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Travis Rowley: The Governor’s Nerve

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Democratic delusion is on full display whenever members of America’s socialist party – in the face of overwhelming evidence of their failure to revive the economy – continue to deride capitalism in favor of collectivism; to double-down on a planned economy at the expense of free markets.

This week Governor Lincoln Chafee (D) offered his final State of the State address, a speech that came just several weeks after it was widely reported that Rhode Island “still has [the] second-highest unemployment rate in [the] nation.” This is a reality that didn’t stop Chafee from referencing the State’s “ongoing economic recovery” and insisting that more economic vitality will be realized if we continue to “strategically deploy resources toward carefully selected segments of the state’s economy” – particularly “the arts.”

Chafee’s disingenuousness can be witnessed at the hands of his own words: “Meanwhile our national economy sputters and the wealth disparity grows larger.” How can Chafee expect Rhode Islanders to believe that their local economy is on the cusp of revival if that local economy is well-known to perpetually rank near the bottom of a national economy that – in Chafee’s own words – still “sputters”?

Shut up, man. Stop lying to us.

Status Quo Forever

Having earned a reputation as a state with an oppressive business tax climate, Democratic party leaders decided to work closely with the RI Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) last year, which informed State House Democrats, “While business location decisions are driven by a number of factors…taxation and regulatory environments are two areas in which states and municipalities are able to affect change within relatively short time frames.”

But, judging from Chafee’s latest vision for Rhode Island’s future, it seems RIPEC’s advice will be ignored once again. The small portion of his speech that was dedicated to tax reform made it clear that a potential reduction in tax rates will be conditional and unlikely.

Chafee’s proposed budget “calls for reducing the corporate tax rate to 6.0 percent” and to “eliminate the sales tax on electricity and gas for all businesses.” Also, “the state sales tax would be reduced from 7.0 percent to 6.5%.”

Okay, not bad.

That is, until we realize that all of these measures depend on the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act – dubious federal legislation that would impose a sales tax on all internet sales, providing Chafee with a “new revenue stream” that would make him more comfortable with reducing local tax rates.

Translation: Rhode Island will not be addressing its smothering tax structure this year. And Chafee has no desire to shrink the overall size of the Rhode Island government. If we want to drop a tax, we must also raise a tax.

Liberal to the Core

The rest of Chafee’s speech could be described as a salute to various progressive sects and causes. In addition to the $35 million he would like to see gifted to “the arts,” Chafee offered rhetorical homage to “state workers,” gay marriage, public education, the children of illegal aliens, and Westerly starlet Taylor Swift.

The Governor also vowed to create a “new Executive Division dedicated to diversity” and to confront climate change – “We know it is happening and humans are causing it.”

Chafee wants state government to double its efforts in regards to its “workforce training and assistance programs,” while also satisfying Keynesians and unionists by floating millions of dollars in government bonds that will pay for more infrastructure projects.

You know, so Rhode Islanders can more easily get around to the jobs they don’t have.

The Left’s Failure. The Right’s Fault.

More disturbing than the delusion and the religious devotion to big-government, however, is Governor Chafee’s nerve. In the opening minutes of Chafee’s speech, he unleashed a preemptive verbal assault against the most disregarded and disenfranchised political group in the State – people whose prescribed economic policies have yet to see the light of day.

Providing cover to his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly, Chafee would take an audacious swipe at – yup – conservatives.

Recalling President Lyndon Johnson’s (D) unmistakably collectivist “War on Poverty,” Chafee called the effort “a war worth fighting,” but admitted, “I don’t think any of us could say it’s a war we’ve won.”

Chafee would then somehow find cause to criticize those who opposed the strategy of that war from its onset: “Unfortunately, the Tea Party and so-called conservatives have waged a war of their own on beneficial social programs that have proven to grow our essential middle class.”

Which is it, Governor? Have the programs associated with the War on Poverty been “beneficial?” Or, after 50 years, have those programs amounted to a war that we have failed to win?

Chafee’s speech revealed that he openly resents the fact that some may be questioning the wisdom behind a big-government welfare state. “It seems as though the battleground in the ‘War on Poverty’ is increasingly the fundamental question of whether the government has a role to play in helping Americans help themselves out of poverty and up into the middle class.”

I guess one could say that Tea Party conservatives have been waging a “war” on the socialist policies that have been engrained into the nation’s political culture and psyche over the past several decades. But Chafee had nothing to say to the fact that this is another “war” that hasn’t been won.

While having made great strides on the state level (not in Rhode Island, of course), in terms of setting policy Tea Party Republicans have been utterly without victory in Washington. New taxes are in place. Thousands of new regulatory measures have been set. Obamacare was passed, and is being implemented. At an all-time high is the amount of Americans receiving food stamps, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance. At an all-time high is federal spending – including deficit spending.

These are the policies that Democrats argued would revive the economy. Yet, it follows that – also at an all-time high – is the amount of Americans who have dropped out of the workforce.

Chafee decides: The Tea Party – conservatives armed with a mere policy wish-list against his actual governmental power – is “unfortunate.”

The Last Resort: George W. Bush

Chafee would employ one more preemptive strike during his final State of the State address, this time against anyone who might have bothered to examine all of his nonsense. Toward the very end of his speech, the Governor reminded everyone that he had “opposed the Bush economic policies because I knew they had the potential to cause a devastating collapse. And they did. And now the national recovery has been too slow, but we are moving in the right direction.”

First off, Bush’s economic policies didn’t cause the Great Recession.

Secondly, in the sixth year of Obama’s presidency, our Democratic governor is still attempting to cash in on the unpopularity of Obama’s predecessor.

That’s not leadership.

And the record is clear: Progressives own this abysmal economy.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


Related Slideshow: The Best of Travis Rowley

Here are some of Travis Rowley's most well-read articles to date:

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Travis Rowley: Liberty By Law

November 24, 2012

In the event of a victory by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney several weeks ago, I had prepared myself to draft a column intended to quell the anticipated jubilation of the political Right nationwide – my primary point being that, despite such a Republican triumph, America’s enduring crisis would have been that Barack Obama was practically guaranteed 47 percent of the popular vote simply by being the endorsed Democratic candidate (Obama ultimately secured 51 percent).

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Travis Rowley: Republicans Told You So

August 25, 2012

While Anthony Gemma’s highly anticipated press conference was certainly compelling, it remains unclear whether or not it will be enough to sink Congressman David Cicilline’s re-election hopes. At the very least, however, it seems Gemma is in possession of convincing evidence of large-scale voter fraud that would incriminate high-level officers within Cicilline’s inner circle.

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Travis Rowley: Gay Marriage is a Sham

January 5, 2013

The consequences of silence were on parade this week when Channel 10 aired a report titled “Same-Sex Marriage Could Help RI Economy.” The premise for saying so is that many people, while decidedly against the passage of a gay marriage bill, have been entirely bullied out of the controversy – and that this has resulted in a growing confusion over how to even begin defending traditional values.

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Travis Rowley: Lessons From Boston's Post-Bombing Lockdown

April 20, 2013

In the midst of the ongoing debate over the 2nd Amendment, I discovered lessons to be learned from the events in Boston this week.

Let me start with this: Owning a gun is not a natural right. After all, how can a firearm be a natural right if man had to invent and manufacture it?

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Travis Rowley: A Letter To An Undocumented Student

September 28, 2011

Dear Undocumented Student,

Regarding the Board of Governors for Higher Education, I had the chance to attend its meeting on Monday night, and also the chance to observe the body of teenage students – some illegal aliens, and some devoted friends – that you were a part of.

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Travis Rowley: Hendricken, Progressives, and Homosexuality

May 19, 2012

Bishop Hendricken High School president John Jackson set off somewhat of a Facebook firestorm this week when he penned a letter to the Providence Journal that criticized President Obama for “favor[ing] same-sex marriage,” and for essentially recapitulating the Catholic Church’s position concerning homosexuality.

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Travis Rowley: Rhode Islanders, Pay Your Own Damn Taxes

March 10, 2012

Local property taxes in Rhode Island are among the highest in the nation. And it has little to do with what progressive Democrats claim. That is, that recent tax cuts for the state’s high-income earners are the cause of your skyrocketing property tax bill – that “the rich” are not paying their “fair share.”

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Travis Rowley: Outlaw Government Unions

April 7, 2012

Offering collective bargaining privileges to Rhode Island’s public employees was always an imprudent idea. And they should be rescinded immediately.

This is a simple conclusion to reach when one considers the nature and purpose of a union. That is, when a group of workers view themselves as having collective leverage over their employer, and find it in their best interest to threaten him with a work stoppage unless their demands are met – most commonly, a greater share of company profits.

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Travis Rowley: Gay Marriage: The Odds of Error

January 19, 2013

It is no secret that both the conservative and the liberal often charge the other with ignorance, a natural imputation for those with whom one disagrees. You don’t know what I know. And that’s why you disagree with me.

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Travis Rowley: Left Wants Gays To Receive Magic Beans At Mass

August 10, 2013

Reverend Brian Sistare, the pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Woonsocket, is currently denying Holy Communion to Lew Pryeor and Pierre Leveillee, a gay couple who are members of Sacred Heart’s regular congregation.

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Governor Lincoln Chafee's approval rating: 22% (Brown University Poll, February 2012). President George W. Bush's lowest approval rating: 25% (Gallup). Congratulations Governor. Your approval rating is lower than the president you vilify.

Comment #1 by Christopher Lee on 2014 01 18

Poor Mr. Rowley. He continues to spew tired worn out trickle down voodoo economic bs in the belief that some gullible saps such as republicans and baggers still actually believe it. What he doesn't realize is that he is just a pawn of the corporate elites as can been seen in all the money being channeled to the top 1%. He is analogous to Admiral chicken leading other chickens to slaughter at the behest of Colonel Sanders.

Comment #2 by Jonathan Bainsworth on 2014 01 18

Very lame, Governor Chafee. Blaming Bush and the Tea Party for the economy? After 5 years of Obama?

Bainsworth, way to completely ignore everything Rowley just wrote up there. What? You thought nobody would notice? Rowley is a "pawn of the corporate elites"? Where do you get this stuff? LOL

Comment #3 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 01 18

The only thing Gump knows about capitalism is that his old lady's ancestors made a pile of dough by practicing it. Somehow I don't think he feels guilty spending it, thought he could NEVER make any of it back.
There may be some smart people leaving the ungraded rooms at Camp Bruno, but he ain't one of 'em. One can often judge people by how their kids turn out. He looks like he has got himself a preveliged little punk for an offspring. Bad form, this??? It's been in the papers enough.

Comment #4 by G Godot on 2014 01 18

One notes how gerbils like "bainsworth" can never actually address issues, but resort to name calling in the first sentance. Morally, educationally, and intellectuly bankrupt.

Comment #5 by G Godot on 2014 01 18

Mr Bainsworth pulled out all his big words, but failed to say anything of real merit. We are on our 6th year of a democratic led economy and yet the left still blames Mr Bush for the mess we are in. I used to wonder when they were going to say it was their policies and economy, but now I believe they will never "own it". We are second worst in the country, our gov. is a Democratic pawn, who has by turns, changed his mind over party loyalty, registered his cars out in a much less expensive town he does not live in, and enjoys the fruits of others labors.

Comment #6 by sasc voter on 2014 01 18

Hey Bainsworth, did you steal those lines from Rachel Madcow? I'm surprised the progressives are sucking up to Chafee after the medicaid cuts that he didn't mention in his speech. Too funny.

Comment #7 by Max Diesel on 2014 01 18

Let's face it, the real problem is the uneducated voters who put these "leaders" in a position of authority. The "give me mine" voters are used by the left every election and so get reelected. The taxpaying workers in this State never really have representation. Lowering the sales tax by 1/2% in RI? Please. I'll still buy in Attleboro. Admit it, government in RI will NEVER change because the people won't.

Comment #8 by George Hadley on 2014 01 18

Deregulation of the banking system caused the Great Recession.

Comment #9 by bill bentley on 2014 01 18

Perhaps not exactly on point with the theme of this Rowley essay, but permit me to shed a little light on just how robust or state’s economic recovery actually is. Governor Chaffee and Jonathan, please take notice.
I learned the following when I offered comment before a recent meeting of the joint commission on tolling the Sakonnet.
1% of the state’s general revenues equals 35 million dollars. Thus, 100% of the general revenues equals 3.5 billion dollars. However, the current state budget is 8.2 billion dollars. (Our Governor is now proposing a budget of 8.5 billion dollars.) I was struck by the seeming major disconnect in the numbers – a budget of 8.2 billion but revenues of only 3.5 billion. Not knowing how the state accounts for the rather significant delta, I asked the co-chairmen of the commission and was informed by Representative Mello, chairman of the house finance committee.
The answer shocked me, although I might have guessed. 4.7 billion dollars or approximately 57% of our current state budget comes to us compliments of our federal government and taxpayers from every state. And per Mr. Mello, little discretion is allowed the state as to how federal gifts and grants are to be spent.
Not only is Rhode Island not on the crest of any meaningful economic recovery Governor Chafee and Jonathan, but the sovereign state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is not very sovereign after all. Sadly, tragically and irresponsibly, we are a state dependant on the federal dole.

Comment #10 by peter hewett on 2014 01 18

""Democratic delusion is on full display whenever members of America’s socialist party"" Rowley...LOL

The GOP today is an awful brand. A Gallup poll last week found that the percentage of gullible American-rubes who identify as Republican-lemmings just hit a 25-year low.

The party is weakest with those demographic groups -- minorities and the young -- whose shares of the electorate are growing fastest. And it's unlikely the "party over country" GOP's reputation will improve between now and 2016, since that reputation is being driven by a Republican House more responsive to the loony Tea Party-birthers than to public opinion at large

Travis Obama has been digging us out of the hole that the draft-dodging chicken-hawk liars Bush and Cheney put us in, you know that ....but you pretend not to.

Comment #11 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 01 18

More hate from Sammy In Arizona. No surprise like Chafee, you still blame Bush after six years. Two peas in a pod. Ignorance is bliss. FYI Sammy, any improvements in the economy have been despite Obama's efforts to knuckle it under. His dream is to create more dependency. It's a simple concept, more dependency means more votes.

Comment #12 by Max Diesel on 2014 01 18

The GOP is an awful brand??? I don't believe the GOP are trying to be a "brand" what sort of marketing BS is that sentence? And why resort to name calling? lemmings,rubes? I have not seen a comment in support of the GOP resort to name calling. And as far as lying is concerned where should we start with Mr Obama's lies? Lets see, the classic-If you like your plan;keep your plan. The Benghazi attack(was it an act of terrorism? was it? ) he had weeks and still would not say … and how about the sequester, those poor janitors who were not going to get paid. Wait they said not true, ok well then they won't get any overtime… So digging us out of what mess? Six years in and we are not by any measure doing better. When will you admit that the democratics have had control of our economy for SIX years and we aren't better off. But get another party in power and they will be responsible right away. You can keep saying it all you want, but it does not make it so.

Comment #13 by sasc voter on 2014 01 18

Peter Hewett,

Thanks for pointing out that our state itself is a beggar and thief -- fundamentally dependent on the federal government's stash of other people's money.

I hope those living in fantasy land will read your comment again and again until they get it. What happens to the state if the federal spigot turns off? Or if the Twin Rivers revenue dries up when Mass casinos go online?

What's more, there are no more lead paint or tobacco company shake downs to be had.

Comment #14 by Art West on 2014 01 18

Is Bainsworth auditioning to become a paid troll for ACORN? His slogans, insults, and shibboleths are a bit shopworn, aren't they? Might he stand a better chance of getting the job of blog propagandist if he first obtained a new script?

It's all Bush's fault? Really? Well, why not? Didn't Bush, after all, start the War in the Crimea? Wasn't it Bush who assassinated Archduke Ferdinand? Didn't Bush sack Rome?

We're six years into the most heavily-hyped communist 'plan' for recovery based on the tiresome, long-failed schemes of John Maynard Keynes who stupidly believed that government blowing gobs of money on idiot projects, stuffing trillions down rat holes, would somehow make us all rich.

Even sham artist Keynes admitted his plan was designed to fail nations right into communism.

For all the hype about the scumulus bill, shouldn't we all be millionaires right now? Wasn't the scumulus bill supposed to make us all prosperous?

Shouldn't electricity be flowing freely at no cost, thanks to this sure-fire solar&wind; scam?

It's this simple: nations which stupidly listen to left wingers and their serially failed scams such as Keyensian money-blowing, solar & wind grifts, and 'social justice programs' which are little more than state-sponsored looting, fail. Always.

Every nation that tries communism falls. Every single one.

And communists, following the lead of their psychotic, moron, leech love-idol marx, always blame their failures on innocent people, usually their critics.

This will not get any better until, and if, this regime and the goons who support it go the way of the dodo bird.

Until then, expect things to worsen and plan accordingly.

No nation which dances with the syphilitic whore of communist ideology survives.

Comment #15 by paul zecchino on 2014 01 19

Paul needs to turn off Faux news and step away from the crack pipe. He would call someone a communist if they questioned a late charge on their credit card. Mr. Zecchino you are a mere pawn of the top 1% who rig the system. You then attempt to apply free market economic analysis to a rigged system which is a waste of everyone's time including your own. Sammy Arizona, on the other hand, understands how the system functions more clearly.

Comment #16 by Jonathan Bainsworth on 2014 01 19

A good first step to getting the economy back on track:

Stop worshipping the business community, the rich and Wall Street. We need to stand up to the Chamber of Commerce and and business leaders and tell them if they don't like setting up their businesses in the good old US of A with all the protections we afford them...then by all means move your brick and mortar establishment to a country like Afghanistan and try your luck there. See how well your business thrives while your store is being looted by the Taliban and your daughters are being stoned for going to school. I guarantee you will come crawling back to this country and kiss the ground democrats walk on for providing you regulations and protection.

Comment #17 by Jonathan Bainsworth on 2014 01 19

John Maynard Bainsworth -

Were your remarks comprised of stated alleged facts rather than regressed, tiresome insults, I'd reply to them. But they're not. So I won't.

Comment #18 by paul zecchino on 2014 01 20

Travis -

Spot on as ever. Florida, thanks to Governor Scott, now ranks behind only the oil-boom states of ND, SD, and NE, and a couple others in terms of economic solvency.

That single fact, among many, explains the Left's constant vilification of Governor Rick Scott: The left hates anyone who proves its lousy socialist injustice programs to be the frauds they've always been.

The Left reflexively attacks anyone who succeeds, because the Left thrives on failure, unrest, and chaos.

The Left is a crime syndicate writ large, which nicely explains its seemingly bizarre but actually quite understandable affinity for the criminals who do its bidding.

Comment #19 by paul zecchino on 2014 01 20

Yes, Travis is spot on with this article. But it just depresses me. All the logic in the world isn’t going to move the needle in RI.

I’m sorry guys, I am really tired and down just now. There seems to be less than a dozen of us who write comments here and the vast majority of us are conservatives who (like me) heard about GoLocalProv from Helen Glover’s Show on the radio (miss her). Assuming there might be another dozen who read the articles—that gives us about 2 dozen total?

Most of the wise have left the State. At first I resented them for not standing and fighting the good fight but more and more I’m thinking I should follow. It just seems hopeless here. RI is a dark blue state and the only future for a dark blue state is bankruptcy.

Convince me I’m wrong. Convince me there is hope or a chance to shed the stupidity and corruption of Democrats and public sector unions.

Comment #20 by James Berling on 2014 01 20


I hear ya brother.

I guess it comes down to this: "will there be any place left to run?" If the Marxists succeed in getting a permanent voting bloc on the national level (achievable through amnesty for illegal aliens) then the welfare state can be forced down on us no matter where we run.

If that's the case, I will feel most badly for the young people who will live lives less free and more serf-like.

Then again, Atlas may shrug and the socialists will no longer have a host to feed off of.

In any case, I'll keep fighting. Truth is powerful.

Comment #21 by Art West on 2014 01 20

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