Don Roach: Waking Up to Bakst’s Nightmare

In a recent column, M. Charles Bakst asks Rhode Islanders to “Wake up!” He opines:

Hello, Mr. Carcieri. Hello, Senate President Montalbano. Hello, House Speaker Murphy. Hello, rank-and-file lawmakers. Hello, prospective 2010 gubernatorial candidates Caprio, Chafee, Cicilline, Laffey, Lynch, Roberts
Can’t someone come up with solutions and put them across?

Not that I disagree that our state is in disarray, but for his positive remarks Bakst focuses his attention on much of what has contributed to our state’s downward spiral. For instance, he lauds Bishop Tobin for coming to the defense of low income, hard-working yet illegal immigrants, saying:

God bless Bishop Tobin and the other priests for speaking truth to power and denouncing the division, fear and disruption the raids have created. “As religious leaders concerned for our people, we would be negligent of our pastoral duties if we didn’t speak out,” they said.

Excuse me? Perhaps Bakst is unfamiliar with an economic theory that goes a little something like this: Businesses will pay the lowest wages that the marketplace will allow. Allow illegal immigrants to hold under-the-table jobs without recourse, and companies will pay them. This isn’t good for the overall health of the economy and can barely be called “good” for those low-wage workers. Consequently, the government is trying to stop it and hopes to make a statement that illegal immigration is not going to be tolerated in our state. Does anyone want to argue that an illegal labor is good for the RI economy?
Bakst also praises judge Patricia Hurst for her criticism of the governor’s (I told you Will) executive order, which would have increased the percentage government employees pay for their healthcare. At a time when local officials are asking us to pay higher property taxes and utility bills and not addressing the increasing cost of our grocery bills, I’d expect government workers also to feel a little bit of the pain that the average Rhode Islander is facing. I don’t expect nor want a judge to lambaste the governor for making a no-nonsense decision that, while hurting many workers in the short run, is a longterm policy change that should have been made ages ago. In other words, RI can no longer afford to subsidize its employees’ healthcare to such a degree.
In spirit, Bakst is right that Rhode Island needs to wake up, but as with many a teen victim in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, if you wake up to his world, you’re really not awake to the realities facing the state. Instead, you’re clinging to the hope that if you keep running down the same endless hallway, you’ll somehow escape. Where I come from, that’s called insanity, and it’s exactly what our state does not need.

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Monique
12 years ago

“while hurting many workers in the short run”
Yet at the same time, the premium co-share which they are resisting is more advantageous than in the private sector.
“Does anyone want to argue that an illegal labor is good for the RI economy?”
Someone please do. While you’re at it, please also answer this.
Rhode Island is a heavily Democrat and, therefore, highly pro-labor state. An illegal workforce leads directly to exploitation of some workers and lower wages for all. In view of this, why has there been a welcoming rather than discouraging approach in certain supposedly pro-labor quarters to illegal immigration?
(Good post, Don.)

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

I am amazed at how Charlie bakst can swoon with admiration over the Bishop and yet he gets apoplectic over denial of “gay rights” and the pro-life position of the Catholic Church.What a hypocrite.Charlie actually may be a good argument for abortion himself-he is a disgusting individual.I think Cianci called him a chipmunk.Cianci was wrong.He is more like a mole.Chipmunks are cute.Moles are just without redeeming qualities,and always invade others property for mealtime.And we all know the stories of Charlie cramming his face at free buffets.How’s the chopped liver today Charlie,you lowlife?

Damien Baldino
Damien Baldino
12 years ago

Great post Don. I completely agree. What amazes me is that the people who support illegal aliens also tend to be the same people who support raising the minimum wage each year, regardless of how it hurts small businesses. If illegal aliens weren’t flooding the market with cheap labor, workers would have more choices and wages would likely rise.

Roland
Roland
12 years ago

Well, perhaps M. Bakst wouldn’t mind patting the good Bishop on the back when lines that grant the separation of Church and state become so blurred that churches will begin to lose their tax-free status.
Maybe M. Bakst is right, RI needs to wake up and smell the roses. Apparently, Bishop Tobin must smell roses all day long but probably coming from bathroom spray.
Maybe M. Bakst will have a wonderful post-Journal career helping Bishop Tobin figure out how he’s going to pay his tax bill in the future and how the good Bishop is going to afford to care, feed and house all these illegal alien families in the not too distant future. After all, aren’t we all seeing new parking lots being paved at our churches from all the wonderful donations by those illegals? Oops, not so but I do see many storefront churches opening on a monthly basis. Cute, aren’t they?
Maybe M. Bakst could contribute some of his retirement pension to keep Bishop Tobin afloat while he explains to the Pope that he pissed off about 400,000 RI Catholics.

johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
12 years ago

Rhode Island is a heavily Democrat and, therefore, highly pro-labor state. An illegal workforce leads directly to exploitation of some workers and lower wages for all. In view of this, why has there been a welcoming rather than discouraging approach in certain supposedly pro-labor quarters to illegal immigration?
its all about money…these are the immagrants that will be expolited initially and then start more labor unions and then start PAYING UNION DUES..
its that simple….just follow the money

Noni-Ayanna Roach
12 years ago

Well said. I love the “Nightmare on Elms Street” analogy!*lol
I am not sure where I stand in regards to Don Cacieri’s overall policies, but on this issue of healthcare I am afraid I agree with him. I think affordable healthcare should be the norm for all citizens and if the average worker/citizen has to pay crazy prices for care, so should its leaders/public officials. Why should government workers not take a hit to their pocket too? What makes a government worker better than an electrician who worked all his life or a housewife whose husband and sole provider has turned ill? No, everyone should bear the burden of the financial deficit.

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