NC Senator Realizes Trickle Down Doesn’t Work
North Carolina’s legislature and governor’s mansion are both overwhelmingly populated with extremely conservative republicans after the last two elections where they beat almost every democrat in the state. They all rode a wave of intense Obama hate which was the only requirement North Carolina voters cared about. Now that they control the state they have instituted policies and passed legislation that cut the budgets of every government assistance program while giving very generous tax cuts to the wealthiest residence who reside in the state. Art Pope who gave millions to state republican campaigns made it known that his money came at a price. He wanted to be named the state’s budget director if the election went their way, and that was the first thing the state’s new republican governor Pat McCrory announced after winning the election in 2012. Art Pope went right to work stripping the budget of any program that was put in place to help poor and out of work North Carolinians make ends meet while enduring the financial recession brought on by the crashing of the home market.
Pope and the new republican governor along with the new activist legislature gave huge tax cuts to all of Art Pope’s extremely wealthy friends, while they completely eliminated the most important tax relief in the form of an earned income tax credit that helped hard working low income families for years. This wasn’t some hand out to people not working. It was only available to poor residence who were working. Then Art Pope and McCrory went after unemployment insurance. This is another program that only helped hard working residence who became jobless due to no fault of their own. When reporters asked the state legislature to explain the reason behind the extremely harsh cuts the republicans defended it by saying the harsh cuts would motivate out-of-work job seekers to find new employment quicker. That reasoning defied logic because at that time the state was hemorrhaging jobs by the thousands each week. Then Art Pope, McCrory, and the republican legislature decided to turn down millions of dollars to expand the state’s Medicaid program which the state would not have to pay back. The reason they turned down this money had nothing to do with their fake concern for the national debt. It was 100% purely political for them. The craven dishonesty they exhibited every time they publicly railed against the Affordable Care Act feed my political cynicism and made it grow exponentially every time I had to listen to them lie about it. They were playing politics with the health and lives of their constituents and had no shame doing so. Not only would the Medicaid expansion money help the poor get medical treatment so they wouldn’t have to use expensive emergency room services, but it would also be a huge infusion of money into the states failing economy. The local hospital 15 miles away from my home town had to shutdown due to our state’s decision to turn down the money to expand Medicaid. A lot of hospitals in the state ended up closing as well. Those hospitals not only provided jobs for people in the community, it also saved people’s lives and became essential to the aging seniors who were not able to travel an hour away just to get medical treatment and see their doctors.
That’s how greedy and uncaring Art Pope and governor McCrory were when it came to the poor and middle class citizens of the state. They knew how to stoke racial fears and use that to get poor white North Carolinians to back whatever they wanted to do. All they had to say is Obama and they could get a large majority of white citizens to agree with almost anything they wanted to pass. While other states used the Medicaid expansion to better the health of their citizens, us North Carolinians had to sit back and watch our tax dollars being spent to help people in the states who were lucky enough to have a smart governor who actually gave a damn about the people who put them in office.
One of the great things that the state republicans weren’t afraid to spend on was money to the state’s very successful and very wealthy NFL football team The Carolina Panthers. That’s right, while people are starving, out of work, struggling to make ends meet while trying to decide how they are going to pay for their medicine, they can rest assured that their legislative representatives are putting all of that money they saved by screwing the poor to good use. The republican lead legislature gave the state’s football team a very generous gift of $87 million for some very vaguely described “stadium projects” and “game day traffic assistance”.
As if that isn’t insulting enough, one not so bright NC Senator by the name of Bob Rucho complained publicly about the cost of his Carolina Panthers football tickets in an interview with the Charlotte Business Journal. Senator Rucho lamented very candidly about how displeased he was when he learned that the price of his Carolina Panthers football tickets would be going up in price this year. He then told the reporter something I’m sure he regrets saying now. Here is a direct quote from him:
I told (Panthers president Danny) Morrison this the other day: I said, “You know, we lowered your corporate taxes, we lowered the (personal) income tax, we cleaned up the issue of what was a (3 percent gross-receipts) tax embedded into my Panther tickets and yet for the last two years I’ve increased (my payments because of higher prices), Explain to me why that is.
In other words he’s saying I gift wrapped $87 million dollars directly from the state’s tax payers for you and your team so I expected you guys to show your appreciation by giving me and my family cheap tickets and preferential treatment when we come to see you play.
Senator Rucho learned a very valuable lesson that almost every state democrat has known for decades. Trickle down economics does not work. It has never worked. It will never work. And if you keep throwing money and gifts and tax brakes to people who are already wealthy, none of that money will ever make it to the middle class, or those who aspire to be in the middle class, or to the working poor and it certainly will not stimulate the economy or create jobs for those who live below the poverty line. The Carolina Panthers had no intention of using any of that money to make their ticket prices more affordable. They took it and added it to their bottom line just like every other company and corporation who are addicted to corporate welfare.
The fact that Senator Rucho said this very candidly and openly in an interview demonstrates how comfortable the republican party is in this state. They know the secret (or not so secret) password that will rally the states voters to their side if they ever get in trouble or start to feel insecure about their position. OBAMA! Works every time.