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Closed Doors(Cross-posted from the Action NC blog)

To those following both the ongoing negotiations of the Congressional “Supercommittee” in Washington and the incredibly protracted session of the NC General Assembly, there is one tie that binds: secrecy.

No one, outside of the select few in power, have any idea what the heck is going on.

For example, the deficit reduction negations that have apparently been progressing for months in order to trim our national debt by over a trillion dollars haven’t been generating much press. Unless you’ve been looking really hard, you probably haven’t seen or heard much about their progress (or lack thereof) because all of negotiations have been done behind closed doors. This weekend, Congressional leaders met with members of the deadlocked committee in order to facilitate an ending, but guess how they did it? Behind closed doors.

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North Carolinians are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, but a new report from the NC Budget & Tax Center shows that the recent federal debt deal threatens to make things worse by weakening efforts to improve education and worker retraining; cutting back on research for innovation and growth; allowing our roads, bridges, and schools to continue deteriorating; and reducing access to health services.

To make matters worse, the deal ignored the country’s highest priority by neglecting to include any efforts to put people back to work, even at a time when interest rates are so low that investors will actually pay the federal government to hold onto their money.

The first round of $750 billion in cuts will fall hard on North Carolina’s public schools, economy, and military communities. Roughly half of these cuts will hit federal domestic investment spending, one-third of which flows through state governments into local communities to support public schools, workforce development, law enforcement, health and human services, and infrastructure. The other half (at least for the first two years) will hit spending on national security, mostly the military, which is a critical part of many North Carolina communities and their local economies. Read More