Walter Russell Mead of The American Interest offers an outsider’s no-holds-barred view of Rhode Island’s current fiscal condition. A few of the more evocative passages are excerpted below…
[T]he state could never afford the beautiful utopia it was crafting, and so politicians and union leaders chose the path of systemic deceit. Taxpayers weren’t told what the bill for the system would be; public service workers weren’t told that the pension guarantees they’d been sold were worthless because taxpayers would not and could not foot the bill.
An economic crisis is nature’s revenge on those who make and those who accept false promises; it is a holocaust of lies when the dross is burned away and only what is real and true remains. Think of cotton candy melting and charring in the flame of a blowtorch; that is what is happening to the secure retirements that “caring” blue politicians and “committed” blue union leaders promised gullible state workers…
As far as I can tell the union leaders and politicians who concocted this disaster between them have no plans to suffer any cuts in their own pay or pension plans — and intend to go on “serving the public” without any accountability at all.
…and Professor Mead offers an implicit question at the end of this next section that Rhode Islanders may have a thought or two on…
Nationally, state and local government face something like $3 trillion in accumulated lies and deceit; tiny Rhode Island has the highest per capita amount of systemic dishonesty on its books — I don’t know if the Ocean State is unusually rich in both knaves and fools or if some other factor is at work.
For readers interested in what Prof. Mead means by references to “’caring’ blue
politicians”, “‘committed’ blue
union leaders”, and a “blue
paradise built on lies”, his concept of the blue social model
is explained here