Thanks to Jenius reader José Méndez, I was appraised of the "governor cutting government workers" aspect currently running its course in Rhode Island, where governor Donald Carcieri is trying to stay within budget during hard economic times.
Reader José suggests that maybe Carcieri is taking a page from The Larva, Our very own--you know him, you love him, but you don't really know him and only his immediate family and a stray dog really love him--(non)governor Luis Fortuño. But despite the similarity in general framework, Carcieri and The Larva are dealing with two very different environments.
The basic difference is size. In Rhode Island, State and local workers make up roughly 10.8% of the total employment in the state; in Puerto Rico, it is 26.2%. On that basis alone, government size is not a problem in Rhode Island: it is THE problem in Puerto Rico.
For Governor Carcieri, cutting goverment employees is a direct response to a budget restriction, apparently imposed by a contrarian legislature. True, in the current economic crisis, tax revenues are down, but if the legislative and executive branches agree to work together, government jobs are not cut but shifted to increase the government's positive impact on key economic sectors. With a small base of government workers, redistribution is an option.
In Puerto Rico, We do have a contrarian legislature (of the same party as the [non]governor) and tax revenues are down, but where Rhode Island has roughly 9 private sector workers per government employee, here We have a less than 4-for-1 ratio; We are in essence swamped by useless government employees. There is no shifting them anywhere because they are already there, like mucous in clogged sinuses. The only possible way to deal with them is to start firing them.
Here's another way of looking at this: Per every 10,000 residents, the average State government has 544 government employees (including education workers.) In Puerto Rico, the average is 808.
808. Eight hundred. And eight.
That is 48.5% MORE than the average U.S. of part of A. state.
Here's the population data for Puerto Rico (3,954,037 as of July 1, 2008) and here's the lowest estimate of State and local government employees as of 2007 (319,487). Yes, you have to crunch the numbers yourself after downloading "Place of Work PUMA." Get over it.
Now Rhode Island ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack, with roughly 485 government employees per 10,000 residents. So Governor Carcieri could, if he chose to, look at the other 49 States and get some ideas on jump-starting the economy the local economy while preserving government jobs, which is equal to attracting votes in the next election.
But The Larva here has no role model, for no State has anything like the cluster-screw sewage stew We have allowed idiots to lead Us into since 1970. Carcieri can be attacked for apparently--maybe, possibly--being hasty in cutting government jobs. The Larva inherited a bloated government and can only be legitimately attacked for not cutting enough government jobs and not doing it fast enough.
Can either of them cut government jobs? Here's My prediction: When all is said and done by Carcieri in Little Rhodie and The Larva in Puerto Rico, Carcieri will have effectively cut more jobs than Our (non)governor. Yes, more employees will be cut in RI than in PR.
And that sucks.
The Jenius Has Spoken.