The Sides Take Shape
If the published letters in the Providence Journal are at all representative of the volume that the editors receive, regular Rhode Islanders — the true “voiceless” of the state — are beginning to speak up. Here’s Bruce Lang of Newport:
… the best way to improve economic development in Rhode Island can be summed up in two words: Cut taxes!
Mr. Costantino does make two vital observations: “State revenue is growing at 1 percent, while expenditures are growing at 6 percent,” and he says that we have “a fiscal crisis on our hands.” Both statements are true and both have only one solution, three words: Reduce government spending!
It’s truly unbelievable that most of our elected legislators (from the most powerful branch of our state government) either “don’t get it” and/or are so influenced by the powerful public-employee unions that they “don’t want to get it.”
And here’s Ryan Curran of Providence:
We now learn that state legislators, whom we had hitherto believed to be the voice of the people, are so riddled with special-interest conflicts that the feeble desires of private-sector citizens are met with accusations of bigotry and selfishness. With at least six important assemblymen being paid over $100,000 a year by unions to — well, to do what, indeed? Represent us? How can anyone believe in “the voice of the people” ever again?
In fact, state legislators are the voice of the unions and special interests. While we private citizens were busy working and leading our lives, they were busy unionizing and organizing. And, as we now see, they have succeeded spectacularly. …
They face no consequences for their actions. As proof: Already, some legislators have called for broad-based tax increases in contrast to the governor’s call for no new taxes in the face of a rapidly declining economy and one of the highest tax burdens in the United States. The vast majority of taxpaying Rhode Islanders is working in the private sector and has no desire to send more of its hard-earned money into this corrupt and unrepresentative system.
But who represents us?
In conjunction with a front-page story about record voter registration (although cast in a national-election light), these letters make me wonder whether the sides are gathering for political war in Rhode Island:
More than 43,000 voters signed up over the last year, with about half of those (21,000) coming in the four months before the Feb. 2 deadline to register for the March vote, according to a Journal analysis of state voter files.
Of those 43,000, roughly 20,000 are between the ages of 18 and 29, a group once derided as stay-at-homes on election days, but since 2004 a group that has been casting ballots in increasing numbers. …
Independents can vote in either presidential primary. Of the last four months of voter signups, about 6,800 enrolled as Democrats, roughly 1,900 became Republicans and more than 12,000 registered as independents, a category deemed “unaffiliated” in state political argot.
The Langs and Currans of Rhode Island could just as easily be independents as Republicans, so there’s hope that they’ll compensate for any uptick in out-of-state kids with no understanding of local problems and no real stake in their resolution (assuming a high percentage of college students). Still, we may see, in these numbers, part of the reason for the excitement of local organizers and establishmentarians on the Left about Obama. Any draw of young voters to the polls on his account is likely to benefit the corrupt powers that be locally, when in their ignorance the kids vote D. as they’ve been trained to do.