Rhode Island’s Love of the Bottom
I’m not sure whether or not it’s a healthy development that Providence Journal economy columnist John Kostrzewa has come to the despair-bearing conclusion that many of us in the back alleys of conservative RI commentary have harbored for many months, now:
Hope has all but evaporated for a V-shaped recovery in Rhode Island — one in which the state quickly gains back the jobs and economic strength it lost during the recession. …
Rhode Island has a noncompetitive tax structure, a lousy business climate and reputation, and an inability to solve state and local budget crises, leaving uncertainty for any taxpayer or business trying to plan a future here. Who would want to live or move into that environment?
During the long recession, a lot more could have been achieved if the state’s leaders had kept their promise to rebuild the state’s economy.
Because they didn’t, Rhode Island is still stuck in the back of the pack.
Too many Rhode Islanders are invested in the status quo or duped by the arguments that what they love about the state is irrevocably tied to what’s killing it or lulled by the preemptive assertions that we’ll always be first in, last out of every economic decline for reasons outside of our control. The truth is that, in a state with a healthy political culture, every member of the General Assembly would be facing a tough fight to retain office, this November. The likelihood is that only a handful will change, and without significant effect.
The most sound advice, at this point, has to be to get out or hunker down. And if you choose the latter, for whatever reason, the best strategy for substantive change is to start local. It’s not a thrilling call apt to rile up a revolution, but it’s the only way forward.