Gene Nichol, professor of law at UNC-Chapel Hill and director of the university’s Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity puts on his fear-monger hat in this article published in the N&O. Just have a look at a few of Mr. Nichol’s quotes:
Gigantic cuts, nearing $2 billion, are in store for education and social services. Thousands and thousands of job cuts in public schools, community colleges and universities. Deep rescissions, or worse, for Smart Start and More at Four. Millions removed from need-based financial aid. Astonishing instructional cutbacks.
Massive reductions for over a million Medicaid and mental health care recipients. The back of the hand for unemployment insurance. Elimination of essential personnel in an already strapped judicial system. Total estimated job losses are said to exceed 26,000. Our teetering economic recovery will receive a daunting body blow.
Enough of school teachers draining our resources. Enough of the luxuriant life on unemployment insurance. We’ve had plenty of paying for mental health services; even if the federal government’s after us.
We’ve led the way in early childhood development. But these kids chose to be born at the wrong time. Too bad their educational careers were launched at a time when we decided we wouldn’t invest in our children.
What is the pretext for Nichol’s description of this coming apocolypse? The N.C. House budget proposal that would only increase state spending by 82% over the last 15 years. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the rapidly rising amount of federal dollars the state collects and dispurses on countless programs.
For a little context, let’s re-apply Nichols comments to, say, a 30-year period of state spending in NC leading up to the recession:
cutsincreases, nearing $2 billion,at a rate three times population growth – even after adjusting for inflation, are in storewere implemented for education and social services. Thousands and thousands of job cuts in public schools, community colleges and universitiessmall businesses across the state to finance the spending spree. Deep rescissions, or worse,Rapid expansions for unproven and highly politicized programs like Smart Start and More at Four. Millions removed from need-based financial aidthe private, productive sector of our economy, worsening job growth and our standard of living. Astonishing instructional cutbacksgrowth in the size and scope of state government.
reductions for over a millionand unsustainable increases to Medicaid and mental health care recipients. The back of the hand for unemployment insurancetaxpayers. Elimination of essential personneljob opportunities in an already struggling economy strapped judicial system. Total estimated job losses are said to exceed 26,000of nearly 50,000 in the depressed private sector from 2001 to 2009, while state government added nearly 35,000 workers. Our teetering economic recovery willfreedom receiving a daunting body blow.
Context is everything.