Please, No More Republican "Recovery"

I was just browsing NC Policy Watch's website and came across this study by the NC Budget & Tax Center (PDF). I'll post a few facts and figures below the fold, but the quick summary is that North Carolinians aren't getting any richer while the world around us gets more expensive.

  • Half of all NC full time workers in 2000 made less than $24,246. Half of all NC full time workers in 2004 made less than... $24,246.
  • What would you do with $2,800? Don't think too hard, because chances are you don't have it to spare. The median household income fell $2,806 between 2000 and 2004. That's a drop from 91.4% of the national average to 88.5%. I guess our $2,800 is off in some other state.
  • The percentage of North Carolinians living in poverty rose from 13.2 to 15.1 between 2000 and 2004. 15.1% is about one in every seven people. With about 8 million people living in the state, 15.1% is about 1.2 million people. By comparison, the entire combined population of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point is about 1.3 million people.
  • 14.9% of families with children under the age of five years lived in poverty in 2000. In 2004 it was 21.2%. One of every five children under the age of 18 lives in poverty.
  • 14.1% of North Carolinians had no health insurance in 2000. By 2004, another 2.4% joined that group.
  • The average man in North Carolina earns less than his counterparts in each of the other southeastern states; the average woman fares better than only those in West Virginia and South Carolina.

There is also data suggesting that Raleigh is doing unusually well, with a median household income near $50,000. On the whole, however, North Carolinians are worse off than they were in 2000, and "the data suggest that recent trends are not temporary ones caused by the last recession." What does all this mean? I'm no economist, but it seems to me that in times like these, we desperately need a government that is tuned in to the concerns of the working class. The rich, I'm sure, will take care of themselves.

Unhinged Indeed!

After James's rant I was well reminded of why we must do better in 2006 and 2008, but I also needed something to break the tension. I found the comic relief I needed in a reactionary conservative essay on the topic of elementary school classroom supplies that, in fewer than 1,000 words, invokes Al Gore, Terri Schiavo, the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. New London, bolshevism, and brainwashing. The author manages to slip some advocacy of violence against teachers in there as well.

Dear Voter: Your Services are No Longer Required

Remember that naked power grab by NC's Republican US House members I warned you about? You know, the one where they circumvent the democratic process because they don't like the decisions we North Carolinians came up with on our own?

Five of North Carolina's seven Republican members of Congress want to cut off federal highway money to their state unless it makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses.

Possible Formidable Challenger for Foxx

Vietnam veteran, three-term state house member, 10-year state senator, and 4-year state senate president Ted Kaplan is exploring a possible bid against one our favorite Republicans, Virginia Foxx. Kaplan spoke last night to advocate reduced health-care costs, clean air, clean water, bringing troops out of Iraq, education, job creation, and making American businesses competitive in the national market. Article here.

It is important to run a credible candidate in every district. Especially in '06 where more incumbents will be vulnerable than typical.

Executions VI: McHone Execution Stayed

Judge Andy Cromer on the North Carolina Superior Court has ordered that Steven McHone's execution scheduled for Friday be stayed until he considers new evidence from a paramedic that heard his mother's dying words asking for forgiveness for her son, who had just shot her. Judge Cromer's statement before issuing the order was:

"Someone unconnected to the family, the paramedic has been living with the last words of Mildred (Adams). From a perspective of how I am to review all of this. it's almost simply that. What effect does something that was not connected to the family have on the jury?"


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