- A new coalition highlights what the Left really wants for North Carolina
- Their extreme ideas have the backing of deep-pocketed and influential groups
- The agenda, if implemented, would bring more crime, civil unrest and economic ruin
A new coalition of left-wing groups in North Carolina has garnered more than 200 members. Its radical agenda should terrify anyone who values freedom, the rule of law, common sense, and economic security.
- a “push for everyone to be released” from prisons and jails
- refuse to honor ICE detainers
- expand Medicaid to illegal immigrants
- a waiver for all tenants from rent and utilities
- providing a permanent universal basic income of $1,200/mo. to all residents (regardless of age) – including illegal immigrants
- elimination of right to work laws, which would take away many workers’ choice to join or not join a union
- massive tax increases, and
- online voter registration with mail-in voting with no witness requirement
The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), Durham Democratic Party, William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign, North Carolina AFL-CIO, and Democracy NC, among many others, have all signed on to NCUSB’s agenda.
In April the group garnered some media attention from WRAL after its protests of Senate leader Phil Berger. The article glossed over the group’s radical agenda with the vague and inoffensive description of “addressing inequality.”
A description of the group’s full list of demands can be found here, along with a list of supporting member organizations.
Should these demands become reality, the impact would be absolutely stunning.
Imagine releasing more than 33,000 prison inmates into your communities, many of which are convicted murderers and rapists. Recall, NCUSB’s agenda includes a call to release “all” prisoners. Without prison as a deterrent, what’s to keep them from repeat offenses? The havoc that these violent criminals would wreak could be incalculable. New York and other large cities have done similar actions to try to deal with the Covid pandemic and look at how their crime rates have spiked.
With an estimated 325,000 illegal immigrants in the state, and Medicaid expenditures of roughly $360 per enrollee per month ($4,320 per year), extending Medicaid expansion to illegals could cost taxpayers up to $1.4 billion annually, which is more than total annual state appropriations for the UNC System.
Universal Basic Income
The most radical proposal is their Universal Basic Income program, which completely defies reality. The cost of a $1,200/mo. universal basic income for all 10.5 million North Carolinians would be roughly $151 billion, every year. Adding in payments to illegal immigrants would add millions more to the total.
The total cost of UBI — $151 billion — is more than six times the state’s current annual General Fund budget.
For a family of four, for instance, UBI would amount to $57,600 per year, for doing nothing. In this case the UBI figure is nearly $4,000 more than the state’s median household income of $53,855. In other words, many households would receive more income from this program than they would by working.
Of course, such a program would bankrupt the state and cripple our economy, and would surely grow rapidly as more and more people would be drawn to the state by the robust handout.
As stunned as I was that any group would publicly advocate for such an insane policy, I reached out to a representative of the coalition for comment or clarification on this policy, but received none.
Funding this unprecedented ratcheting up of state spending would require the imposition of economy-crushing, job-killing taxes. On this score, NC United for Survival and Beyond is painfully naïve about the devastating levels of tax hikes that would be required.
Corporate Income Tax
Among their recommendations is to increase the corporate income tax rate to 5%, which by their estimates would raise an additional $250 million, not even a rounding error relative to the new spending they propose.
Sales Tax Modernization
NCUSB also advocates for “sales tax modernization,” by broadening the sales tax to more purchases like online transactions and eliminating targeted sales tax exemptions while lowering the tax rates. Presumably, these changes would be largely revenue neutral and raise little to no additional revenue.
Graduated Income Tax and Wealth Tax
Another NCUSB proposal is a graduated income tax and a wealth tax. According to the NC Justice Center, repealing the 2013 tax reforms and re-introducing a graduated income tax code would generate $3.6 billion annually. For sake of argument, we’ll set aside the flaws of this estimate such as the lack of recognizing the negative economic consequences of the tax hike and use this figure.
Regarding taxing wealth, the group explains “Options for taxing wealth include estate and inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes, and mansion taxes.”
What a “mansion tax” implies goes unexplained, but nevertheless; how much could the state hope to collect from these taxes?
- According to the Justice Center, an inheritance tax would generate up to $170 million
- Real estate conveyance tax collected in the current fiscal year produces about $85 million, even if a ‘mansion tax’ miraculously doubled this amount, it would only add another $85 million
- Capital gains are taxed as income, at a flat rate of 5.25%, and the Justice Center estimated in 2015 that the tax generates roughly $500 million per year in revenue. The state with the highest capital gains tax rate is California at 13.3%, about 2.5 times North Carolina’s rate. Using static calculations, if NC increased its capital gains rate by 2.5 times it would generate about $1.25 billion in revenue, an increase of about $750 million (of course, investors would change their behavior in response to the higher tax and as such the tax wouldn’t generate this much revenue, but we can err on the high side for the sake of argument).
Recall that we estimated NCUSB’s demands would add more than $152 billion annually to the state budget. But their recommendations for how to pay for it generate – at best – about $4.85 billion (using unrealistic assumptions to inflate this estimate).
A tax hike of nearly $5 billion alone would mark a historic increase of more than 20 percent in the tax burden on North Carolinians. And it would still come up more than $145 billion short of funding this radical left group’s demands.
For context, total state personal income taxes collected in 2019 were just under $13 billion. The tax rates required to fund NCUSB’s new programs would be more than ten times that amount to pay for their proposed programs. Naturally, there would be very few people left willing to work and pay such exorbitant state tax rates, when they could instead stay home and collect nearly $58,000 per family of four.
Of course there are other problems. Unemployment would skyrocket. Businesses and job creators would flee the state.
Meanwhile, North Carolina would become a magnet for people wanting to take advantage of the state’s generous ‘universal basic income.’ The result would be a very dramatic shrinking of the labor force.
A very small number of working people would be responsible to fund a state budget suddenly more than six times the level of current spending.
No reasonable person believes the state could sustain this. Another $170 billion in expenditures would bankrupt state government in no time and the economy would soon follow.
Joblessness and hopelessness among a significant share of the population combined with tens of thousands of freed criminals would be a perfect recipe for high crime rates and civil unrest.
It could be easy to dismiss the demands of NC United for Survival & Beyond as the radical musings of a harmless, fringe group. But this coalition has the backing of several highly influential and well-financed organizations such as NCAE, AFL-CIO and Democracy NC.
NCUSB reveals what the Left really wants for North Carolina.