‘Chicken Little’ rhetoric benefits no one
RALEIGH — Our state’s $400 billion budget surplus is no big deal according to recent media reports! But what would they say if there were a negative in the budget the way it was when the Democrats were in control of the Legislature and Governorship?
We know the answer don’t we?
It would be said that the Governor’s policies were a failure and that the legislature was unable to lead this state out of the financial difficulties as promised. So we think that the surplus is a big deal and that as a state and country, we face an ideological divide that will shape the future of North Carolina and the United States, for decades to come.
One instance of improved state finances is the burdensome unemployment compensation policies that we inherited from Gov. Perdue.
Because of the tough decisions made by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory, North Carolina’s payroll tax is expected to drop by $280 million in 2016 and as much as $550 million by 2017. This is no small accomplishment. What you think about this sequence of events says a lot about your personal political philosophy and your understanding of the factors that foster sustainable economic growth.
This decline in payroll taxes is due to the aggressive planning by our Department of Commerce. Borrowings from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits at one point approached $3 billion. Until the debt is repaid, employers are required to send a payroll surtax to Washington over and above their own state payroll tax.
If North Carolina had failed to pay its federal debt this year, employers would have sent an extra $280 million to the federal government in 2016. When a reform package was enacted, changes in benefits were initiated and North Carolina reduced the average payment to jobless workers as well as the number of weeks those payments were received. Other changes in eligibility and enforcement procedures saved money by ending long-standing abuses of the system.
A clash of ideologies exists. The liberals want us to believe that the sky is falling every time there is an attempt to reduce spending of any type. Yet the truth of spending reductions will mean a shift of power away from big government spending and into the hands of private individuals. That is why we have the media telling us that a substantial budget surplus is “No Big Deal.” If they acknowledge the surplus in a positive light, that would minimize the liberal argument, and we can’t have that!!
When considering the Unemployment Insurance reforms — and the payoff of this debt in two years — liberals will argue that North Carolina should raise benefit amounts and durations, claiming that to put more money in the hands of this proportionately low-income recipients will stimulate consumer demand and make everyone better off.
They will deny that the lower payroll taxes on jobs can be expected to have any salutary effects on job creation and the larger economy. Conservatives cite the preponderance of evidence suggesting that state taxes really do affect economic growth.
Evidence of failed liberal policies are all around us, and not just here in North Carolina. Every time a conservative governor is elected, we hear the same “Chicken Little” rhetoric from the left. But you don’t have to look very far to see positive financial results. North Carolina has added jobs at a faster rate than the national and regional averages. The unemployment rate has fallen more than that of most states, even if you factor into the equation discouraged workers and others who have dropped out of the labor force for various reasons.
Look at Ohio as a perfect example of a change in policy that has increased economic activity and jobs. The same is true in Wisconsin and many other states, where liberal policies once threatened to drive these states into the ground. Now, they are all doing well and North Carolina is following right along. Hopefully, voters across this country, will realize that the next election is a make or break opportunity for those of us who want to reclaim the country that we grew up in.