Anti-same sex marriage “economist” to bash Medicaid expansion in NC

Out-of-state activist J. Scott Moody will be making the rounds on Monday in North Carolina to say that expanding Medicaid will hurt our economy.

Moody is from a South Carolina outfit called State Budget Solutions and he travels the country speaking out against policies disfavored by conservatives. His schtick is releasing cut-and-paste reports showing the economic harm done by the programs he opposes.

For example, in 2012 he lit off to New Hampshire to warn that allowing same sex marriage in that state would result in economic devastation and a “demographic winter.” You have to read the entire news article of his visit to capture his arguments in all of their glory, but this is one of my favorite parts:

Also, according to Moody, when same-sex couples adopt, they place the child in a situation where one or both of their parents isn’t their biological parent. However, according to Moody, statistics have shown that a relationship with a stepparent is not the same as a relationship with a biological parent and stepparents tend to not have the same bond or pay the same attention as the biological parent. Moody did not provide charts or actual sources for this claim.

These days Moody is taking a break from attacking adoptive parents and is focusing on Medicaid expansion. Moody has made presentations in several states and published opinion pieces arguing that an expansion of the public sector will crowd out private sector spending. This analysis is about as sophisticated as his arguments that gay marriage will destroy the economy and that stepparents don’t pay attention to their children.

Actual economists have responded to Moody everywhere he has spoken to point out that he is wrong. A good example is from Dr. Sven Wilson at BYU when Moody visited Utah to warn them of the dangers of federal funds flowing to the state. Again, you should read the entire piece but here’s a taste of Wilson’s response:

Many economists argue that spending on Healthy Utah will further expand the economy by generating new jobs and new private spending as the money works its way through the economy. Economists call this effect a multiplier. As a conservative, free-market economist, I think multipliers are generally small. But no serious economist of any political stripe thinks the multiplier is negative, which is what Moody is suggesting.

Imagine someone saying that when tourists spend their money in our state, their purchases end up costing us jobs and hurting our economy. Who would believe that? But that is exactly the argument Moody is making about Healthy Utah.

Luckily, we already have a study on the economic impacts of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina using respected REMI models. That study concludes that expansion will grow our economy, create 43,000 jobs, and provide much needed revenue to county and state budgets. It will also provide affordable coverage to 500,000 North Carolinians and bolster rural health care in the state. States that have already expanded coverage, like Kentucky, are seeing these positive economic predictions realized.

We aren’t seeing the winter Moody predicted in 2012. Instead the economy keeps heating up despite gay marriage sweeping the nation. I suspect we will see similar results as more states expand insurance coverage.



House Education Week Kicks off with Superintendents’ Concerns

This morning, state lawmakers heard from school superintendents across North Carolina who came to voice their concerns about budget cuts, merit pay, vouchers and digital learning, among other issues facing public schools.

Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Ed Pruden opened the dialogue with the declaration that vouchers and education tax credits are the single greatest threat to our public schools. Publicly funded private schools, he contends, would be positioned to pick and choose the students that will perform the best and create a two tier, segregated school system that turns its back on 70 years of progress in North Carolina. Read more


The real winner last night in North Carolina

Pat McCrory may be North Carolina’s Governor-elect and a  hyper-gerrymandered legislature may be solidly in conservative hands, but there was one man who was the biggest winner in the state last night and his name is Art Pope.

The chain store magnate and failed politician of the last century has clearly become the single most powerful figure in the North Carolina political world of the early 21st Century. Through the steady application of boatloads of cash and an incessant drumbeat of fear-based messaging from a multi-tentacled propaganda machine, Pope has emerged as the state’s de facto boss.  Read more


Good news, if a tad late

Reporter Craig Jarvis of Raleigh’s News & Observer tweeted this afternoon that House Speaker Thom Tillis referred the indictment of Rep. Stephen LaRoque to the House Ethics Committee this morning.

This certainly sounds like an appropriate action and at least a first step in dealing with the scandal.

As this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing detailed, however, a) it’s been a long, darn time in coming, and b) there would appear to be a lot more to be done. Let’s hope more action is in the offing.



Fitzsimon File: Monday numbers

(Please note: The main NC Policy Watch website — the usual home for the Fitzsimon File – is down temporarily this morning for a very brief repair so today we’re cross-posting Chris’ regular “Monday Numbers” here on The Progressive Pulse.  The main PW site will be back up very shortly).  

Editors note: This morning’s Fitzsimon File cross-posted from the main NC Policy Watch website.

11,802—increase in the number of students expected to enroll in North Carolina public schools in the 2012-2013 school year (N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

189 million—amount in dollars of the reduction of total funding for public schools in the 2012-2013 budget approved by the House and Senate last week (“New math on school budget,”,  June 21, 2012)

3.042—number of teachers and teacher assistant jobs lost in the 2011-2012 school year as a result of the budget passed by the 2011 General Assembly (N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

3,400—number of teacher jobs at risk for 2012-2013 school year as a result of the $189 million cut in overall education funding (“Fact Check; the forgotten budget,:, June 22, 2012)

1,440,212—number of students enrolled in public schools at start of 2009-2010 academic year (N.C. Department of Public Instruction) Read more