Being the Homework
Judging from the Providence Journal’s letters section, social work students at Rhode Island College have been given the assignment of denouncing Bill Felkner’s January 13 op-ed. Amanda Eyes is the latest “candidate for a master’s degree in social work” to make the opinion page, and she contributes the following interesting statistic:
The problem with dialogue about public policy is that few are willing to share the full story. Finding a job in Rhode Island that pays enough to support a family without more than a high-school diploma or its equivalent is impossible. Without some form of post-secondary education or training, minimum-wage jobs are the only option (thanks to many of the manufacturing jobs that are now overseas). According to the Poverty Institute’s published document, the 2006 Rhode Island Standard of Need, the cost of basic necessities, food, clothing, health care, transportation, housing and child care for a family of four requires an annual income of $60,000, or $28.85 an hour.
I’ll testify, as the breadwinner for a family of five who makes quite a bit less than $60,000 per year, that this standard of need is probably pretty accurate. Does that make me a candidate for welfare and special programs? I certainly hope not; if such families line up for public handouts, who would be left to finance them?
As I keep endeavoring to explain, that income line is the entry level of the group that is fleeing Rhode Island. They do not want handouts (they couldn’t live on them anyway); they want opportunity, and the only way to provide that is to get the public sector out of the way.