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.

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MadMom
MadMom
11 years ago

Watch the interview with Mary Messier and Betsy Dennigan on public access Anthony Walsh Show (aired at various times throughout the state for the next month). I won’t be invited to any parties thrown by either of those two any time soon.

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

Justin,
“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.”
I don’t understand why you keep hopping on the subject that a Rhode Islander’s retirement check sent out of state is depriving the state of RI and somehow the person is getting away with free money.
In fact those of us who have moved out of state must still pay State of RI income tax on that portion of retirement income obtained in the State of RI via RI-1040NR form.
To me, this is free money to the State of RI because I am not being a burden to town, city or state services.
The only break received from moving out of State of RI is grossly lower property taxes, sales taxes, no state income taxes and better living conditions to name a few.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

One worker in six being a government worker, is about the national average. Why is it never asked why we need 18% of the working population to govern the rest of us?

michael
michael
11 years ago

Beause, Warrington, as soon as government services decline, and the roads are in disrepair, and it takes more than five minutes for a cop or rescue to respond to your emergency, or the line at the registry is too long, or nobody at the department of regulation answers the phone those people complain louder than the people who want no government interference.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

–“Beause, Warrington, as soon as government services decline, and the roads are in disrepair, and it takes more than five minutes for a cop or rescue to respond to your emergency, or the line at the registry is too long, or nobody at the department of regulation answers the phone those people complain louder than the people who want no government interference.”
I don’t know about average response times for police / fire in RI, but terrible roads and long Registry lines have been a fixture in RI for years, notwithstanding the spiraling state and local budgets, and resultant spiraling tax burden.
In fact, considering that it is one of the highest taxed states in the country, one is hard-pressed to think of anything that state or local government does well (other than handing out welfare checks).

mangeek
mangeek
11 years ago

Ken, if you have a 401K, 403B, Traditional IRA, or a corporate pension, that money went into savings -before- it was taxed. All the ‘wear and tear’ was done years ago, with the understanding (on both sides) that the money would be taxed when the investment was cashed-in.
Nowadays, we have an option to invest in a Roth IRA, which is post-tax. If I can accept paying taxes up-front, I get to withdraw later without paying them. Given the direction of government in the last few years, I highly recommend that everyone who can start maxing-out their Roth IRAs.

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