Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


WHEN LEGISLATORS SAY THERE ISN'T MONEY, THEY MEAN CORPORATE TAX CUTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT: Corporate tax collections were nearly $1.33 billion in the 2014 budget year. This year collections will be about half that. If corporate tax revenues simply remained the same as they were in 2014, there would have been an additional $2.3 billion available for important needs over the last five years. While Rep. Horn observed: “We simply don’t have the money,” he’s not quite correct. The money is there. It is just that Horn and most of his fellow legislators would rather not spend it on programs that, say help children get ready to learn when they start school. It’s far more important to spend it on tax cuts for businesses. Don’t believe it? Just check with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

MURDER CONVICTIONS IGNORED THE WIDER THREAT TO MUSLIMS: I can put this no more eloquently than Deah Barakat’s brother, Farris, who said in court, “This is as much a dispute over parking as Rosa Parks was an argument over a bus seat.” It has been clear to the family and supporters of Deah, Yusor, and Razan that one of the reasons why Hicks was charged with murder, rather than a hate crime (or domestic terrorism, for that matter), was that the shooter was a white man, and his victims were Muslim. We see this refusal to acknowledge Muslims as victims in the way that Congress reacted to the victims’ father when he testified at the House Judiciary Committee on White Nationalism. In his testimony, Dr. Abu Salha identified “bigotry and hate” as the motivations for the execution of his daughters and son-in-law. Yet the responses of several Representatives nonetheless reinforced the link between Islam, terrorism, and anti-Semitism. “Did you teach your children, your daughters, hatred?” asked Representative Jackson Lee. “Does Islam teach Muslims to hate Jewish people?” inquired Representative Hank Johnson. There was no room for Mohammad Abu Salha to be a grieving father, warning his country about the threat of white nationalism. Instead, his Muslim identity became sufficient grounds to put him on trial for the crimes of radical jihadists.

COOPERATION, NOT CONFRONTATION, WILL CONTROL STATE HEALTH PLAN COSTS: Today more than 700,000 North Carolina government workers, retirees, teachers and their dependents are less certain about how much they’ll be paying for health care. They were promised they’d pay less and the State Health Plan would reap big savings. Unless there is a dramatic change soon, the bungled approach taken by State Treasurer Dale Folwell likely means greater out-of-pocket costs for those who depend on the plan to cover their health expenses. Folwell said he was going to reduce payments to providers by $300 million to $400 million – and those providers were told to take it or leave it. Absent any dialogue and negotiation, nearly every provider opted to leave it. Now the entire State Health Plan is in jeopardy. This is not how good employers treat their employees. That’s not how to get control of a health care system that nearly everyone agrees is plagued by high costs that need to be reduced.

WE JUST DODGED A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS WITH THE CENSUS: It is important to understand just what a radical course of action the administration was flirting with. The attorney general of the United States declared that he had been in regular contact with the president about the question, which the president was determined to see featured on the decennial survey. “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. Thankfully we are not going to find out for certain, but what is the possible import of insisting that the Supreme Court got it “wrong" here? Barr’s affirming of Trump’s repeated assertion that the court had erred, while promising to produce some executive remedy for the error, portended a response that was not faithful to the court’s mandate. Certainly, such a course would not have been out of character for the headstrong and constitutionally uninformed president. Such a response would have been tantamount to challenging the bedrock principle of Marbury v. Madison that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

IT WAS NEVER ABOUT BUSING: That we even use the word “busing” to describe what was in fact court-ordered school desegregation, and that Americans of all stripes believe that the brief period in which we actually tried to desegregate our schools was a failure, speaks to one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the last half century. Further, it explains how we have come to be largely silent — and accepting — of the fact that 65 years after the Supreme Court struck down school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, black children are as segregated from white students as they were in the mid-1970s when Mr. Biden was working with Southern white supremacist legislators to curtail court-ordered busing. During the late 1950s and early ’60s, white politicians used every possible means to challenge the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and subvert its integration mandate. They siphoned state tax dollars — dollars that black residents also paid — to fund a separate system of all-white private schools that came to be known as segregation academies, paying teacher salaries and offering white children tuition vouchers to attend. All-white legislatures shuttered schools and entire school systems rather than allow a single black child to attend a “white” school.


SENATOR SAM SEARCY: WE NEED TO UNITE ON THE BUDGET: Instead of continuing the partisan back and forth on the budget, we need to engage in good faith negotiations that focus on what is best for all North Carolinians. Our focus needs to be on education and healthcare, two of the main driving factors of a strong economy. We need to properly invest in our teachers and schools to provide our children the resources and skills they need to move our economy forward. We should capitalize on today’s historically low interest rates to pass a school bond to help build new schools in a fiscally responsible manner. We need to give our teachers competitive pay to keep the best and brightest in North Carolina. I believe our budget should include closing the Medicaid coverage gap, which would give nearly 600,000 North Carolinians access to the healthcare coverage they need. Expanding Medicaid would also stimulate our economy by bringing 40,000 jobs to the state, many created in rural areas that need stable well-paying jobs. This can all be accomplished with no additional taxes.

LEE A. GABLE: RAPINOE DISSES TRUMP, BUT NOT OUR COUNTRY: President Trump believes that Megan Rapinoe, voted the most valuable player in the Women’s World Cup, is being disrespectful to our country because she has said clearly that she would not come to the White House if invited. But Ms. Rapinoe does not disrespect our country, she disrespects him. There is a big difference. A great many Americans dearly love our country but do not respect him. Most people, even most Trump supporters, will tell you that they cannot respect a pathological liar, which this man is. If you use his reasoning to determine whether someone disrespects our country, then you would have to agree that there were many people who disrespected our country when President Obama was in office. He couldn’t say a thank-you without being criticized and vilified by many of the same people who support Trump. President Trump, who, most of the time, sees everything as being about him, needs to recognize that, in this case, it is indeed about him, not the country. But sadly, he is incapable of doing that.

BOB AND SUSAN B. MCCLANAHAN: IN A DEMOCRACY, VOTERS CHOOSE THEIR REPRESENTATIVES: There is a growing consensus that partisan gerrymandering is wrong. In the recent Supreme Court decision, the court majority decided they do not condone gerrymandering, but they simply lack the power to make things right. A majority of NC House legislators (67 out of 120, including Republicans and Democrats) have sponsored one of six pending redistricting reform bills in this General Assembly session. Three powerful men hold the keys to whether or not these bills will receive any consideration: NC House Speaker Tim Moore, NC Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, and Representative David Lewis (Chairman of the NC House Redistricting and Rules Committees). In 2009, back when Democrats were drawing the maps, each of these men sponsored an Independent Redistricting Commission bill. It is hypocritical for them to now prevent these bills from being discussed and voted upon. No matter which party is in the majority, it is time for voters to choose their representatives, instead of the other way around. Please call these leaders to insist that they allow our legislators to discuss and vote on these bills:



From the dark side

This week's loser is Jay Ambrose, for his half-ass attempt to disparage $15 minimum wage:

If you’re thinking of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, you need maximum compassion, and liberals don’t have it. Promises of more money for lots of people can make voters ridiculously happy if they don’t understand that more for some always means less for others. So the liberals get elected, do their thing and ruin lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged of our fellow citizens.

That's pretty much all you need to read to know the author is going to "zero sum game" you to death before you're done with the entire article. The reality is a lot more complicated. Right now, there is no state in our country where earning less than about $14.00 per hour will cover your rent and utilities, without eating into your food budget. So people are forced to work 2 (sometimes 3) jobs to get by. Raising the minimum wage will actually free up some of those part-time jobs, so there would likely be a net gain of available jobs.

Here’s a big issue just underlined in a report by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office. It says increasing the current $7.25 minimum wage by that much could fatten the wallets of 17 million workers. That sounds great except that, maybe for 1.3 million others, it could bring their pay checks to zero. They could lose their jobs, knock on doors and probe the internet for maybe weeks and months and then possibly retire to watching TV and sighing a lot.

I already dealt with that above. Those 17 million workers are currently doubly-employed, or (pay close attention to the following) drawing food stamps and/or other government supplements. Raising their wages will increase available jobs and reduce the taxpayers' burdens, something a true fiscal conservative would jump at the chance to bring about. But you're not a true fiscal conservative, you're a mouthpiece for the 1%:

The point is that businesses would have to come up with the extra money one way or the other, an obvious means being to lay people off, usually the less skilled sometimes replaceable by technology. The fired then don’t get the experience leading to better jobs in the future and won’t wish liberals a place in heaven.

As you can see, Ambrose goes out of his way to ignore the massive profits being raked in by said 1%, profits that are often squandered via risky exotic investment gambits. Or funneled into offshore accounts to shield them from taxes. Whatever the case, those profits are "off limits" when it comes to pundits like Ambrose. It's as if they don't exist, which feeds the false narrative that corporations are putting profits back into their operation and still barely making ends meet. Which is a monumental farce.

But never mind. Right now, as you might have noticed, we’ve got a bunch of Democrats running in a primary that they hope will advance their cause of White House residence. On this issue, they could opt for a lower minimum wage to help reduce the negatives, but at least 19 of the candidates like $15. An argument is that the current minimum wage has been squatting in a corner for years while wages in general have been stagnant. Some would have you know it’s all because of the greedy rich exploiting workers with Republican aid.

Nope. A Republican named President Donald Trump has raised wages, with unemployment rates reaching historic lows even as cheers of halleluiah fail to reach Democratic ears. Trump’s tool was not governmental impositions making businesses seek a place to hide, but deregulation and tax reform. The economic system was free at last, or headed that way, and corporations expanded and created jobs.

No, they didn't. The bulk of Trump's Trillion-dollar corporate tax giveaway was used by executives and board members to buy back their stocks, setting the stage for a payday like no other in the past. Because that's what they do, it's all they care about. Drop $400 million to re-purchase stocks you previously sold, and when that increased activity drives up the stock price, sell that shit again and make another bundle.

And you're telling us our country can't afford a $15 minimum wage? Go sell that rubbish to some 4th graders, but don't be surprised when they run you out of the room.