One thing I’ve noticed since moving back to Georgia is how many people here spend an inordinate amount of time fretting about North Carolina, and specifically Charlotte. They’re building high-speed rail in North Carolina. They’re building light rail in Charlotte. They’re spending more money on incentives to lure businesses. They just landed the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
(Notice how many of the supposed superiorities in our northern neighbor concern left-wing causes; you don’t hear much about North Carolina leading the way in cutting red tape or privatizing inefficient state-government functions.)
But it seems not every tarheel is sold on the “North Carolina model” we in Georgia are supposed to find so impressive. Behold this speech by one of the top Republicans in the North Carolina Senate, Bob Rucho, as transcribed by the Charlotte Observer:
Here we are in a situation where we’ve got double-digit unemployment. And the reality is that it’s probably close to 17 percent unemployment with people who are either unemployed or underemployed. And yet, last debate, where were you [Democrats]? You just said, ‘We’re going to keep spending! We’re just going to keep putting more money in the pile.’ Because of the fact that, God forbid, we stop spending and make sure that government just doesn’t run at the same level.
“I want you to take responsibility for the way you’ve all led this state in the past 10 to 12 years — because of the fact that you spent us to death. And now when we have to make some tough decisions you’re crying about $75 million, where in reality — how many billions? — $1.7 billion we put in incentives. …
“And you talk about the incentives and how great they were. Well, I’ll tell you what a good incentive is: It’s lowering your tax rates, cut your government spending to a normal level, and allowing businesses to function in the creative environment. And then you’re going to see the jobs. … The reality is, we’ve got to grow our existing businesses. …
“Now, do you take full blame for the recession? No. But you sure aggravated it. You added a billion dollars of new taxes on top of the existing businesses. You punished the people who are working. You made it harder for the businesses to expand and grow — and maybe even survive, for that matter.
A little background: Even with things going so swimmingly in North Carolina — at least according to some people here in Georgia — the state’s voters just saw fit to turn out the majority party (the Democrats) in both chambers of the legislature. It’s the first time the state’s senate has been out of Democratic control since 1870.
And now a few facts that may help explain the political upheaval:
Look, I’m not saying North Carolinians have nothing to be proud of, or that Georgians have all the answers. But neither is the converse true. Let’s leave the great art of poor-mouthing our own team to the football coaches.
– By Kyle Wingfield
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