Thursday, August 6, 2015

Providence: Rhode Island's Other Welfare City

After the Providence Journal printed my editorial about Welfare City Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a baker working out of Providence contacted me and shared his strong agreement with my about a number of points which I had written about.
The Superman Building in Downtown Providence (Julie Kertesz)

His first letter offered me insight into what was going on in the capital, too:

Dear Mr. Schaper,

I have unfortunately experienced firsthand the damage a lifelong one-party system can do to a City/State.
The article you wrote in last Sunday's Providence Journal really nailed it.

My family has owned an Italian Bakery/Pizzeria in Providence for 25 years.

This once vibrant immigrant built city has become a third-world wasteland of Government Subsidies and lost hope.

Our business has unfortunately had to accept EBT to survive, and the abuse and fraud I see firsthand is nauseating. If you ever needed specific examples, I could give you plenty.

It seems no one feels the need to go to work anymore, at least in my neighborhood.

The entitlement mentality is so deep-rooted, I'm not sure it can ever be extinguished.

Thank you again for that eye-opening article that this Providence newspaper so deeply needed.

I was really intrigued about what he had to share with me, and he gladly answered a number of my questions.

Here is the transcript of my interview with the Providence, RI baker:
Tell me about your business. How long have you and your family worked there?
It's an Italian Bakery/Pizzeria. We sell mostly bread/rolls,  pizza and calzones. Our pizza is bakery style pizza that is popular only in RI. People take boxes of this pizza to parties ,cookouts, beaches.
We have been in this location for almost 25 years.

Were you in business during the Cianci Administrations? What was that like?

No, and although I don't condone his illegal acts, he certainly helped transform Providence from a dirty, unsafe, desolate city to a vibrant downtown. Unfortunately, this has been reverting back to dirty and unsafe again as high taxes and illegal immigration have been the new norm progressing over the last 20 years.

When did this food stamp problem become prevalent in Providence?

Really started ramping up 8 years ago.

What were Buddy's, Cicilline's, Taveras' role in this?

Not sure about Buddy's role. Cicilline is the number one progressive who has embraced and help turn Providence into a sanctuary city. The moment he became mayor he replaced former city hall employee's with Latino speaking employee's. You literally felt like you were in a different country entering city hall. Tavares, being a Latino certainly continued this new normal.

Do you find that most people are able-bodied but are lazy, or has the depression in the economy been part of the problem?

The economy certainly is partially to blame, but too many young healthy people think of EBT as a birthright. They routinely come in to my store covered in expensive tattoo's, I-phone's, & designer clothes. It also not uncommon for them to have more than one card on them. It is also not unusual to see an EBT user get out of a brand new car and/or luxury car. I detect zero amount of shame in majority on  EBT users. There needs to be a change in the way EBT  cards are so easily doled out.

It would seem to me that food stamp people do not even vote. Who is voting for the Democratic party to keep this welfarism going?

Federal Hill (Zigamorph)

In RI, I believe most people vote Democrat because we have a large union /public sector workforce here.
We have retired fireman making more in retirement than they did on the job. This sector wants to keep things the same. Young professionals vote with there feet and have been leaving RI in droves.

Has Providence descended into the Woonsocket Welfare cycle, too?

Certainly large parts of Providence have turned into Woonsocket.

I know of a grocery store in Providence that 80% of their business is EBT .

I actually sell bread to them and know this is a fact.

Why have opposition parties been unable to tackle this problem, in your opinion?

We have decades of a one party controlled general assembly. The house speaker actually has more power than the governor. General assembly needs term limits to break this cycle in my opinion.
In the United States, RI has the least percentage  of republican held seats compared to any other state. Republicans have zero power in RI.

You had to take food stamps in order to survive. Please explain. What would happen if you decided not to take food stamps anymore?  Can you do that legally?

No business legally has to accept food stamps. It is a matter of survival. Chain restaurants like Subway  now accept EBT  in RI. We are all competing for the same small pie.

I have to ask this -- are the churches part of the problem? What has Bishop Tobin said about the welfare use in Rhode Island?

I'm not versed enough in this topic to provide any input.

I am trying to get in touch with J's Deli owner James Hallal, who closed his Woonsocket shop because he could not get enough "invested, motivated" employees.

I recently listened to an interview with Mr. Hallal. He can't find good help just like I can't.

He's had prospective employees come right out and tell him they can't work more than 30 hours/wk. or they will lose such and such benefits.

If I can make close to same amount of $ and not have to work in a 90 degree bakery, why would I chose to work?

Well, that's enough for now, I have to go work in my 90 degree bakery.

Rhode Island Statehhouse (Garrett Wollman)

Final Reflection

Some very eye-opening realities rose to surface while reading over the Providence Baker's comments Seattle business owners and workers have also faced the harsh reality that with higher wages (however artificial inflate) also come the loss of food stamps and other government subsidies. Another takeaway from this interview? Woonsocket is not the only Rhode Island city afflicted with welfarism.

1 comment:

  1. Your article is spot on! An easy way to validate your points is to observe the abuse of EBT cards at major local grocery stores around first of each month. Pay attention to the well kept hairs, fancy fingernails, designer clothes, cell phones and nice cars that these people drive away in. Additionally, I was even approached outside a CVS by an individual who offered the use of his EBT card for a minimum amount of cash. So what is the solution to fix? YES, separate register lines with video recording. EBT may only be used with matching fingerprint for signature. This would prevent having multiple cards. Further, legalization is needed to ban welfare recipients or those young people claiming permanent disability from playing at Twin River casino. SORRY, if you/your family is receiving welfare, you must sacrifice your ability to play slots all day and night. Logically, if an individual can play casino games for hours on end, then hey clearly can get their ass to work!