Government Employees Get Paychecks, Not Handouts

While I don’t expect to change his final assessment, I’d like to correct a misunderstanding in Thomas Kolodziejczak’s letter in today’s Providence Journal, “Katz’s rightist ravings.” Responding to an op-ed of mine from the previous Saturday (“Apathy, fear as R.I. dusk turns to night”), Mr. Kolodziejczak paraphrases that I meant to suggest “that nearly 20 percent of the state population is employed by state or local government, is a retired employee or related to one.”
Actually, the “around twenty percent of the overall population [that] relies on government for direct handouts” is a different group from the “sixteen percent or more of the state’s working population” whom I cite as “employed by a state or local government.” I suppose I could have been clearer, but I don’t consider money earned through work to be a “handout,” so I thought the two categories would be sufficiently distinct. (Also, the “working population” is much smaller than the “overall population.”)
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Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
8 years ago

“around twenty percent of the overall population [that] relies on government for direct handouts” is a different group from the “sixteen percent or more of the state’s working population” whom I cite as “employed by a state or local government.
So your figures (which I don’t doubt a bit) show that nearly 40% of the state depends on government as practiced by the RIDP.
And some people still think the “master lever” is some solution?

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

A timely observation. We learned last night, as many long suspected, that RIFuture – perhaps the state’s most active left-wing political blog – has been functionally bankrolled by the taxpayers this past year in the form of unemployment benefits, which provided the financial freedom necessary for its editor to operate and expand the website in the equivalent of a full-time position (must be nice). I don’t think anyone who has lived in the state would be the least bit surprised at the cultural rot that permits and tolerates this sort of thing on a routine basis, nor that the individual expressed surprise that anyone would consider this as presenting an ethical problem.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
8 years ago

Tommy,
Your extrapolation is inaccurate, which is directly related to the miscommunication between myself and (apparently) Mr. Kolodziejczak.
It can get tricky mixing these datasets, but roughly 48% of Rhode Island’s population is employed. That means that roughly 8% of the overall population is employed by a state or local government entity.
Some of them are in each other’s families, so when I suggested “adding in” friends, families and retirees, we have to assume significant overlap. The same is true of those receiving government handouts of one form or another. There is some degree of overlap, certainly when friends and relatives are included in the count.
But that’s what prevented me from trying to clarify my initial essay (already pushing the boundaries for word limits) by simply saying “another 20%,” or something like that. I didn’t want to be understood as asserting that 36% of the overall population either works for the government or is receiving a direct handout.
Most importantly, on that matter, the total count wasn’t my focus; the tendency of big government to create reinforcing constituencies was.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
8 years ago

JK: “I didn’t want to be understood as asserting that 36% of the overall population either works for the government or is receiving a direct handout.”
You would be correct if you said “working population”. I hope I am correct in saying that according to the 2010 Census 21.6 of working Rhode Islanders work for some level of government, that is slightly below the national average. I am not sure if that figure includes those in the military (I don’t believe the census broke it out that way). I pointed out in another post that Clinton’s first election was the first election in which more than 20% of employed voters worked for government.
So, assuming that you are correct, or nearly correct, on the 20%, it should work out around 42%. Although it does mix the employed and unemployed/partially employed.
trying to verify my percentage on the Net, I found this:
“State Government Employment
Most state governments saw small decreases in full-time or full-time equivalent employment between 2009 and 2010. Idaho, Connecticut and Rhode Island saw the largest declines, each losing about 5 percent of its workforce.”
So there may be some slight decline from what I remember in the 2010 census.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
8 years ago

“We learned last night, as many long suspected, that RIFuture – perhaps the state’s most active left-wing political blog – has been functionally bankrolled by the taxpayers this past year”
Can you educate me on this?
I know you’ve been following this lead for months and I would love to see how this noxious creep was exposed as the Plain fraud he clearly is.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

Plain questioned how RI Center for Freedom has been funded. Katz in turn questioned Plain on whether he collected unemployment benefits while operating RIFuture, noting that Plain has never answered the question. Plain answered that he has and asked why it is a “big deal.” Katz explained that it’s relevant because Plain used a public service to be a blogger. Plain rationalized by saying that he used the money to pay bills, not be a blogger. I asked Plain if he actively sought paid work, which is an eligibility requirement for unemployment benefits. Plain refused to answer and demanded personally identifying information from me, at which point the exchange ended.

Monique
Monique
8 years ago

“Plain rationalized by saying that he used the money to pay bills, not be a blogger”
Now that is truly hilarious.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
8 years ago

Word of the day for RIFuture: fungible.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

Statistically speaking, it’s now a matter of time until Plain discovers which “disability” he suffers from and applies for lifetime SSDI benefits to keep “the bills paid” so RIFuture can continue its progressive statewide reporting and political endorsements indefinitely. When that inevitable transition does begin, I do hope the Social Security Administration will consider the many photo-documented kayaking and bird-watching adventures he took across the state this past year (while actively seeking employment, of course).

David S
David S
8 years ago

So people collecting unemployment benefits issued to them for having been laid off, or downsized, are now to be ridiculed. When are you going to start referring to them a low lifes and bums? It didn’t take people that long after the Great Depression to start acting against people travelling the country looking for work. Vagrants, bums, and hobos.. The 47 percent term is too mild. I’m sure you can do better.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

David – An explicit requirement of unemployment benefits is that one must actively seek paid employment, i.e. make an effort to get off of the program. If the individual uses it as a welfare program to subsidize recreational or unpaid activities, they are defrauding the program and lying to the public. What part of this do you not understand?

David S
David S
8 years ago

Dan. I understand the program. There is no part of it I do not understand. You are a stalker. Bob Plain booted you from RIFuture and you are acting like a craven road rage fool.

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