How a Ruling Class Is Maintained
Ed Achorn makes a familiar observation when he writes:
Ocean State politicians have long supported a two-tiered society in which there is a privileged class of public employees — about one in six workers in Rhode Island two years ago, probably a higher percentage today — and an underprivileged class of private-sector drones.
We should remember, though, that the dynamic isn’t entirely of two groups buying each other’s support. It’s more of an incestuous cabal. Look no farther than newly elected RI Representative Mary Duffy Messier (D, Pawtucket), who leaped directly onto our Legislative Stooge list:
But Messier was among the 47 House members who successfully voted to override Carcieri’s veto [of the bill mandating teacher health insurance].
[Rhode Island Association of School Committees Executive Director Tim] Duffy said his sister, who recently retired as a Cumberland school teacher with a $46,536 annual state pension, “has always been a strong union advocate.”
Duffy Messier is 57. The average per capita personal income in Rhode Island is $37,523. Sometimes political victory is a matter of who has the time to make noise and join legislative bodies that pass harmful laws. And sometimes, I wonder whether we should stop complaining when public-sector workers who retire at a young age have their retirement largess sent to their new homes out of state.