Imagine no special-interest feeding frenzies.
Look, I know this is normal and human, and I wouldn’t actually fault the people involved, but for a little Friday-afternoon fantasizing, let’s imagine this not being the case:
When Rhode Island received its $1.13 billion slice of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make tangible investments across the state. But 10 months later, organizations, businesses, unions, and key stakeholders have proposed programs that would cost the state a whopping $7 billion.
“It makes it more difficult [to spend this money] because $6 billion of the asks will be disappointed,” said Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, during the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Leadership forum on Tuesday.
No doubt they’ll be disappointed. Some might even be outraged. But on some alternative timeline in the multiverse there’s a Rhode Island in which “organizations, businesses, unions, and key stakeholders” are so humble about their activities and conscientious about their spending of tax dollars that $1,130,000,000 is more than enough to go around. In that better world, people getting free money would be embarrassed to be so gluttonous at the trough.
That’s especially true because this really isn’t a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” The pattern is nearly established that Democrats manage to leverage some crisis or other in order to take over the federal government and shuffle mind-boggling amounts of borrowed cash across state and federal government agencies roughly once per decade.
Indeed, one wonders whether they’d manage to be elected at all if they didn’t have these growing promissory notes out there in the political marketplace.
Featured image by Konstantine Evdokimov on Unsplash.