Inequality - long termThe good people at Inequality.org and the online publication Too Much do a great job each week of documenting America’s one-sided class warfare and the fast-mushrooming gap between the haves and have nots. If you’re not already a subscriber to their updates, click here to get signed up.

The graphic at left was featured in the most recent edition of Too Much and paints a remarkable picture of where the market fundamentalists appear bent on taking the country in the years to come.

Note: You might want to make sure that anyone you share it with this evening has a cold beverage close by to ease the pain.

 

 

 

This week marks the 79th anniversary of Social Security, and the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans is marking the occasion with a new report on the economic impact of those benefits in our state.

Here are ten quick facts from that report, Social Security Works for North Carolina.

• Social Security provided benefits to 1,907,394 North Carolinians in 2013, 1 in 5 (19.4 percent) residents.

• North Carolinians received Social Security benefits totaling $26.6 billion in 2013, an amount equivalent to 7 percent of the state’s total personal income.

• The average Social Security benefit in North Carolina was $13,950 in 2013.SS-79

• Social Security lifted 810,000 North Carolinians out of poverty in 2012.

• Social Security provided benefits to 1,255,185 North Carolina retired workers in 2013, two-thirds (65.8 percent) of beneficiaries.

• The typical benefit received by a retired worker in North Carolina was $15,179 in 2013.

• Social Security lifted 559,000 North Carolinians aged 65 or older out of poverty in 2012.

• Without Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in North Carolina would have increased from 1 in 9 (10.4 percent) to half (52.6 percent) [Figure 2].

• Social Security provided disability benefits to 332,799 North Carolina workers in 2013, 1 in 6 (17.4 percent) North Carolina beneficiaries [Figure 1].

• Social Security is more important to North Carolinians living in rural or non-metropolitan counties than to North Carolinians living in metropolitan counties. One-quarter (24.2 percent) of rural North Carolinians received Social Security in 2012, compared with 1 in 6 (18.2 percent) metropolitan North Carolinians.

trackingCuts-web-600Members of the Scotland County Schools Board of Education voted on Monday to cut teacher assistants’ hours to 88 percent for the upcoming school year as a way to save jobs while coping with state budget reductions.

To keep teacher assistants working 100 percent of the time, the county would have to deplete a large chunk of its fund balance. Cutting hours allows TAs to keep their jobs while enabling the county to avoid gutting its savings.

State lawmakers enacted a budget this summer that cuts teacher assistant funding by 22 percent, according to N.C. Department of Instruction CFO Philip Price.

That cut comes on top of years of funding cuts to TAs. In Scotland County last year, the district had to eliminate 44 teacher assistant positions, which included 25 layoffs.

Earlier this summer, Gov. Pat McCrory pushed back hard on Senate lawmakers’ wish to gut funding for teacher assistants, insisting he wouldn’t sign a budget that slashes TA jobs.

In the end, McCrory signed the budget last week and said he was happy to do it because it preserves all TA positions — yet many local districts are already reporting that they must cut teacher assistant jobs thanks to the budget he signed.

But just days after the budget was signed into law, I reported that McCrory is working with the school superintendents’ association to come up with a budget fix that would allow school districts to hold onto their TAs (see my story here).

Scotland County is coping with other education cuts handed down to them by the state lawmakers, which include:

  • $40,000 cut in state funding for at-risk students;
  • $38,000 cut in state funding for digital learning; and
  • $117,000 cut in state funding for driver’s education

Ian MillhiserSeats are going fast for next week’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation – “The state of the U.S. Supreme Court with Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress.”

Where do things stand in the after math of the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision? What’s is on the Supreme Court docket for the fall? What can progressives do help repopulate the courts with fair and qualified judges?

Join us as we pose these questions and others to Ian Millhiser. Millhiser is the Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst for the Center for American Progress and the Justice Editor for the Center for American Progress Action Fund. His work focuses on the Constitution and the judiciary. Ian previously was a Policy Analyst and Blogger for ThinkProgress, held the open government portfolio for CAP’s Doing What Works project, and was a Legal Research Analyst with ThinkProgress during the nomination and confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from this knowledgeable and important voice at this important time.

Click here to register

When: Thursday, August 21 at 12 noon – Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: *(NOTE—NEW LOCATION)* The North Carolina Association of Educators Building, 700 S. Salisbury St. in Raleigh. This location features on-site parking.

Cost: $10

Admission includes a box lunch.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com.