OPINION | Chris McCarthy: Rhode Island Census Scam
A politician in Rhode Island is proposing a bribe to certain families who will move to his state in time to boost the census and save a Congressman.
Rhode Island, like many states in the northeast, has been losing people to states with warmer climates and better economies. With the census coming up, the state is concerned it will show additional population losses. The state is dependent on federal spending, and is concerned it will lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Every state has two federal senators to create an equal standing in the upper chamber of Congress. The country has a fixed number of federal representatives, and they are adjusted according to the populations of each state. As the population shifts, so do the House seats in each state. Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a census to count the population.
We elect our president every four years, according to the vote of the Electoral College. The number of electors in each state is determined by the total number of U.S. Senators and Representatives. When a state loses or gains a seat in the House, they also lose or gain a vote in determining who is the president for the next four years.
According to an article in The Providence Journal, State Rep. Carlos Tobon, a Pawtucket Democrat, wants to pay people to move to Rhode Island so the state can inflate its population, and save a House seat and a vote in the Electoral College. He is proposing the state pay $10,000 to families of at least three, who have an income of at least $100,000 and agree to stay for one year in the state.
His state is losing people to other states, but rather than fix the living conditions in his state, he is proposing to bribe people to move in. Bribe them to inflate the population and preserve the state's clout to bring home federal tax dollars, at the expense of our states in the union.
"Let's bring them here and get them counted," the Democrat told The Providence Journal. He went on to say, "Live free in Rhode Island for one year; that's what I initially thought of calling the bill."
This scam isn't illegal, but it is a violation of the spirit of our Republic, and a transparent grab for power and money at the federal level at the expense of the country.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.