The Line of Awareness Crossed Too Late?
If the Sunday Providence Journal is any measure, commentators as a class have moved toward greater concern about the effect of Rhode Island’s stacked public-sector deck. From Froma Harrop to Julia Steiny to Mark Patinkin. Here’s an interesting bit from Patinkin’s offering, which imagines the Starship Enterprise reaction:
“But things seem more peaceful and stable than Planet Wisconsin, which I heard was in upheaval over budget issues.”
“Au contraire, Captain. The unfunded pension liability in Wisconsin is $252 million. Here in Planet Rhode Island, the state treasurer herself puts it at $5 billion or more. That’s ‘billion’ with a ‘B,’ Captain.” “Impossible, Spock.”
The main difference is that peculiarities of Rhode Island politics filled all of the important policy-making seats in the government with people who have proven themselves inclined to ignore problems for as long as possible in order to maintain the status quo. We’re already in worse condition than states that are taking steps to solve their budget problems, and we’re digging in for a while longer.