The Follies

The Follies

- in Fitzsimon File

The Orwellian solution for NC PreK

You have to give it to the Republicans in the General Assembly. They have a lot of nerve.

People in the legislative building you don’t agree with, just kick them out. Can’t get your legislation passed because of the Democrats, wait until a few go home and call a session in the middle of the night.

Don’t want to get blamed for costing North Carolina a tire plant and 1,200 jobs? No sweat, just claim the problem was that Democrats owned the land the company wanted.

Never mind minor concerns like democracy or the constitution or the truth. No time for any of that, you are on an ideological crusade after all.

The latest nervy move comes in the Republicans’ idea about how to solve the problem of thousands of at-risk kids on the waiting list for NC Pre-K, formerly known as More at Four.

Governor Bev Perdue announced plans this week to transfer $9.3 million from child care subsidy funds to open up slots for 2,000 more kids in the preschool program. Roughly 67,000 four year olds in North Carolina are eligible for NC Pre-K and less than 25,000 are enrolled.

The budget passed by Republicans last summer eliminated 4,000 slots and they have ignored earlier proposals by Perdue to restore some of the funding.

Hence the long list of kids waiting.

Rep. Justin Burr told WRAL-TV this week that one way to address the waiting list is to make fewer kids eligible for the program. That will certainly do it.

It’s an interesting approach that could be used to solve a lot of our problems in Raleigh and Washington. Worried about the growing poverty rate? Cut the federal poverty level in half and statistically at least fewer families will be poor.

What about the thousands of families with children on the waiting list for child care subsidies? Simple. Just abolish the program entirely. Presto. No program, no waiting list for the program. It’s brilliant.

Sure, thousands of kids and families might suffer but you would have removed all those annoying questions about what you will do about this waiting list or that one. You can even campaign on the fact that you eliminated the waiting lists.

Americans for the Prosperous is already starting that effort on the NC PreK issue, advocating for slashing eligibility and asking “why have a long waiting list a mile long for pre-k?”

Why indeed. It’s only about children and their futures.

Another way for banks to get your money

Just when you thought you have seen it all with the big banks, they come up with even more obnoxious ways to make money, in this case with the full cooperation of the State of South Carolina.

The Charlotte Observer reports that taxpayers in South Carolina who are due a refund on their state taxes and don’t specifically request a check from the state will receive a Bank of America debit card instead.

You can withdraw money from the card at ATMs, but that will cost you $2.50 every time you do. You can close the account and get all your money from the card if you would rather, but that will cost you five dollars.

South Carolina worked out the deal with Bank of America to save money on processing and mailing paper checks to taxpayers who are owed a refund.

The result is that citizens will have to pay a bank to get access to their own money.

Romney and George Costanza

And finally, in another non- North Carolina folly this week, we turn to Jason Alexander who played George Costanza on the Seinfeld show.

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney quoted a line a George Costanza line in this week’s debate in Arizona.

Romney was introducing himself and was interrupted by applause from the audience and instead of continuing his statement said “That’s good enough. As George Costanza would say, “when they’re applauding stop, right?”

The problem as several news sites have reported is that he misquoted the line and was wrong about which character said it. It was actually Jerry Seinfeld who said on the show to Costanza, “showmanship, George. When you hit that high note, you say goodnight and walk off.”

The clumsy episode did prompt the line of the week from Alexander, who tweeted his reply.

“Thrilled Romney enjoys my old character. I enjoyed the character he used 2 to be 2. If’ he’s embrace that again, he’d b a great candidate.”



About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.
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