Re: What Sort of Hope Are We Talking About?
Believe it or not, I think that Justin was being too kind to Rhode Island’s leadership class yesterday, when he said that…
Strictly speaking, it probably isn’t accurate to say that the “housing crisis” caused the recession, in Rhode Island. Rather, the housing bubble disguised a weak economy that would otherwise have begun its dramatic slide several years earlier,…as two years ago, there were already numerous indicators showing Rhode Island to be an economic basket case…
…as URI Economics Professor Professor Leonard Lardaro just noted” URI Economics Professor Professor Leonard Lardaro just noted, while Rhode Island’s economy has been contracting, the national gross domestic product has been growing by 4%.Rhode Island’s problems weren’t disguised, as much as they were ignored. Indeed, for the better part of decade at least, Rhode Island leaders have been responding to obvious signs of fiscal and economic peril by saying hey we’re Rhode Island, we’re destined by forces beyond any control to be a little slower, a little more expensive, a little more inefficient than other places.
…as the National Governors’ Association noted in June, Rhode Island was one of only three states that couldn’t cover its beginning-of-the-year projected spending for fiscal year 2007 — if Rhode Island’s fiscal problems are rooted primarily in a national slowdown, then why are 47 other states able to stay within their projected budgets when Rhode Island can’t?
…as the Rhode Island Public Expenditures Council noted in their analysis of Rhode Island’s current operating budget, spending from general revenues in fiscal year 2008 increased by 5.7% over the previous year. How exactly is it reasonable to assume that it will take something as dramatic as a recession to prevent revenues from automatically “keeping pace”…with 5.7% expenditure growth?
Whether you want to call it the “What Can We Do?” attitude prevalent amongst RI public officials (Justin’s description) or the “putrid Rhode Island gene” (WPRO host Matt Allen‘s description) or an endogenous attitude towards the surrounding world (URI Economics Professor Leonard Lardaro’s description), it is these kinds of attitudes towards the possibility and the necessity of reform held by too-many Rhode Islanders in power, and not immutable iron laws of economics, that cement Rhode Island’s position as first in and last out of economic problems.