of the people never consented to, and cannot change.


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Governor

Final Word (Maybe) on the Bob Healey Thing

Wrapping up some threads from my Matt Allen appearance concerning Bob Healey’s surprise run for governor.


The Education Legacy of the Chafee Era

NAEP scores and comparisons of trends across the country suggest that the stall of education reform during the Chafee era has not been good for Rhode Island’s children.


Budget Growth and Household Income

Working with the federal government, the state government of Rhode Island has managed to keep its budget growing more quickly than inflation. The people of Rhode Island, however, have not been so lucky.


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Healthcare

RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Government, Academics, and Journalists… RI’s Lead Weight

A Providence Journal article extolling the virtues of lead-paint regulations fails to acknowledge a downside or provide context for the harm it seeks to alleviate.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 36 (Hobby Lobby, Freedom, & Health Care)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and the underlying issues of freedom and health care.


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History

The World the West is Creating with Vladimir Putin


Is there a better way than political authoritarianism and stunted economic growth that Vladimir Putin’s subjects (including high-ranking oligarchs) might want to consider? Western elites might not like to admit this, but ratcheting up an “uncivilized” tribal strategy may be an effective way for Putin and current Russian leadership to answer this question in the negative, by boosting the morale (at least in the short term) of his Russian followers, and by frightening an “internationalist” coalition away from being willing to take the steps necessary to slow his expansion.

The ultimate effectiveness of this strategy depends on the strength and the nature of the coherence of the adversary that Russia faces.


Immigrant Children as Political Chips

Progressive historians will one day attribute the Obama Administration-facilitated humanitarian crisis on the border to the racist evils of the United States.


Dorr Was Cool, Until He Wasn’t

Steve Ahlquist has published a portion of the testimony he will be giving in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 2641, which is an attempt to revoke Rhode Island’s current Voter ID law. Calling upon the memory of “Governor” Thomas Dorr, Ahlquist writes: Arguably, next to Roger Williams, no Rhode Islander has [...]


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Immigration

Steve Ahlquist, the Oppressors’ Heir

In attacking Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, Steve Ahlquist gives reason to believe he’d have been a different kind of oppressor in a different time.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 37 (WJAR Gubernatorial Debates & Immigration)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the first Republican and Democrat gubernatorial debates on Channel 10, WJAR, with some emphasis on the illegal immigration crisis.


Illegal Aliens and RI Social Programs: Qualifying Documentation Ranges from Strong to Alarmingly Weak

… In response to an inquiry from Ocean State Current-Anchor Rising, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services sent over several documents. One of those listed all of the documents that an applicant for social services can submit to verify citizenship qualification for those benefits.


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Infrastructure

RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 38 (Funding Transportation)

Justin and Bob Plain talk transportation infrastructure funding.


Tax Policy, Migration, and the Battle of Good and Evil in Rhode Island, Part 2

Jason Becker poses some questions to Justin on tax policy, government services, and the migration of Rhode Islanders.


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Legislation

Profit as Theft from the Collective

Disdain for “for profit” companies is an indication that progressives believe all property actually belongs to the government, and taking extra is a type of theft.


Supporters of HealthSoviet RI

Rhode Islanders shouldn’t buy what supporters of an initiative to pass every healthcare dollar in Rhode Island through HealthSource RI are selling.


Rhode Island Policy: Single Payer Healthcare and Rationing

Legislation to create a “health care authority,” complete with a commissioner with no other duties, is an attempt to crack the door for government-run health care.


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Media

Pell, PolitiFact, and Poking

PolitiFact’s election season coddling of Clay Pell raises points about its own biases and his worldview.


The People Are Leaving. Be Angry.

News that productive people seeking to build a life are leaving Rhode Island is not new, but Rhode Islanders have to start being angry about it.


Freedom as Guarantor of Justice

The story of the Obama administration, and its path toward tyranny, becomes clearer with each scandal (whether or not the media reports it objectively).


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Musings & Announcements

Rhode Islander into the Heart of Ebola Country

Tim Flanigan, an infectious disease specialist from Tiverton, has headed off to Liberia to fight Ebola, and he has a few simple requests.


Just to See If We Can

A point of risk and strain on a construction site gives some indication of how we should approach 2014.


Katz in Today’s ProJo: Participation In Boycott of WPRO Is Evidence That the Person Is Not Fit to Hold Office

Ed Fitzpatrick’s column in today’s Providence Journal is about the public union led attempt to boycott WPRO until they fire John Depetro. As preamble, I repeat my own take on this brouhaha: I don’t agree with Depetro’s use of those epithets. They were nasty and unnecessary. However, if Depetro had made his comments about the [...]


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National Security

The World the West is Creating with Vladimir Putin


Is there a better way than political authoritarianism and stunted economic growth that Vladimir Putin’s subjects (including high-ranking oligarchs) might want to consider? Western elites might not like to admit this, but ratcheting up an “uncivilized” tribal strategy may be an effective way for Putin and current Russian leadership to answer this question in the negative, by boosting the morale (at least in the short term) of his Russian followers, and by frightening an “internationalist” coalition away from being willing to take the steps necessary to slow his expansion.

The ultimate effectiveness of this strategy depends on the strength and the nature of the coherence of the adversary that Russia faces.


Watching the President from the Other Side

Many among the conservative commentariate have quickly gotten past their brief flirtation with “I told you so” and are moving toward a tone of slow, aching disconcertment.


Government United in Surveillance, People Divided

An opportunity for unified action by all Americans looks likely to be thwarted by the discord that the government and political agents have sowed.


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On a Lighter Note

My Non-Epic Soccer Post


I’ll side with the Ancient Romans over Ann Coulter, but soccer’s powers-that-be should really lighten up on the substitution rules.


$5,000 – or .000022 – Worth of Sunday Morning Grins & Giggles Courtesy PolitiFact RI

On a personal note, I’d like to sincerely thank PolitiFact RI for starting my day with a big smile this morning, though perhaps they would not be altogether pleased at the reason.

In today’s Providence Journal, they’ve rated a statement by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity (hereinafter “the Center”) pertaining to the $224.5 million in wasteful spending identified by the Center in the governor’s proposed 2015 budget. PolitiFact is not questioning that the state gave away the $5,000 example offered by the Center of an expenditure item in the Governor’s Workforce Board from a prior year. PolitiFact is only saying that the Center did not fully explain what the $5,000 in hard earned taxpayer dollars was spent on.


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Pensions

Coalition Radio Introduces Three Fiscal Topics into the 2014 Campaign


Issue 1: Do any candidates for Rhode Island Governor or Rhode Island General Assembly support modifying or repealing Governor Chafee’s Wall-Street-first law regarding municipal priorities?

Issue 2: Will any of the candidates for Governor of Rhode Island have their fiscal staffs look immediately into the possibility of a Providence receivership. Will they tell us if they do?

Issue 3: Buddy Cianci, according to some research done by Michael Riley, once advocated for pension obligation bonds to help finance Providence’s pension system. Might he do so again?


A Public-Sector Sense of Unfairness

A retired teacher and Providence Journal contributor thinks pension reform gave her a raw deal. Looking at the numbers, it’s difficult to see her deal as a public employee as anything short of spectacular.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


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Political Theory

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 43 (Third Parties and Runoffs)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss third parties and runoffs. (And Justin adds a bit of text in “what-if” elaboration.)


Healey’s Oh-So-Knowing Campaign Material

MoMo gubernatorial candidate Robert Healey’s campaign-as-performance-art casts a knowing tone. The problem is, he’s wrong, and to the benefit of the wrong people.


Final Word (Maybe) on the Bob Healey Thing

Wrapping up some threads from my Matt Allen appearance concerning Bob Healey’s surprise run for governor.


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Politics

Coalition Radio Introduces Three Fiscal Topics into the 2014 Campaign


Issue 1: Do any candidates for Rhode Island Governor or Rhode Island General Assembly support modifying or repealing Governor Chafee’s Wall-Street-first law regarding municipal priorities?

Issue 2: Will any of the candidates for Governor of Rhode Island have their fiscal staffs look immediately into the possibility of a Providence receivership. Will they tell us if they do?

Issue 3: Buddy Cianci, according to some research done by Michael Riley, once advocated for pension obligation bonds to help finance Providence’s pension system. Might he do so again?


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 43 (Third Parties and Runoffs)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss third parties and runoffs. (And Justin adds a bit of text in “what-if” elaboration.)


Healey’s Oh-So-Knowing Campaign Material

MoMo gubernatorial candidate Robert Healey’s campaign-as-performance-art casts a knowing tone. The problem is, he’s wrong, and to the benefit of the wrong people.


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Sports

Shut Down the NCAA

The NCAA handed down a one half of one game suspension for current Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for taking money for autographs. However, they have a bit of a history with giving out much longer suspensions for lesser offenses. It’s time to shut down the NCAA.


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Taxation

Transparency Site Brings Unprecedented Access to Tiverton

A new Web site and open-government application in Tiverton kick off the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s project to provide Rhode Islanders with a nation-leading level of transparency in local government.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Don’t Abort a Constitutional Convention Over Scare Tactics

Government insiders want to do to the constitutional convention what they do to any opposition that comes their way — kill it before it can be born.


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Unions

The Incentive to Rend Communities

Data from Tiverton Fact Check shows the high school principal and his teacher wife making two-and-a-half times the town’s median household income, which is a lot of incentive to attack people who complain that a few more hundred dollars in taxes actually has to come from somewhere.


A Public-Sector Sense of Unfairness

A retired teacher and Providence Journal contributor thinks pension reform gave her a raw deal. Looking at the numbers, it’s difficult to see her deal as a public employee as anything short of spectacular.


Why Politics Matter (Mostly from the Left)

It’s fascinating to observe why people on the Left think “politics matter,” because it illustrates how their rhetoric is completely opposite of their end results.


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Welfare

SNAP Data Sings the Rhode Island Tune

Month-to-month trends of SNAP beneficiaries in Rhode Island and across the country show another way that Rhode Island is unique and reinforces a theory of decline that seems to fit every picture in the Ocean State.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Philosophy on a Folding Chair: Theft of Good Feeling


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