The 2014 election is almost a year away but it is pretty clear what Republicans in North Carolina will be campaigning on—that they hate Obamacare, they really hate it– and that they deserve credit for every single job created in the state, every single one. All hiring is the result of the massive tax cut for the wealthy and out of state corporations they passed this year. That’s what they will be telling voters all spring, summer and fall.
They won’t talk much about the long list of radical legislation they have approved in the last few years, from the unprecedented attacks on women’s health care rights to the dismantling of environmental protections to the most extreme voter suppression law in the country.
They won’t rush to remind people that North Carolina was the only state in the country to refuse federally funded emergency unemployment benefits or that they refused to expand Medicaid and provide health care for 500,000 low income adults who are currently uninsured.
It is a pretty safe bet they won’t talk much about their damaging budget cuts to public schools, community colleges and the university system either. They will keep using smoke and mirrors to claim they have actually increased funding for public schools and they are scrambling now to find money to give a raise to teachers next summer to act like they care about public education.
But there are also calls from their far-right base to expand the voucher scheme lawmakers passed this year that diverts tax money from public schools to almost completely unaccountable private and religious academies, many of which openly discriminate against gay students and teach bizarre fundamentalist theories about science and history.
No, this will be a campaign based on claims that lawmakers and Governor Pat McCrory have spent most of their time creating jobs in North Carolina. It’s not true of course, but this is a political campaign remember.
A Republican lawmaker seeking reelection recently pointed out in an email to supporters that the state unemployment rate had dropped 3.2 percent since he took the oath of office in January 2010.
Apparently his oath itself kicked off a big economic development boom.
Nowhere in the message did he mention that Governor Beverly Perdue, not Pat McCrory was in charge of the state for two of the last three years.
Speaking of Governor McCrory, he’s spinning the same theme as hard as he can too, touting what he calls “the historic tax reforms” passed this year as a key reason for the drop in the state unemployment rate that McCrory points out is at its lowest point in five years.
McCrory doesn’t mention that we are climbing out of the Great Recession, the greatest economic crisis in 75 years. The unemployment rate is lower everywhere than it was in recent years and even right-wing think tankers admit that state policy changes have little to do with it.
McCrory’s right about one thing though, the tax reform was historic. It’s hard to remember a bigger giveaway to the folks at the top and corporations paid for by low and middle income taxpayers.
And here’s the most important point. There’s no evidence that the slashing the corporate income tax or cutting rates for wealthy individuals will create jobs at all.
A panel of respected economists told lawmakers as much this summer. A report released in the spring by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that states that cut taxes during the boom years of the 1990s had slower income and job growth than states that did not cut them.
State tax cuts don’t create jobs, no matter how many times the folks who always clamor for cutting taxes say otherwise.
And Governor McCrory and the folks in charge of the General Assembly haven’t been spending their time trying to create jobs anyway. They have been busy enacting as much of their radical far-right tea party agenda as they can.
Now they are hoping the big money special interests behind them can make people in North Carolina forget all that by talking about the jobs they claim their tax cuts have created.
That’s going to be tough sell. Most North Carolinians know better.