U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan wants North Carolina to rejoin the rest of the states whose long-term unemployed residents could again benefit from emergency unemployment benefits should Congress restore them nationwide in the new year.
Hagan scheduled a Monday news conference in Raleigh with Democratic leaders of the General Assembly to talk about a provision that would make North Carolina eligible again to offer these federal benefits to the jobless. These benefits went away in North Carolina back in July after the legislature scaled back state benefits going forward.
It looks like Congressional Republicans are (once again) using humanitarian aid as a bargaining chip to force spending cuts elsewhere, a nasty habit for which voters should punish them severely. Of course they won't, but if this deal does go forward, we desperately need to be back in that particular game, instead of being the only state that isn't.
There’s been a lot of talk these past few months about raising teacher salaries. State employees want in, too. Dana Cope, head of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, told Time Warner Cable News he’s hoping for 3 percent raises.
State employees and teachers received no raises this year. They have mostly gone without raises since the recession started, except for a 1.2 percent increase in 2012.
There's no doubt that state employees could use a raise also, and I hope they get one. But if they don't, they may want to ponder whether Cope's approach to advocacy, including his gloating over outmaneuvering NCAE and its teachers, is really the best way to secure better benefits for members:
The Journal long has opposed video poker in North Carolina, arguing that it preys on the poor and is a particularly addictive form of gambling. But just as the doctor who realizes there is no known cure for a disease, we suggest a control therapy.
Once legalized, gaming should be taxed heavily, but not punitively so. The state should reach an agreement with the industry that will permit it to operate in a controlled and safe manner. Any regulatory body should include representatives of the industry, in a minority role, to assure that the industry feels that it has a stake in the regulation.
You're forgetting some very important factors: the Legislature has proven through its actions that it will exercise its authority over municipalities if they try to exert too much influence over the private sector, especially if it adversely effects some/one of their big campaign donors. And the Internet gambling concerns have thrown a lot of money at them in the last few years, ensuring at least silent support, if not outspoken. Republicans have also shown a proclivity for stacking regulatory boards with industry-friendly members, so they will more than "feel" they have a stake in some future body, they will control it. And they will locate their gambling establishments wherever they please, regardless of where you think they should go.
Alternate title: What a difference a year makes [cross-posted from BackwardNC]
As we celebrate a new year, with all the reflections and predictions, BackwardNC offers our own prediction for the next year and beyond. This isn't one of those "here's what might happen" sort of things; this is just documentation of what already was planned by the NC GOP with their tax increase.
(In the home of Ned & Cora Average (NC Average), in [insert your favorite county here] ).
Ned: Hey, Cora, have you noticed? I'm takin' home 11 bucks more in my paycheck every week! Our boys [insert GOP state representatives/senators names here] are doin' OK by us!
Democrats have been weakened in Raleigh and their party leadership has been in disarray of late, but liberal groups, some business groups and others disaffected with legislative decisions on public education are laying the groundwork for challenges to vulnerable Republican lawmakers. Democrats don’t expect to win control of either house, but they see a chance to reduce their disadvantage heading into 2016’s elections, when they hope to bounce Gov. Pat McCrory.
Is that really the best we can hope for? Maybe getting rid of the Veto-proof aspect of the Republican majority in the General Assembly so a Democratic Governor taking over in 2017 can (try to) block some of their idiotic policies? I think we can do better. Am I crazy?
If I wanted to keep poor people poor, there are several government policies I would favor.
For starters, I would advocate for a robust and ever-expanding welfare state. Programs like Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc.? Perfect poverty traps.
I would recognize that a perfect recipe for keeping poor people poor is to create incentives that push them into decisions that prevent them from climbing out of poverty.
We can expect to see more of this tripe as the year unfolds. What Brian is trying (and so far failing) to do is deflect attention away from the realities of the recession, and put forward the idea that people are struggling because of their own choices. All they have to do is "want" to work and a good job will magically materialize for them. The truth is much more complex and disturbing:
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