Quick Read

A drowning person's hand

How are businesses supposed to adjust to 6-8% increased labor costs every year for four years?

By Justin Katz | May 14, 2021 |

That’s not a question addressed by anybody whom Edward Fitzpatrick quotes in his Boston Globe article on the march of a $15 minimum wage bill in the General Assembly.  Although, Working Families Party director Georgia Hollister Isman does say that “small businesses should feel good that people will have money in their pockets.” Here are the…

John Edwards and Warwick Fire Department

Rep. Edwards did real harm to Rhode Island municipalities and wants to walk away from responsibility.

By Justin Katz | May 14, 2021 |

When Rhode Islanders hear about some government abuse or other — like firefighters alternating time off so that they are always paid overtime when they actually work, thus earning multiple times their salaries even if they only work a standard week — they shake their heads and marvel that things go so badly around here. …

A floor chart spanning the floor and walls

Unelected boards provide an opportunity to teachable moment for honest progressives.

By Justin Katz | May 13, 2021 |

For a moment of cross-ideological sympathy, I was ecstatic to see progressive journalist Steve Ahlquist publish an essay with the title, “How does the public hold unelected boards, councils, commissions and departments accountable?,” a couple months ago on Uprise RI: From a political point of view, these unelected boards are a great insulator from the…

Mike Stenhouse and Ken Block

There’s a direct connection between unreasonable costs for government and unreasonable taxation.

By Justin Katz | May 13, 2021 |

On his In the Dugout show, yesterday, Mike Stenhouse implicitly made that connection.  On the one hand, Ken Block was on the show to talk about firefighter overtime abuse in Warwick, while on the other hand, pollster Jim Eltringham addressed public opinion on a proposed Transportation & Climate Initiative gas tax.  Stenhouse also leveraged his baseball connections…

A printing machine

To defang fake news, promote economic freedom and free speech.

By Justin Katz | May 13, 2021 |

The common wisdom, of course, is that fake news is a byproduct of freedom, but it doesn’t work out that way, according to a Heritage study by Anthony Kim. Our findings reiterate the importance of economic freedom as the fundamental need for enhancing public trust. Pre-existing economic freedom perceptions are the building blocks for stability…

Sinking ship statue in a Providence park.

The Providence pension bond proposal shows RI’s political class has a conveniently short memory.

By Justin Katz | May 13, 2021 |

Not only are pension bonds a bad idea in principle, but Rhode Island has a sharp recent case study for reference.  Yet, Dan McGowan reports for the Boston Globe that Providence “Mayor Jorge Elorza’s administration is planning to ask state lawmakers to allow the city to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars through a pension obligation bond,” avoiding…

Rep. Christopher Blazejewski

GoLocal on the House Majority Leader’s lack of interest in minority issues is an example for news media.

By Justin Katz | May 12, 2021 |

If journalism were really about holding the powerful accountable and approaching them with a skeptical eye, we’d see a lot more stories like this one, in which the GoLocal Prov News Team reported the difficulty that the minority women who make up the pro-charter-school group Stop the Wait RI have been having getting any response from…

Mike Stenhouse and Tara Levasseur on In the Dugout 05/11/21

Freedom requires its beneficiaries to stand up for it.

By Justin Katz | May 12, 2021 |

Several of the topics on Mike Stenhouse’s In the Dugout show, yesterday, had that theme, whether it was state GOP Chair Sue Cienki talking about Governor Dan McKee’s insult to the opposition party, talk about a Worldwide Freedom Rally in RI, or arrests of COVID-lockdown-resisting Christians in Canada.

Spinning trees

Repeated narratives in the mainstream media do affect votes.

By Justin Katz | May 12, 2021 |

Although Jonathan Swan appears to have positioned a recent essay on Axios with a view toward explaining away President Trump’s electoral gains among Latino voters as a “counterintuitive” political benefit-to-him of the coronavirus, I think the real lesson is quite different. Swan argues that by “shifting Trump’s rhetoric from immigration to fears around the economic impact…

Gavel with a speech bubble

On big rights issues, the courts are like a backup fail-safe, not a strategy.

By Justin Katz | May 12, 2021 |

Ethan Yang, in a post for the American Institute for Economic Research, asks, “Why Have the Courts Been Deferential to Lockdowns?”  Yang addresses legal principles and tests, such as “rational basis” and “the narrowly tailored standard” and writes: Hollow phrases such as “the common good,” “the public interest,” and “reasonable” give enormous discretion to judges…

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