Next Stop: the ’70s

The depressing thing is that the “bright spot” of this finding is that Professor Lardaro’s index doesn’t go back far enough to have captured pre-Reagan economic periods:

Economically speaking, Rhode Island is in the midst of the “worst year” in a quarter century, according to a local index released today.
After a brief uptick in April, the Current Conditions Index in May plunged back to its lowest value in the index’s 25-year history.
Eleven out of 12 indicators deteriorated, as the unemployment rate spiked to 7.2 percent and consumers hit by rising food and fuel prices cut back on spending, causing retail sales to plunge, according to the index’s manager, University of Rhode Island professor of economics, Leonard Lardaro.

Perhaps more depressing is that some of us believe Rhode Island could quickly rise at least to a sea-level float if it were to discard some of its all-too-familiar baggage.

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Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

As Rhode Island circles ever-faster down the proverbial toilet bowl, perhaps we can capture that centrifugal energy as an “alternative energy source.” 😉

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Justin,
I wonder how RI could shed state baggage prices like the following:
$4.45/gal regular gasoline self serve
$4.90/gal diesel fuel self serve
$4.749/gal oil for heat/hot water
National Grid 21.7% increase in electric rates
National Grid 10% increase in natural gas rates

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

RI Gov’t (and it’s taxpayers) don’t have any direct control over gas & energy prices.
What they do have direct control over is the Unsustainable # of Public Sector employees and their attendant unsustainable pay & benefits, causing RI to be within the Top 5 highest taxed states in the nation with a Public Employee Pension System that has the second largest shorfall / deficit in the nation. (Oh that’s right, Bob Walsh, using the famous, yet ludicrous, “Walshian Assumptions” told us the Pension system is sustainable and it will be back on track in 22 “short” years …and Andrew “confirmed” that for him).
Of those making up the 7.2% unemployment, how many are Public Employees that were laid off??

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

George Elbow, You failed to recognize over 1,000 state employees have retired, layed off or left per a press release from the Governor touting his accomplishment in reducing state employment by 1,000 employees making RI the #1 New England state with least amount of state FTE workers (maybe that is why it took so long for Bobby Oliveira to be served). What is beginning to become unsustainable is basic tax supported government services because the state of RI technology infrastructure has not been substantially upgraded and a good number of those who have left state service have taken the knowledgebase with them. Also, you continue to mix oranges and apples together like a 2 year old. Let me help you understand, there are state of RI workers and local city/town workers. NEA is a union that represents some but not all school teachers in state of RI that work for the local cities and towns. RI taxes will rise because people like me are leaving the state and as we leave there are less sales tax, income tax and property taxes being paid to state and cities/towns. Also as the subprime foreclosure mess increases in RI, property tax income is diminishing as each city/town reevaluates their properties. Less state, gambling and city/town income means less services and layoffs which also mean less federal matching funds, poor school, fire, police, EMT service and performance or higher taxes. Lets make sure RI gets rid of all the blood sucking union members but don’t you dare have a heart attack, need your children schooled, ask for help because you were robbed or try to get needed document from the state because service might be outsourced to another state and you’ll have to wait in line. People on Smith Hill have been sitting on… Read more »

John
John
12 years ago

Ken,
You wrote, “RI is in a recession which will get worst for the next 2 years and it has nothing to do with government employees and their benefits.” Could you please elaborate on the logic behind this conclusion?
Thank you.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Ken,
The public employees that RETIRED don’t count as unemployed, as they CHOSE to retire. Primarily because they couldn’t bear the thought of the gravy train coming to an end.
Every Public School Teacher in RI falls directly, or indirectly, under the umbrella that is the NEA. Wake up!
How about we let RI be a “Right to Work” state and get rid of the nutty collective “bargaining” laws that are artificially inflating Union hack wages and benefits?
In the real world, devoid of the Public Employee Union insanity that you so adore, wages would adjust to reflect the reduced ability to pay due to all the things you noted (including Retirees on lucrative RI Public Pensions leaving the state and not paying RI taxes).
It’s real simple Ken, even for a simpleton like yourself: Let the Free Market determine the worth of all those “blood sucking union members”.
Let the Free Market determine the worth of leeches like Providence Fire Dept. Union Pwesident Lazy-Ass Pauly “No Show” Doughty and Bob Walsh’s flock of “Do it for the children” Union hack teachers.
Do that and we’ll be fine.

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

John, Providence Business news January 9, 2008; “Leonard Lardaro’s 7:30 seminar at the Providence Marriott was entitled “Economic Forecast 2008: Will Rhode Island avoid a recession?” In fact, the URI professor told the gathering of SBANE members and others, the Ocean State recession may have arrived already.” According to Providence Journal April 28, 2008, “Rhode Island is one of just nine states in recession — the next closest is Ohio — while Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut have growing economies, according to Steve Cochrane, senior managing director for Economy.com, which is owned by Moody’s Investors Service.” The Boston Globe April 29, 2008 “Economists tell state officials Rhode Island is in recession: Providence, R.I. –Rhode Island’s high rates of unemployment and foreclosures as well as its slow personal income growth have made it the only New England state in recession, economists told state budget staffers.” According to PROJO May 31, 2008, “Rhode Island is the only New England state among 11 states nationwide that are in recession, according to Moody’s Economy.com, an economic forecasting company.” The above was not something that happened over night. The fact of the matter, all indications were there and the powers on Smith Hill did nothing to help alleviate or soften the blow to RI population. They in fact played down the subprime, rising inflation and amount of people leaving the state. Where were RI Economic Development Corporation and RI Department of Labor and Training? These are the two main state agencies that suppose to work together creating jobs and keeping companies in the state or moving to the state. The consumer prices rose 1.1% in June as weekly wages fell 0.9 percent Consumer prices are up 5% over the last 12 months, the fastest one-year change since 1991 RI heating oil is now at $4.749/gal… Read more »

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Ken,
Less than 200 state employees have been eliminated, despite the Gov’s best efforts.
And he was not trying to eliminate 1,000 jobs just to balance the budget, although that is reason enough. The fact is that our State employee rolls are way too bloated.
Go to any state agency and you’ll see the waste, as too many employees just linger around doing nothing for the few hours (35) they are supposed to work.
The problem with fools like you is that you think Gov’t exists in order to provide and create jobs.
You say RI Department of Labor and Training are the two main state agencies that are supposed to work together creating jobs. Huh??
Businesses & entrepreneas create jobs, NOT Governments, you misguided fool.
And with respect to the Historic Tax credit, it was a joke. It created, at best, temporary jobs (many for out of state businesses and employees) creating more condos & appartments that will ultimately become low-income havens. RI Taxpayers will be paying for years to service the debt on the bonds that created a short term / temporary stimulus.
Hopefully you can convince some of your RI Public Employee cronies to join you on the beaches of HI …as you and your ilk have done enough damage to the state w/ your misguided “thinking”.

Monique
12 years ago

” think Gov’t exists in order to provide and create jobs.”
For the most part, private companies create jobs. If government were the source of most jobs, who would pay for them?
But the state and federal gov’t can play a big role in encouraging the creation of jobs by not over-regulating or over-taxing. Rhode Island has not done well in those areas. We have the 48th worst business climate which has trickled down to an uncomfortably high unemployment rate, as Justin notes above.
(Good comment, George E.)

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Monique – you are right.
Gov’t does NOT create jobs. At best, they get in the way with regulations, taxes and bad labor legislation (e.g. NOT allowing RI to be a Right To Work state).
As a result of their over-regulation, over-taxing and Union pandering, they end up having “agencies” that “help navigate” the mess they created and then, guys like Ken, delude themselves into thinking these “agencies” created jobs.
It’s like tying someone up and laying them on the train tracks. Then when they train comes, they run over and cut them loose and claim “we save lives”.

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