Putting Rhode Islanders in the Slow Lane
Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what to say about an idea. Such is the case with the following example, in which Bridgewater State College Economics Department Chairwoman and Massachusetts Council on Economic Education President Margaret Brooks endeavors to illustrate how Rhode Island can “find new and creative ways to raise revenue that don’t cause undue burden to businesses or homeowners”:
… why not have a speed-pass system at the Department of Motor Vehicles that gives people the option of moving to a fast-track line by paying a $50 or $100 premium? Like the speed passes offered at amusement parks, this type of system would extract additional revenue from those who place the highest value on time, and who could most afford to pay. If we put our heads together, we can generate creative solutions such as these that will help us successfully navigate through the state’s economic crisis.
As if a trip to the DMV isn’t demoralizing enough without having to watch rich people skip on through. You rearrange your workday to sit in a painful plastic chair for untold hours, and they swing by between tennis and spa.
Class envy aside, it is supremely discouraging to see an economics professor so enamored with gimmicks. Of all people, such academics should be able to identify the state’s long-term problems and suggest corrections.
If anybody’s interested, here’s a solution that I just thought up: How about we cut taxes, eliminate mandates, and lighten regulations? It doesn’t take a dozen words to describe my official title, but I think something like that just might work. Although, if we’re going to “put our heads together” in the fashion advised by Ms. Brooks, my suggested gimmick would be to offer preassembled packages of documents that would assist productive Rhode Islanders in cutting ties with the state.