Déjà Vu All Over Again?

August 13, 2020

Articles have been written recently about leftist groups that are popping up in North Carolina faster than mushrooms after a week of summer rain. 

Civitas’ Brian Balfour has had a laser focus on a New Left coalition called NC United for Survival and Beyond – made up of over 200 liberal organizations from all over the state.  Balfour spelled out the group’s demands and as he says, “its radical agenda should terrify anyone who values freedom, the rule of law, common sense, and economic security.”

Reading those demands and other articles which describe how and who is funding these left-wing groups reminded me of similar demands made several years ago in North Carolina by the Moral Monday crowd that attempted to disrupt operations at the NC General Assembly. I couldn’t help but think “haven’t we heard some of this before?”

You may remember how Rev. William Barber, the Moral Monday maestro, would pump up the crowd with rhetoric and make demands of the legislative leadership.

If you recall, the demonstrators’ requests were hard to pin down. That is, until Senator Phil Berger sent Rev. Barber a letter dated April 2, 2014 asking what specific policy changes Barber and his followers wanted put in place. Barber responded with a list of demands on April 17th that detailed what they wanted with what he called a “14 Point Agenda.”

That’s when it got real. Senator Berger took Barber’s requests and handed them to the NC General Assembly’s non-partisan fiscal staff to review and see how much the protestors’ demands – which included calls for raising taxes, permitting collective bargaining for all government workers, expanding Medicaid, state-subsidized child care for all, and state-provided health insurance for all – would cost the taxpayers of North Carolina.

Fiscal staff came back with a report that the 14 Point Agenda demands would cost taxpayers an additional $7 billion dollars. Another analysis by Civitas estimated the cost of the protestors’ demands could have been even higher – $10 billion in additional taxpayer dollars. A FORBES article that analyzed the situation said “such a tax hike would increase the North Carolina general fund by a whopping 35 percent.”

When the public learned the reality of the cost of the protestors’ demands, they weren’t willing to pay the price. That dose of reality seemed to throw cold water on the protests and things quieted down. That was 2014.

How does that relate to today? Every few years, it seems a new group of liberals raises up and asks for virtually the same thing. When their demands are put under scrutiny by reasonable people, the groups usually fade away.

The troublesome part today is that their numbers are growing, their cause is described more often as outright socialism, they are being funded by mega-funders pouring billions into their coffers, and there seems to be few moderate voices to slow them down.

It will be interesting to see if these new liberal groups prevail with their message. It would be interesting to see a price tag for the demands the leftist NC United for Survival and Beyond coalition is making today. And see if the people of North Carolina are willing to pay the price for their demands.