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March 24, 2004

The Government's Like a Family... Only Richer

Donald Hawthorne, a former member of the East Greenwich School Committee, writes, in today's Providence Journal, that the education wing of the Rhode Island government has plenty of fat that it can trim. This way of putting the issue ought to be intellectually accessible to any citizen:

The real debate should be about why state aid increased by $158 million, or 33 percent -- nearly twice the rate of increase in taxpayers' personal incomes. You can thank outrageous demands by public employees and the spineless responses by politicians and bureaucrats for such irresponsible increases.

Let's put these large numbers in the context of a family budget. Suppose your income was $45,000 a year. A 33-percent increase means your salary grew to $60,000. Few families saw that kind of increase during the last five years.

After receiving that huge salary increase, you are now being asked to take a 1.25-percent reduction. That means finding a way to live on $59,250 in the next year. Families make such adjustments all the time to live within their means. Government should be able to do so, too.

Surely some bureaucrats, lobbyists, and politicians consider translating government spending into real-person terms to be contrary to the health of the state — in one way of looking at health. For my part, I think this state's government, in particular, has been indulging in gourmet ten-course meals and late-night Big Macs for quite a bit longer than is advisable.

Posted by Justin Katz at March 24, 2004 2:22 PM

Public education is a debacle, but the walls are beginning to crumble.

Posted by: Michael Williams at March 25, 2004 8:26 PM