With a smug country-club grin, Pat McCrory sniffed that his tax-shift plan is “too complex for journalists.” His business audience chuckled appreciatively. Even for McCrory, this statement showed a galling lack of self-awareness. The number of issues he’s misunderstood is almost too high to count; let’s go through a few of them.
To begin with, McCrory doesn’t actually understand his own tax plan. He claimed again and again that it was revenue-neutral, without knowing what revenue-neutral means. Revenue-neutral does not, as the governor appears to think, mean “balanced budget”–that is a given. To be revenue-neutral, a proposal must raise the same amount of revenue as the existing baseline. Any plan that reduces revenue is a tax cut. This is a basic fiscal-policy principle our supposed businessman doesn’t get.
As others have noted, McCrory revealed more of his broad-ranging ignorance in that very speech. Confusing the NCAE–an interest group–with an actual collective bargaining unit, he whined that the “teachers’ union” wouldn’t let him complete his education reforms. We do not have public sector unions, which is partly responsible for another of his howlers. This state is not severely indebted; it has the fourth-best-funded pension in the nation. The argument over collective bargaining can wait for another day, but he of all people should know the true state of our finances.
Going much further afield, one can find borderline hilarious ignorance. In an interview with Charlotte’s Creative Loafing that I’ve cited before, McCrory said “I see a lot parallels between the British in the Carolinas and America in foreign countries today…we were divided into tribes but the British united us, and I see a lot of those dynamics as we try to help other countries but unite opposition against us.” Seriously? Iraq between 2004-2007 was plagued by sectarian bloodbaths, as different sects formed militias and slaughtered their rivals. The violence only abated when moderate Sunnis united with us against Shiite extremists.
Speaking of the Iraq conflict, one anti-war bumper sticker seems strangely relevant to the McCrory administration. It read, “Arrogance and Ignorance Make Bad Foreign Policy.” They make bad state policy, too–and a bad governor.
Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.