Dear Senator Brown:
I was glad to hear you lament that “the rich continue to get richer and the poor get poorer.” That’s why I am puzzled by your actions in the General Assembly, including with regard to H1224. I was hoping you could clear things up.
Throughout the early stages of budget negotiations, you led the charge to cut poor and disabled people from Medicaid. How will taking people’s health care away improve the gap between rich and poor? I am especially confused because, judging from your official biography, you live less than two hours from Pungo Hospital, which is closing thanks to your failure to expand Medicaid. It hardly seems enough to give the rural poor relatively more sales-tax flexibility (as H1224 does), when they have no health care.
But you didn’t just say the rural poor, did you? I find it hard to believe you haven’t noticed the poor people in South Raleigh, some of whom live near the Legislative Building. An analysis found “that urban distressed residents are worse off than their rural counterparts.” Why should the poorest of the poor, who often can afford neither cars nor decent schools, have to choose between transport and education?
For that matter, how will any poor people benefit from H1224? At a time when you are denying Medicaid expansion, cutting off the EITC, cutting off Unemployment Insurance, cutting off basically everything, it is curious to cap anyone’s revenue streams. You can’t stick a knife into all the Counties, pull it halfway out of some of the counties, and call it progress. Can you?
I am sure you have sincere, internally consistent answers to all these questions. Better still, PoliticsNC offers a great comments section in which to write them. I look forward to hearing from you.
Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.