Another Lesson for RI: Vomit on the City Hall Stairs

If you missed this telling editorial in Saturday’s Providence Journal, be sure to read the whole thing:

The other day, the son of Cumberland’s David Ram-pone, president of Hart Engineering Corporation, was married at the Biltmore Hotel, in downtown Providence. Before the wedding, the bride wanted some pictures taken at leafy Burnside Park, with its lovely water fountain. So the entire wedding party, including two toddlers, trooped across the street.

Unfortunately, Mr. Rampone recounted, “we left in short order, as there were needles on the ground, human feces on some of the artwork, and a couple of people smoking crack. Nice environment for our small grandsons to be around.”

So the group moved on to the City Hall, a striking 1878 gem that is on the National Register of Historic Places and which The Providence Journal once called “our municipal palace.” They thought of taking photographs on the steps, from which such luminaries as Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy have addressed Providence crowds. But that was a no-go too. “Dried vomit and urine were all over the stairs.”

As fascinating as the original testimony, though, was the Twitter exchange that it prompted between progressive blogger Bob Plain, Democrat lobbyist Bill Fischer, and Providence firefighter union head Paul Doughty.  Plain voiced a “poor little rich people” sarcasm, to which Fischer took some umbrage, with Doughty chiming in to say that city government should be able to fund both jobs for cleaners and poverty programs.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rhode Island government in a nutshell.  The progressive heart bleeds so for the disadvantaged that those who are not poor become the enemy, and are well advised simply not to make the state their problem.  Organized labor drives up the cost of accomplishing anything through government, under the assumption that there will always be people with more money to foot the bill.  And the Democrat lobbyist and mainstream newspaper lament the results achieved by the politicians and policies that they have backed, without going so far as to reconsider those politicians and policies.

Even putting aside the inevitable raw corruption, big government inevitably comes to the point of vomit on the city hall stairs when it is built on the premise that government’s role is to redistribute wealth and simply make positive outcomes happen by fiat.  We should try allowing government simply to be a civic framework that allows the market to work, perhaps with some carefully considered corrections where there are cracks, and trusting in people to resolve problems (because we’ve encouraged them to do so through strong cultural institutions).

It will not help the poor of Providence if nobody with money ever goes there, and chasing redistribution up the government ladder — attempting to redistribute at the state, national, and international levels, so there’s nowhere for those with money to run — will only ensure that the hammer falls harder when it falls.

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