Do they really believe their own spin?

I was in Raleigh this week to testify before the NC House Insurance Committee against the insurance exchange bill, but I figured while I was there I could visit my state representative, Tim Moffitt, a Republican. I had e-mailed him last week to tell him the 39,000 people who just lost their unemployment benefits aren’t going to blame Gov. Bev Perdue for their loss.

I know he reads my e-mails and he usually responds, and I appreciate that, and I appreciate that me makes time to see me when I’m in town. Naturally, we started the visit with a discussion of unemployment benefits.

He went into an explanation of how unemployment insurance is funded and how much it costs businesses. He mentioned that he hasn’t drawn a paycheck from his own business in awhile and is living off savings.

Well, most of the 39,000 who just lost their unemployment benefits don’t have much money to dip into. They’re screwed. But he thinks the agencies and people in the state need to know what the budget will look like so they can plan, and that the move to connect unemployment benefits to the Republic budget proposal was appropriate.

That’s the party line on this: What if the budget negotiations drag on and on? Don’t agencies and businesses that receive state money deserve to know what they’re getting so they can plan? Of course people aren’t going to blame the Republicans for the veto of a jobless benefits extension.

Well, Tim, you and your fellow Republican lawmakers need to listen. The NC Issues Poll, conducted by the NC Justice Center, shows that people in the state overwhelmingly blame the Republican majority, not the governor, for the cutoff of unemployment benefits. The poll showed that 65 percent of North Carolinians support the governor, and they want the Legislature to vote on a 20-week extension by itself.

Rather than cutting taxes and laying off hundreds of teachers’ aides, 66 percent of those polled want to see the aides kept on in our schools; 57 percent want to save the funding for the state’s university system; 61 percent want to make sure students in community colleges stay eligible for low-interest student loans and 84 percent do not want to allow interest rates on consumer loans to be raised.

Republicans ignore all this at their own peril. People across the country are seeing the truth about what the party is doing to the middle class, and they’re not happy. Four recall campaigns in Wisconsin have gathered the signatures they need to hold elections. People in other states will follow.

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