Here’s is a quick summary of almost every interview Governor Pat McCrory has given to the media in his first six months in office.
Everything in state government is broken, it’s all former Governor Perdue’s fault, and anyone who disagrees with him supports the unacceptable status quo.
Why not join several other conservative Republican governors and expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and provide health care coverage to 500,000 low-income adults in North Carolina?
We can’t McCrory says, because Medicaid is broken, even though most of the current cost overruns were the result of the Republican General Assembly ignoring the predictions from the Perdue Administration that the savings lawmakers were building into the state budget were simply not realistic.
Now McCrory wants to privatize Medicaid and turn it over to for-profit managed care companies even though Community Care of North Carolina—the state’s home grown nonprofit managed care organization—has won national awards for saving money and for the quality of care it provides.
McCrory doesn’t want to expand a program that’s working, he wants to scrap it because his talking point is that Medicaid is broken.
It’s the same for the Department of Commerce—McCrory wants to privatize that too because it is apparently also broken. There’s not a shred of evidence of that, not even a slanted study from a right-wing think tank, but he’s rushing to privatize it anyway despite reports showing similar efforts in other states have created more problems than they have solved.
Most disturbingly, how does McCrory respond to people who are frustrated that he won’t demand a change in the effective date of the state’s new draconian unemployment law to allow 70,000 laid off workers to receive federally-funded emergency unemployment benefits for six more months?
He says that people requesting the change “want to keep the status quo.”
Well not exactly. People just want 70,000 workers and their families to be able to pay their rent and buy groceries while they continue to look for a job.
There are roughly three workers in North Carolina for every position available and the state’s unemployment rate is the fifth highest in the country.
The last unemployment report showed that just 1,000 laid off workers found jobs in May, not exactly a reason for optimism for the 70,000 workers about to lose their lifeline because McCrory would rather rely on talking points instead of common sense and compassion.
McCrory told an interviewer with the High Point Enterprise who asked about changing the effective date for the new law and allowing the workers to receive the emergency benefits that “frankly, Governor Perdue accepted $2.6 billion in debt, which we haven’t paid to the federal government.”
Frankly, Governor McCrory, as much as you’d like it to be true, the debt is not Perdue’s fault. The majority of states accepted money from the federal government because the severity of the Great Recession made it impossible for states to pay all the unemployment claims on their own.
That and all the cuts in the unemployment tax North Carolina businesses received in the 1990s that were supported by state lawmakers in both political parties.
North Carolina could have made the recession even more devastating for hundreds of thousands of families and turned down the federal money from the beginning, but not even many Republicans were demanding that at the time.
The General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year that McCrory signed that would speed up repayment of the unemployment debt to the feds primarily by slashing benefits to workers.
As regressive as that is, the issue now isn’t the details of the new law, it’s when it goes into effect. All advocates for workers are asking of McCrory is to delay the effective date by six months so 70,000 people can have a little more time to find a job.
That doesn’t seem likely because remember—everything is broken, it’s all Perdue’s fault and he doesn’t support the status quo.