The desire to open up the economy isn’t selfish or reckless; it’s humanitarian.
“Non-essential” businesses in Rhode Island remain shut down by order of Governor Gina Raimondo even as unemployment filings shoot up and COVID-19 projections drop markedly. While much of trucking has not been directly impacted by the shutdown order, as an industry that interacts with all businesses in Rhode Island – manufacturing, farms, restaurants, small shops, big box stores – trucking has a unique position and voice as Rhode Island looks to re-open.
The governor has said that she doesn’t know what regulations will be issued to allow businesses to re-open. But this is quickly and easily fulfilled: the state simply need to tell all businesses to follow the manufacturers’ lead and take the same pledge that was exclusively afforded to this sector several weeks ago.
On March 16, the White House issued “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines.
On March 28, Governor Gina Raimondo issues a stay-at-home order for Rhode Island.
At that time, the IHME’s model projected 100,000-240,000 deaths from COVID-19.
At that time, the goal of the lockdown was to “flatten the curve” of the disease so as to not overwhelm our hospitals with cases. Note, critically, that reducing the overall number of cases was NOT part of this goal but simply to spread them out.
Since March 28, the IHME’s projections have collapsed and the new projection for COVID fatalities is 60,000.
Since March 28, the results of numerous COVID-19 anti-body surveys have come in.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 13, included talk about:
- The governor’s handling of the virus crisis
- The silence from everybody else
- The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s suggestions
- The decisions facing the governor and the people of RI
If models projecting the hospitalizations and deaths in Rhode Island from COVID-19 keep being revised down, they’ll start to get into the range at which deaths from our response are a larger number.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 6, included talk about:
- The governor’s tough tone
- Unemployment skyrockets
- The General Assembly shirks its duties
- Bad optics from Cranston mayoral candidate
- Tyranny in Tiverton
In these trying times, with well over fifty thousand Rhode Islanders recently laid-off, common-sense public state-based policy can help mitigate the destructive economic impact of the Rhode Island COVID-19 crisis … and can help restore a sense of normalcy and financial security.
We need your help to tell lawmakers you want them to take action.
The disconnect between the warnings of government officials and the experiences of the people could make it more difficult to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
The legislative proposal by Warwick/Cranston Democrat state representative Joseph McNamara has made the news rounds, but it deserves a stronger point to be made. The press release says he’s “drafting new legislation that would help businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis by guaranteeing that business interruption insurance would cover their losses regardless of policy language.”
It’s kind of a dishonest move. Insurance companies charge their clients rates based on the risk involved in their policies. These charges go toward a fund to cover the estimated payouts based on the risk for each thing that’s insured. There is competition in insurance just as there is in every other private-sector market, so companies can’t charge fees that are so high they’re disconnected from this relationship to payouts.
If the General Assembly and governor pass a law that requires insurance companies to pay for events that were deliberately left out of the calculation of risk, the insurance companies will have to find that money somewhere. One way or another, that means distributing the cost among other clients. The complications of reinsurance (insurance for unexpected insurance payouts), do not change this fundamental fact; they just mean the spread is broader.
If government officials want to insure Rhode Island businesses against a loss during a crisis, they should do it the more-honest way of using government funds. The legislature and governor should make the statement that this is a worthwhile priority and will therefore either displace lesser priorities or require tax increases.
Of course, cost comes at a political price, which politicians prefer to avoid. Thus, these sorts of mandates that make other people pay for government policies (aka hidden taxes) ensure that the McNamaras of the state can pat themselves on the back for giving away money while hiding the fact that it has to come from somebody.
If we rely on American innovation in the private sector, our state can weather this horrible COVID-19 crisis! Our Center has ten proactive policy ideas that can help Ocean State businesses and families survive the crisis, while also paving the way to recovery. And, we need your help to tell lawmakers you want them to take action.
State lawmakers must find a way to get back in the saddle, demonstrate calm and deliberate leadership, and consider emergency legislation to help our citizens and businesses lead the way back. We’re recommending:
On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Changing Gears hosts Mike Collins and Chris Maxwell offered a different view on Ocean State goings on and beyond!
- Governor’s 2A Executive Order extends background check from 7 to 30 days.
- Bob Duva of R.I. Echo checks in.
- Mike Stenhouse: which path is state going to take to get out of this
crisis? Time for “government distancing.”
- Rob Cote: cities cut services but, unlike private sector, no layoffs.
- Don Culp with tips for staying focused and mentally strong.
- Scumbag US senators dump stocks during national crisis.
- Bring manufacturing back to US.
Contrasting conservative and progressive proposals for dealing with fallout from COVID-19 reveals the stark choice that Americans face.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 23, included talk about:
- Public cash running out
- Gun purchases withheld
- Taxes, booze, and responses
- Government distancing
A Rhode Island family has a child with a disease that requires pretty significant daily treatments and an increased concern about illnesses like the flu. After receiving the diagnosis, they increased their household emphasis on hygiene, cleanliness, exercise, and health and battled with tricky questions about longevity and quality of life.
When do you pull a child out of school? What sort of activities can you no longer do? Water parks might definitely be out, per the doctor, but what about trampoline parks and that sort of thing? That is for each family to decide.
This year, the child is in a grade that traditionally takes an extended class field trip, which has been a source of anxiety for the parents for months, or even years. The early weeks of attention to COVID-19 put a sharper point on that anxiety, and it was looking more and more likely that they would have to speak the difficult “no.”
In such circumstances, it might be natural for parents to feel a little bit of guilty relief when they don’t have to say, “no,” because the event itself is canceled. But circumstances have moved well past that. The final, decisive end of hope for the trip was closure of the century-old Rhode Island travel company that handled the arrangements from its Cumberland office.
The company opened its doors in 1926. It survived the Great Depression, World War II, the stagflation of the 1970s, the dot-com bubble, and the Great Recession. In the face of COVID-19, the announcement on the website of Conway Tours gives the impression that the owners have no plans to re-open or try to start things up again when the wave of this virus has passed.
Without doubt, travel agencies are uniquely vulnerable to the recession that we now face, but the survival of other businesses and industries that live a bit farther from the cliff’s edge will depend on how we, as a society, respond to the crisis. It’s still too early to know what the best response is, right now, but we have to remain mindful that none of our reactions is without a trade-off.
Recent public debates have renewed over the old conflict between security and freedom, but the question is deeper than that. Civilizations have to make decisions that balance longevity and quality of life, too, because every life begins with a diagnosis of its end. That is nothing new, and nothing unique to any given family.
As the federal government and states’ governors decide how much to clamp down on free motion, they should keep in mind the geographic specificity of coronavirus cases.
We see the federal government considering bold ways to keep businesses running and money in people’s pockets. Here in Rhode Island, we’re calling on lawmakers to provide online sales tax relief to residents concerned about their physical and financial health.
Our state must do its part… The government-distancing we are recommending can help people remain at home and practice healthy social-distancing. Every sales tax dollar saved might be vitally important to families who are suffering a loss of income during these trying times.
We the people have more to offer than staying home and being taken care of, and our reaction to something like COVID-19 ought to recognize that fact.
This story seems to me to be not only an important issue of its own accord, but also a good lesson in the dangers of government overreaction to crisis:
As the United States gradually shuts down in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the trucking and tire industry is appealing to the government to allow gas stations, rest stops, and repair facilities to remain open to keep deliveries rolling.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, for example, shut down all of its rest areas and welcome centers to the public on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it agreed to reopen the parking lots at nearly half of them at the request of truckers and the Trump administration.
Other states are considering similar closures, officials said, to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus and discourage people from traveling.
The government isn’t in an especially good position — and politicians aren’t particularly well suited — to foresee unintended consequences and adequately weight them on an individualized basis. Ensure that the public is informed, and let people make their own decisions. Those who exist in critical supply chains see their importance and will evaluate their own risk-reward balance.
Truckers’ stopping at rest stops is a particularly direct example, but the principle runs through our entire economy.
In light of calls for “government distancing” during a crisis, the daily grind of new legislative and regulatory restrictions takes on a new feel.
Take away the scary studies based on China and Italy and frightening “whatifs,” and it’s difficult to conclude that the economic harm has thus far proven worthwhile, leaving citizens to figure out what the thresholds should be.
On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Changing Gears hosts Mike Collins and Chris Maxwell offered a different view on Ocean State goings on and beyond!
- The link to Joe Biden’s coronavirus plan starts w/campaign donation page.
- Coronavirus dangers, overreaction, political one-upsmanship & impact on RI businesses.
- Len Lardaro’s compelling remarks about what RI officials are still not doing to grow the state’s economy.
- Truckers file request for preliminary injunction to stop RI’s collection of truck tolls.
Hysteria over the Covid-19 epidemic is missing important considerations that ought to affect our decisions, as well as highlighting changes to our society that should be reevaluated.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 9, included talk about:
- Unionist Pat Crowley’s promotion.
- More grand jurying around the speaker.
- Gina and her endorsements.
- Minimum wage.
- Anti-Second Amendment tax honesty.
In 2018, our Center published one of our most comprehensive policy briefs, The Right To Earn, which highlighted Rhode Island’s bottom-10 standing when it comes to over-regulation and the need for across the board occupational licensing reform. The Ocean State has also recently been ranked as having the worst state business climate in all of America.
Since then, we have been encouraged that reforms continue to move forward based on our report on the heavy burdens of “occupation licensing” laws in the state.
Are state lawmakers helping to make Rhode Island a better or worse place to raise a family and build a career?
With Rhode Island already ranking a dismal 47th on the Jobs & Opportunity Index and with the worst business climate in America, the Center tracks critical pieces for legislation making their way through the Rhode Island General Assembly and what they will do to your freedom.
We evaluate bills in terms of their likely effect on the free market, the size and scope of government, the balance of residents’ interests against those of public employees and beneficiaries, and the constitutional structure of a divided government with limited power over the people whom it represents.
It is the core tenet of the Center that with greater freedom comes greater prosperity, or conversely, as is the case in the Ocean State, that a continued loss of freedom leads to the type of economic stagnation that Rhode Islanders have suffered from over the past decade.
We encourage you to follow along with us as we track the 2020 General Assembly session. Click on the link here to see our 2020 Bill Tracker.
Checking in with Rhode Island’s employment and jobs numbers just before the annual revision by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we see overall a gradual improvement that lags the region and most of the country.
Guests: Julie Casimiro, State Representative, H-D 31, rep-Casimiro@rilegislature.gov
Camille Vella-Wilkinson, State Representative, H-D 21, firstname.lastname@example.org
Host: Richard August
Topic: Vaping and other pending legislation
Host: Richard August Time: 60 minutes
Representatives Casimiro and Vella-Wilkinson discuss a broad range of pending legislation and other matters, which have their concern. Topics include vaping legislation; a veteran joint oversight committee; pharmacist having birth control prescription authority; reproductive health; firearm legislation; climate control; out of school time learning; early parole for young rehabilitated offenders; military sexual assault trauma; and more. Other matters include the need for a constitutional convention; line item veto; minimum wage; and candidate endorsements.
Is it time for you to get involved… to save our state? If we are ever going to change the policies that are driving away families and crippling businesses, the sad truth, my friend, is that we are going to have to change the players.
Rhode Island’s political class is so beholden to so many special interest groups and agendas, that they are paralyzed when it comes to considering common-sense, pro-growth policy reforms.