Rhode Island has been home for 30 years. I’ve enjoyed working in Newport, raising a family in Portsmouth and being part of the Aquidneck Island community. Our roots run deep here, so the decision to move to North Carolina is terribly bittersweet. We’ll miss friends and favorite haunts, but alas, it’s farewell, Rhode Island.
I ran successful businesses for nearly two decades while my wife worked for Hasbro. We worked hard and played by the rules. Yet our return on a 30-year Rhode Island investment is higher taxes, crumbling roads, and free entitlements for illegal immigrants while fellow citizens struggle with an economy on life support.
The chronic indifference of politicians, despite our protests, is infuriating. Like many, I’m tired of supporting a system that doesn’t advance the interest of its citizens. With the adoption of RhodeMap RI and RhodeWorks, the message is clear — our rights and interests matter little to Smith Hill.
Too many graduate from college only to leave the state because of a lack of opportunity. Many who stay work in restaurants or grocery stores. My son graduates from high school this year; we refuse to let him face a similar fate. Rhode Island’s problems aren’t that insurmountable. What stands in our way is the absence of public leadership that genuinely has our interest at heart. Forgive the sarcasm, but if we put the “I know a guy” tradition on ice, Rhode Island would improve immeasurably!
The solutions are obvious. We know how to create jobs. Businesses and entrepreneurs are the engine of the economy, and its fuel is investment capital. Government’s role is to create a pro-business environment where the business powered by capital drives the economy. Businesses require human capital, and voila, that creates jobs!
So where’s the real job creation? RhodeMap RI is a sham. Does anyone believe the federal government that gave us a near $20 trillion debt is the answer? Is its policy “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” the panacea for our economy? Our leaders seem to think so. Now they’re borrowing more federal money for RhodeWorks, which they say will create jobs and fix the state. Really? What we’ll get is more enormous debt service!
Narragansett Bay is among the best seaports on the East Coast. We have highways, rail systems and airports ideally situated for domestic and international commerce. Flanked by major financial centers from Boston to Hartford and New York, we also have access to the best universities to build the most talented and educated workforce plus a highly skilled labor force. Rhode Island has industries and technology centers within an easy commute and offers some of the best quality of life of any coastal community on Earth. Given the state’s assets, have you ever wondered why corporations with deep pockets choose not to invest here?
Here’s one reason. No one appreciates being labeled “greedy profiteers,” least of all investors. Yet our politics perpetuate the narrative: corporations and business owners are charlatans whose profits are built on the backs of the working class. Thus we must extract a pound of flesh from them to spread the wealth around, and government is the fair arbiter of economic justice.
Sound familiar? The trouble is that this produces destructive policies that keep holding us back. This divisive political rhetoric isn’t only antithetical to American values, it also obliterates ambition and achievement — a curse on productivity. You’re rewarded with higher taxes and lower returns for hard work. So who are the real charlatans?
Sadly, the politics of envy and lack of competent leadership remain the bane of Rhode Island’s “economic recovery,” so generations continue to suffer. The blame, however, isn’t Smith Hill’s alone. After all, voters keep supporting the status quo.
For the sake of future generations, Rhode Islanders must reject cronyism and destructive big government progressive policies that repeatedly undermine the enormous potential of the Ocean State. This November, take your government back. It’s time to fire up the free-market engine again! It can be done!
Hope springs eternal, after all. And “Hope” is the state motto, is it not?
Providence Journal: Posted Mar. 12, 2016 at 2:01 AM