Rhode Island is a great state with friendly, hospitable people. Sadly, Rhode Island has the highest unemployment rate in the United States at 9.0 percent. The state needs some help.
On Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing in its ornate hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The subject was economic growth and tax reform, just the sort of help that Rhode Island needs.
Rhode Island has a senator who attended the hearing. When it was his turn to question witnesses, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse merely told a certain witness that she testified too often. He did not ask her about policies that would help Rhode Island. Essentially, unhappy with the message, he attacked the messenger.
It is difficult to understand why a senator from Rhode Island might not like a message of lower taxes (Rhode Island has high taxes) and more economic growth (Rhode Island has little).
But Senator Whitehouse was worth between $2.5 million and $8.6 million in 2012, according to his financial-disclosure forms compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics
. Perhaps he is untouched by the economic malaise of Rhode Island and out of touch with its residents.
This is not the hospitality one expects from a resident of the Ocean State, much less its senator.
Ironically, the messenger he attacked has written five books and hundreds of articles and has served as chief of staff of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as chief economist of the Department of Labor.
It is no wonder she is invited to testify so often, especially since job creation is of primary concern to Americans. Over the past 20 years, she has testified on subjects such as the employment effects of the Affordable Care Act and energy policies, the unemployment crisis for younger workers, different proposals to stimulate the economy and create jobs, the theory of comparable worth, immigration reform, and the minimum wage in American Samoa. Her testimony is all online, available to anyone who wants to read it.