Is there a doctor in the house? Liberals are increasingly showing signs of memory loss all around the state and I just hope it is not contagious. In Sunday’s News & Observer the editorial board claimed that the GOP’s argument of tax cuts causing economic growth was a myth. On Thursday, the Democratic party claimed the latest attempt at tax reform was the GOP’s attempt to rehash “…the same tired trickle-down economics that gave us years of sluggish growth under Gov. (Pat) McCrory.” I’m seriously starting to get concerned for the Democrats.
Let’s begin with the second claim since that is the easiest to debunk. The current Democrat state chair is Wayne Goodwin. For the last decade, he has been the state insurance commissioner until getting booted from office by republican Mike Causey. Being the state insurance commissioner under ObamaCare I’m sure was quite confusing. A democrat President with a democrat congress passed a bill that gave the government complete control over the insurance marketplace. Goodwin, like most democrats, was probably convinced this would lower prices and increase options. This, of course, was the opposite of what happened. North Carolina saw double-digit increases almost every year. If your only metric for economic growth was the insurance marketplace you would probably conclude that things were pretty bad. Therefore, you can almost excuse Goodwin’s stupidity on the “sluggish growth under Gov McCrory.” Almost.
Under Governor Pat McCrory and the GOP legislature, North Carolina lead the country in economic growth. That was backed up by Politifact during last year’s election…
And on that, McCrory is right that North Carolina is No. 1. Between the first quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2015 (the most recent data we have), no state’s economic output grew as fast as North Carolina’s 13.4 percent rate.
Florida and California came close, at 13.3 and 13.2 percent GDP growth, respectively. The average for both the Southeast and the United States as a whole was 9.9 percent.
Democrats can make a lot of arguments against the former Republican governor. However, claiming the state saw “sluggish growth” is not one of them.
With regards to the second claim, it might be less obvious, but it is still just as foolish. The democrats (aka the editorial board at the N&O) are correct that wage growth has been stalled. However, the argument that this has been caused by tax cuts and reduced spending is preposterous. I don’t have the time to discuss the economic factors currently at play nationally that are hurting the normal growth of jobs and wages. However, it is easy to debunk the claim that the GOP’s spending cuts have hurt wage growth. Just look at the country overall. According to the Triangle Business Journal, wage growth last year in North Carolina has been outperforming all but two states…
The report, released today, stated that the inflation-adjusted wages of employees in the Tar Heel State increased 4.4%, trailing only Delaware and Connecticut, which posted increases of 7.8% and 4.9%, respectively. That compares to a non-seasonally adjusted national earnings increase of 1.4%.
To be fair, the actual concern with wage growth is not that it is not happening, but it is only going to the top income earners. The editorial board argues if the GOP had only taxed the rich more than our problems would be solved. This makes no sense. Governor Cooper and the democrat’s proposals have included paying teachers more, giving state employees raises, giving taxpayer money to green energy companies, and writing checks to movie studios. Increasing teacher and state employee salaries will be great if you are one of those 200,000 people but what about the other 9.8 million people in the state? The movie industry is on the decline and green energy’s reliance on government checks does not make our investment in these industries seem very smart.
It is true that tax cuts and deregulation alone won’t spur economic growth to all people across the spectrum. However, teacher raises and checks for billion dollar film studios does absolutely nothing. The reality is a combination of the two, kind of. We need tax cuts and deregulation to get companies producing. However, to produce they need employees. With all the talk about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the country, many people are surprised to hear that currently there is a 15 year high of job openings in the manufacturing industry. Most other reports show as many as 6 million jobs going unfilled nationwide because there aren’t any employees with the skills necessary to fill them. The democrats are correct that we do need to increase education funding. Where they get wrong is where that money should go. That money should be going to job training programs at local community colleges. Not teacher raises or fine arts buildings.
The economic recovery has been nothing short of a miracle. We have grown the economy while paying off debt and saving money. Usually, that is an impossible feat. However, even the best miracles can’t help everyone. A lot of North Carolinians are struggling and we need to help them through partnerships involving both the public and private sector. What we don’t need is one side the aisle corrupting facts and outright lying to the people of North Carolina for political gain. Luckily for us, the GOP is still in the driver seat with their veto-proof majority. Based on recent arguments I think the democrats forgot that.