Looks like the other big New York paper, The Wall Street Journal, felt the need to weigh in on North Carolina to counter the New York Times editorial from last week. What’s most obvious from the article is that Republicans are believing their own spin. They’re also setting a very low bar to judge the success of their policies–the 2014 elections.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. Democrats won’t regain control of either house of the legislature in 2014. That’s not a vindication of Republican policies; that’s a result of their redistricting program. Instead, judge 2014 by the number of votes cast for each party. If more people vote for Democrats for legislature and Congress and the GOP retains control, that shows Republicans have perverted democracy.
Now, let me just list a litany of problems with the article. First, since North Carolina is the least unionized state in the nation and the state’s largest union, SEANC, is actively opposing “Moral Mondays,” those aren’t “unions” criticizing the GOP tax plans. Those are citizens.
Next, while the whole motorcycle-vagina thing is about abortion today, it will be about honesty in 2016. Pat McCrory said, unequivocally, that he would not sign any restrictions to abortion. If he signs the bill, he lied and it will come on the heels of lying about only signing revenue-neutral tax reform and attending Moral Monday protests.
As for the “welfare reforms” that Marc Rotterman says are so popular, I’ve not heard any broad-based cry for welfare reform since the recession began and it certainly is not showing up in anybody’s polling, unless it’s the same folks polling for Mitt Romney. The largest cuts are to early childhood education, public schools, universities and community college programs. If Republicans consider public education welfare, we’re about to be in a world of hurt.
Now, for the Republican myth about tax cuts. The author claims that the tax cuts will “spur growth and job creation.” There is just no evidence of that. The $4 billion in tax cuts they gave to businesses last session of the legislature were going to create the jobs to get us out of the recession. Instead, we’re stuck with a stagnant unemployment rate that’s the fifth highest in the nation.
The whole lower tax thing comes from two sources, the need for smaller government and supply-side economics. The latter has been an utter failure that created the massive income disparity that has shrunk the middle-class since introduced under Ronald Reagan. The smaller government argument has validity but tax cuts are not inherent to the philosophy. They were a strategy to starve government in order to shrink it. Now, it’s lower taxes for lower taxes sake.
Regardless, if lower taxes really created jobs, we would have been an economic juggernaut under George W. Bush. Instead, we had rather slow growth followed by massive economic collapse. And these particular tax cuts will go almost exclusively to the wealthiest. North Carolina middle-class families will feel almost no benefit.
The Wall Street Journal article highlights the fantasy world in which North Carolina Republicans live. Tax cuts create jobs even when they don’t. There is massive support for their policies even when there isn’t. The protests and criticism are coming from unions and outsiders though they’re not. And finally, they’ll judge their support by success in severely gerrymandered districts instead of in terms of job growth or quality of life. What a sorry state of affairs.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >