Republican Policies Have Left North Carolina’s Economy Sputtering and Jobless

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In Pope we trust

The latest job stats from the Koch Republic of Pope add yet more data to the already massive proof that Republican policies kill jobs.

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Republicans have control over the legislature and the governor’s mansion, thanks to Art Pope.  They’ve been ramming though the Tea Party agenda on everything from voting rights, and reproductive rights   to economic policies  - often with little or no debate. For example, their tax reform bill was introduced Monday, was passed by both houses and was on the Governor’s desk on Wednesday.  Debate on this bill that reverses 80 years of tax policy in North Carolina got a whopping 25 minutes of debate before initial passage in NC’s Senate. Their first attempt to shut down most of North Carolina’s reproductive health facilities was passed by both houses in a Sharia law bill within 24 hours vetoed, passed again, this time in a bill regulating motorcycles and signed by the Governor within 8 days.

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If nothing else, this contradicts the “government is bad” mantra Republicans trot out every time they obstruct laws in D.C.  They seem rather fond of government and can pass laws very quickly when the introduced in the middle of the night, they don’t bother to let critics know about proposed laws until the last minute and limit debate on major laws.

Republicans insist that their policies provide corporations with an incentive to create jobs. Why are fewer people working in North Carolina? The number of employed people fell by 10,598 last month alone according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the stats, North Carolina’s labor force was comprised of 4,766,300 people in January. Last month, North Carolina’s labor force consisted of  4,709,300 people. During that time frame, Republicans proposed a constitutional amendment aside from the already existing right to work  for less law.  They passed the strictest restrictions on unemployment benefits  in the country, provided corporations with financial incentives  or bribes and reduced corporate taxes  to create jobs in North Carolina.

Earlier this week, the Republican controlled legislature introduced and passed a major restructuring of NC’s tax code  in both Houses within 2 days, with virtually no debate on this major law.

All of these very Republican “pro-business” policies weren’t enough incentive for The House of Raeford  which announced earlier this week that it would close  its Hoke County plant at the end of this month increasing the number of unemployed North Carolinians by 950.  It doesn’t look like corporations based in other parts of the country are looking for a space on North Carolina’s job creation dance card either.

Despite policies that Republicans claim create jobs, North Carolina’s labor force keeps shrinking  and the state has the fifth highest unemployment rate  in the country.  So what are we to make of ever shrinking labor force and stats that suggest a lower unemployment rate?  The one thing that Republicans in North Carolina did accomplish is a lower unemployment rate this year than for the same time last year and an overall downward trend in the unemployment rate over the past several months.

Of course, when combined with the fact that North Carolina’s labor force is shrinking, the reduced unemployment rate doesn’t mean there are fewer unemployed North Carolinians.  It only means that North Carolina’s unemployed are giving up on finding work.  That’s hardly an endorsement of the Republican theory on job creation. Not only do Republican policies in North Carolina mean people will work for less, there is also less work. So again, Republicans where are the jobs?

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