NC Today: More entertaining than reality TV without paying film tax incentives

Published June 6, 2014

By Tom Campbell

by Tom Campbell, Executive Producer and Moderator, NC SPIN, June 5, 2014.

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates are following our state’s current events with interest and no small measure of amusement.

Ironic so many Republicans don’t believe in climate change since they brought about the biggest political climate change since the 1898 race riots in Wilmington. The 2013 upheaval is continuing in this short legislative session, as evidenced by the Senate budget. These “Grumpy Old Men” - ok, there are 5 women in the 33-member GOP Senate caucus- appear just plain unhappy but, to their credit, they truly believe what they are doing is right.

Education, especially the Common type, is the core of their unhappiness. They are unhappy that children can’t read, that our test scores aren’t better and we aren’t graduating students with the skills needed in the workplace, which makes it hard to understand why are they willing to throw out a more rigorous and uniform curriculum in favor of letting the same bunch that designed the last benchmarks do so again. Their carrot-and-stick teacher pay plan takes direct aim at NCAE and teacher tenure. And even though they appoint half the governing board they aren’t happy with the UNC System.

But they are apoplectic about Medicaid. The mention of DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos ignites a tirade and they apparently dislike hospitals and Community Care North Carolina (CCNC) almost as much. Their angst is so great they would take Medicaid away from Wos’ DHHS and transfer it to a new state agency they haven’t created yet, sunset the contract with CCNC and throw granny out on the curb by eliminating payments to the aged, blind, disabled and medically needy.

With Republicans having veto-proof majorities in the Senate and House and one of their own party in the Governor’s mansion you would think every day would be sweet tea and cookies. But Senate leadership barely tolerates Republican Governor Pat McCrory because he acts like he’s some kind of big deal in North Carolina. The disdain for the House, always somewhat evident, is almost as great.

Last week after secretive closed-door caucus meetings the Senate dropped the “B” bomb, their budget. House leaders were surprised and angry when they saw it. Next week the gloves will come off when the House passes their budget and differences become evident. Resolving them could look like a made-for-cable mud-wrestling contest as the Governor, the House and the Senate wallow around and spread their grumpiness, among other stuff.

Don’t count on significant Medicaid reform this session. It will be sacrificed to reach a budget deal. Lawmakers are boxed into teacher pay increases but how much and how it will be paid remain in doubt. They will deal with vouchers, Common Core, privatizing economic development and other significant legislation before balancing the budget with more spending cuts and adjourning, probably in mid-July.

Where are the Democrats? Their response is mostly limited to whining and gathering on Mondays at the legislative building to complain and get arrested.

Things aren’t likely to change much unless or until some positive leadership rises from the rubble that is the Democratic Party. When and only when voters, especially the unaffiliated 26 percent, see some responsible and specific alternatives to current issues and leaders they might vote for change at the ballot box, despite gerrymandered voting districts.

Meanwhile the entertainment is cheaper than reality TV and we don’t have to pay out film tax incentives.

June 6, 2014 at 11:02 am
Mike Armstrong says:

Though I enjoy your columns, I believe you are being overly generous by describing yourself as a "moderate"" As an unaffiliated voter, unhappy with the present lengislature, one can understand their dilemma, .after reading your criticisms. The "carrot and stick" approach to the policy of teacher pay and tenure elimination is necessary because of judicial activism , You cannot decry their reliance on the same hands while critizizing their efforts at reform.

You imply that there are not enough women involved in the process. Let's be honest. women, because of their God-given instincts for nurturing and training tend to be more inclined to spend than save or earn. Therefore, we can afford their participation in government more during times of prosperity and abundance. May I suggest that we just might have the right number for pur present economic condition.

Is your -moderate" solution to the Medicare mess simply to keep pouring money we don't have down the same hole ... Or are you recommending that we simply turn the whole thing over to the Federal government, which has even less money. Medicare is not a paid-for program. it doesn't help a person up but perpetuates a system of bondage that should Spurn a moderate into action.

And, finally, is a moderate someone who cannot make up their mind or someone who wants the best of two conflicting worlds. I suspect that it is a little bit of both. Most "unaffiliated" voters are not moderates, They are very opinionated and don't like the choices offered by that corrupt electoral system you have identified.

June 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm
Norm Kelly says:

I'd like to clarify something. Admittedly I have not spoken with ALL Republicans. However, those I have talked to, including myself, and those I've seen on TV and heard on the radio are being lied about by people who are 'moderate' and liberal. I know. No one is surprised that libs are lying about Republicans. Let's face it, it comes naturally to libs on just about every topic and never ceases when discussing Republicans.

BUT the lie this time is about global climate change. It's not that Republicans don't believe that global climate change exists. Historically, the earth's climate has changed dramatically over the eons. So only a stupid person would claim global climate change doesn't exist. The question is How Much Of Today's Global Climate Change is Man Made? How much do WE have an influence on it?

Libs claim it's all man-made. This is simply one of the most idiotic beliefs one could hold. The only reason libs want us to believe that it's ALL man-made is so they can control more of our daily lives and steal more money from the private sector to control in Washington. No other reason. When libs are involved, follow the money is definitely the rule.

But one thing libs can't explain and never even try: all the other times when the climate changed dramatically/sharply, man didn't exist for many of them, so how did it happen if it's us doing it now? Why is it libs refuse to recognize that the climate has changed so much when people didn't exist? What part of this story do libs expect thinking people to ignore?

Sorry. I learned how to think when I attended school - prior to Common Core. Thinking tells me that if climate changed when man didn't exist, it will happen again. Can we have AN EFFECT on the climate? Yes. Have we changed things over the last number of decades? Yes. But libs refuse to recognize this. Will Obama's new plan to cause the price of electricity to skyrocket have ANY effect on global climate change? Will Obama's ludicrous plan have ANY other effect on ANYTHING other than causing my back pocket to be lighter? No. This is simply the way it is. But since it's true, no lib will admit it. And the majority will suffer because libs have too much power already. Couldn't get cap&trade through Congress, so he's doing the dictator thing again. No common sense.

June 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm
Vicki Boyer says:

Wow, Mike. Women don't 'earn' or 'save.' Perhaps because they are paid less than men.