Rhode Island is the very model of a blue model state, writes Aaron M. Renn at City Journal, in an exhaustive catalogue of the state’s troubles. It has the worst, or next to worst, unemployment numbers in the nation, but seems actively to discourage new businesses from starting up. Here’s just a taste of the regulations the state has imposed on its citizens:
Until last year, Rhode Island was the only state that required businesses to pay their employees weekly. It passed legislation in 2013 to allow biweekly payroll—but only for businesses whose average pay is twice the minimum wage and can post a surety bond, get the written permission of any unions affected, and recertify with the state every four years. Meantime, all the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls (the election is this November) want to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, making it one of the nation’s highest.
As Renn winds up this comedy of errors, he remarks:
In most places, the question might be: What should we do? In Rhode Island, it’s probably better to ask: What can we do? Change won’t come easily. The state has done so poorly for so long that the public has grown fatalistic—“Rhode Apathy” is how one local described the state of mind. People and groups cling tenaciously to any benefits they get from the current system because they can’t imagine the pie getting bigger.
We’re not hopeful either, but we do recommend you read the whole thing. It’s a sobering reminder of just how far a state that embraces the blue model can slide.