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Most of the blame for the decision by legislative leaders to slam the door again in the face of the survivors of the state’s horrific eugenics program has been placed on Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. And he deserves a lot of it. 

Berger said there was not enough support in the Senate to include the $11 million for compensation for the eugenics victims in the final version of the budget.  But it didn’t appear he was too thrilled about the idea either, or he could have made sure it was part of the final agreement.

But part of this is the fault of House Speaker Thom Tillis too. Tillis certainly deserves credit for championing the issue and even taking to the House floor to speak out for it, an unusual thing for a House Speaker to do.  But compensation for the victims must never have been his top priority, his must-have provision in final budget negotiations.

Berger made education reform his crusade this session. He sponsored the bill, he spoke out for it on the floor of the Senate and in committees. And most of his reform package, ill-advised as it may be, made it into the final budget agreement. 

Tillis made eugenics compensation his crusade and spoke out for it on the House floor, but it never apparently rose to the level of something that he was willing to hold up the budget over, a non-negotiable item the way Berger’s education reform plan seemed to be.

Maybe Tillis’ influence was weakened by the scandals in his office. Maybe his admirable support for compensation puts him in the minority of his own party. Almost half of House Republicans voted against it on the floor after all.

Whatever the reason, several thousand living victims of the eugenics program have again been denied any compensation for the physical and emotional abuse the state of North Carolina inflicted on them.

There is no excuse for that, especially not in a $20 billion budget that finds money for private cooking schools and tax cuts for millionaires.

4 Comments

  1. david esmay

    June 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Want to join the NC GOP? Leave your conscience at the door. That goes for your morals, ethics, and sense of social responsibility as well.

  2. Alex

    June 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Why do we think a few thousand dollars can clear our conscience for a stupid government action ? We’d be paying folks all the time if we tried to make amends for every dumb thing the government does !

  3. Jack

    June 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    We think that because its the American way. If you haven’t caught on to that yet then it’s time you woke up to the fact.

    When the private sector went belly what did we do? We gave all the too big to fail bonehead financial bigwigs all our tax dollars to bail them out.

    IT’S WHAT WE DO!!!!!!!

  4. Frank Burns

    June 23, 2012 at 6:54 am

    This is what happens when we have an activist government which many of us resist. Government activism created this eugenics program thinking that it was the humane thing to do. So now activist government wants us to pay for it all over again thinking that it is the humane thing to do. Alex is right on target with his remarks. We need to reign in government abuses in our lives. They hurt our productivities, increase costs and as we see with the eugenics program intrude in our lives.

    Let this be a lesson to those on this forum who advocate increased government activities.