I'm a North Carolinian and for the sake of full disclosure a lot of my family resides in NC. My dad owns a small business there.
This week, President Obama is there too, NOT CAMPAIGNING, but talking about himself, and his policies, and how great they are!
But how great are they really, for the Old North State?
Here's a quick rundown:
In today's Daily Caller, Patrick Gleason explains how burdensome energy taxes and regulations from the EPA will hit NC hard: Duke Energy has already raised rates and will do so again in 2012 to "recover those costs from customers."
Okay, higher utility bills… But what about health care? Or education? Although education spending takes up more than half of the state's expenditures, North Carolina's teachers have faced tough times in recent years and cuts are being made. More cuts to education are simply inevitable, given that Obama's signature piece of legislation – ObamaCare – will force NC to add 600,000 more people to our state's Medicaid rolls, at an annual cost of $4 billion. Imagine, he's having to defend ObamaCare to North Carolinians the same week that the CLASS Act is crashing and burning. Citizens of NC know that the Affordable Care Act is a bad law. No amount of patching it will do. Even if we abandon CLASS or repeal the 1099 provision, we're still stuck with a monstrous set of new regulations and taxes. My fellow southerners will know that the idiom applies here: "You can't make chicken salad out of…"
On the other hand, NC teachers might look beyond their draining funds and favor the President anyway, because he's tried to scale back the loathed No Child Left Behind Act. What they may not see is that Obama simply wants to replace NCLB with another set of federal proficiency standards rather than letting the state – or better yet individual educators – decide how and what to teach.
But as Charlotte has pointed out, teachers aren't the only people having a hard time finding and keeping jobs. NC faces an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent (only slightly higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.1). CNS News reports that President Obama, while addressing a crowd at West Wilkes High School, attempted to defend his American Jobs Act this way:
"Somebody asked me… ‘Well, people tell me this is kind of a Republican area, so why would you come here instead of going to where there are a whole lot of Democrats?' Obama said Monday evening at West Wilkes High School in Miller Creek, N.C. "I said, look, this is an American Jobs Act. It's not the Democratic jobs act. It's not the Republican jobs act. It's the American Jobs Act."
My dad's not the only small business owner in the Tar Heel State. In fact, as Gleason also notes, there are more than 825,000 small businesses that file their taxes under the individual income tax codes in NC. That's 825,000 businesses that could see their taxes increase if President Obama had his way. The private sector is ready to run, but facing the threat of higher taxes, the uncertainty surrounding out-of-control federal deficits and debts, and no signs of change… many businesses have put hiring and expansion on hold.
To close, here is the first stanza of the NC state poem. I know it by heart:
Here's to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summertime state where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong, and the strong grow great
Here's to down home, the Old North State.
This poem, and the philosophy it subscribes to – that the weak can grow strong and the strong can grow great – is what North Carolina is all about. And that's going to cause problems for Obama in 2012. Taken together, his policies on energy, health care, education, small business and jobs don't offer a brighter future to anyone. Not in NC, not anywhere.