NC GOP

NC's unemployment benefits are a national disgrace

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The NC GOP should be ashamed when articles like this are published:

Because it’s administered by the states, the generosity of UI varies widely. Most states offer up to 26 weeks of UI, but some offer far less: Florida and North Carolina offer only 12 weeks currently, though their generosity increases with the state unemployment rate. Missouri offers only 13 weeks per statute, a number that doesn’t increase with the unemployment rate.

There’s similarly large variance in the recipiency rate — the share of unemployed people getting UI — and benefit size as a share of the average weekly wage. The highest recipiency rate is in Massachusetts, where 57 percent of unemployed people get benefits. In North Carolina, only 10 percent do.

Get that? Only one out of every ten unemployed North Carolinians receive benefits, which means they are out of work a hell of a lot longer than the paltry 12 weeks we offer. Said differently, the draconian measures Republicans enacted 7 years ago are not pushing people back to work, they are pushing families out of their homes. But that 2013 bill did something else, too, which was beyond idiotic:

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This needs to be fixed, like yesterday:

There are some 3 million sets of personal protective equipment in the national stockpile. It's not enough, but most of those should have already been deployed to shortage areas. Somebody needs to ask Trump about this during his daily circle-jerk press conference.

Bank Run Burr is back, warning private donor group about COVID 19

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Three weeks ago Burr was speaking to a private (elite) group of NC donors called The Circle (more on them later), and his warning to this group was dire indeed. He told them this wasn't just another virus, it was more akin to the 1918 Flu pandemic, which killed some 50 million worldwide. A few days after that private meeting, he issued a press release which included this message to his not-elite constituents: "The U.S. is in a better position than any other nation to handle a public health emergency like the Coronavirus." There are Two Americas, and no doubt about which one Burr really cares for. Circling back to the Circle:

It's time to fix NC's cruel unemployment system

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Hat-tip to Rick Glazier and MaryBe McMillan:

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly and then-Gov. Pat McCrory approved House Bill 4 with the stated objective of bringing solvency to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is funded by taxes on employers and pays unemployment benefits to laid-off workers.

Ultimately, the bill achieved solvency for the trust fund, but only by permanently cutting the amount, duration, and eligibility for benefits for all unemployed workers. All told, the changes enacted in North Carolina amounted to the most severe cuts ever enacted by any state during the 80-plus-year history of American unemployment insurance. At the time, legislators claimed that when the trust fund was solvent, these draconian cuts would be revisited. That time has clearly arrived.

How many North Carolinians have lost their homes since this draconian policy was enacted? How many families have been ripped apart? How many suicides? Republicans in the General Assembly won't be asking those questions, but somebody needs to. We rate our education system by how well it stacks up against other states, and elected officials (from both parties) love to brag about our business climate rankings. But what about workers? Unemployment is not driven by worker behavior; it is driven by business trends, mergers and acquisitions, decisions made in corporate boardrooms often in other states or countries. Those workers produced the profits (and state revenues) diligently, and they deserve better compensation than $264 a week for 8 weeks:

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This deserves serious consideration:

My sister just moved back to Florida from Washington (state), where they have been doing vote-by-mail for several years now. In 2016, 79% of registered voters mailed in their ballots.

Grifter-In-Chief: Trump's efforts to gain control of COVID 19 vaccine

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Because blackmailing the rest of the world is apparently good business:

According to the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, which first reported the story on Sunday, Mr. Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine. The newspaper quoted an unnamed German government source who said Mr. Trump wanted the resulting vaccine “only for the United States.”

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But two senior American officials said that some of the German news accounts first reporting the story were overblown, particularly with regard to any effort by the United States to secure exclusive access to a vaccine.

In this day and age, when verifiable facts are described as "fake news" by the Trump administration, calling something "overblown" is a tacit admission of guilt. Trump simply has no ethical boundaries, and I don't doubt for one minute that he would use that exclusive control of a vaccine as a lever to get other things he wants. To put it bluntly, Germany is pissed off:

Looming restrictions on SNAP benefits due April 1st

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For many, hunger is just around the corner:

The analysis notes that if the policies had been implemented in 2018, an estimated 3.7 million fewer people and 2.1 million fewer households would have received SNAP benefits in an average month. According to the study, the combined impact of the policies would have been to reduce overall SNAP participation by at least 15 percent in 13 states and make almost three-quarters of households with gross incomes above 130 percent of the federal poverty level ineligible for the program.

Losing much-needed food benefits would cause millions of individuals and families to lapse into food insecurity—defined as “the uncertainty of having, or unable to acquire, enough food due to insufficient money or other resources.”

Aside from the sheer cruelty of tightening restrictions on food stamps, it also represents sheer ignorance of economic forces. Instead of bailing out farmers, an expansion of SNAP would inject capital into not only the agricultural sector, but others, as well. But that is apparently way too complicated for the Liar-In-Chief. Here are the changes that are coming in a couple weeks:

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