Welcome to a new episode of Ask Boomer With Attitude, where readers ask questions, or I make up reader questions, or both. Enjoy!
Dear BWA: You recently wrote: "You know your state taxes are going up, right?" I thought the General Assembly passed a big tax cut. — Hoping for a refund
Dear Hoping: It depends on how much money you make. Taxes are going up for many middle-class North Carolinian while they're going down for those who are capable of making big campaign donations, er, I mean, those with more money. For instance, according to figures from NC Policy Watch, a married couple with two kids and a small business income of $80K will see their taxes go up $2,898, while a married couple with two kids and a $250K yearly income will enjoy a $2,318 decrease in their taxes. In keeping with the overall tenor of the last legislative session, even the poor are getting (further) screwed: a married couple with two kids, making $20K per year will be told to pony up $262 more in taxes than they paid last year. Yes, it stinks to high heaven. If you're displeased, feel free to call the governor's office at 919-814-2000.
Dear BWA: You should write about the Koch brothers' TV attack ads against Kay Hagan. — Doris G. Porter
Dear Doris: You're right, it's a big deal. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is being raked over the coals in TV ads a full 10 months before the November election because Americans for Prosperity, a group dominated by the ultra-right billionaire Koch brothers, bought expensive TV time in states where Democrats running for re-election are considered vulnerable. Hagan, a centrist Democrat by any sane measure, is being caricatured as a quasi-communist because she supports Medicare, Social Security, a modicum of environmental protection, and of course, Obamacare, the "failed" program three million Americans have already signed up for. The Kochs can spend as much as they want to defeat any candidate anywhere in the U.S. because of the Supreme Court's ludicrous Citizens United decision that allowed unlimited, secret spending by corporations. Hagan's GOP opponent is widely expected to be N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is on the board of directors of ALEC, another Koch-financed outfit with undue influence in government. In other words, there's no telling how many millions of bucks the Kochs will pour into the state in this year. (Stay tuned to next week's CL, which will feature a cover story by Michael A. Cooper Jr. about the race.)
Dear BWA: What in God's name was Pat McCrory doing giving the first speech at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast? — Bewildered
Dear Bewildered: That's exactly what I wondered in a blog post last week. A lot of eyebrows were raised when the governor gave a previously unannounced welcoming speech to around 1,400 people at the annual MLK prayer breakfast. McCrory dished out boilerplate rhetoric about Charlotte's past leaders embracing the civil rights movement, without mentioning that those long-ago leaders were primarily trying to avoid racial "trouble" that would scare away potential investors. Many in the crowd wondered where McCrory found the nerve to honor King, the iconic warrior for equality and justice, particularly considering that the governor's administration has stuck it to black and/or poor citizens more than any N.C. governor in memory — think voter suppression, refusal to expand Medicaid, and severe cuts in unemployment insurance. The answer is that nerve is only required if the person in question isn't tone deaf on class or racial issues.
Dear BWA: Just sitting here wondering: What is the stupidest thing to happen lately? — Too Many To Choose From
Dear Too Many: Thanks for asking! It's a tough choice, but I have to go with Mike Huckabee's musings about birth control during the midterm Republican National Convention. The former Baptist preacher, Arkansas governor and FoxNews talking head said that Democrats, by offering contraception with no co-pay through the Affordable Care Act, are telling women "they cannot control their libidos" unless they get birth control each month from "Uncle Sugar," i.e., the government. Huckabee has a history of ridiculous statements about women, including his view that women cannot multi-task during their periods and his support for failed Senate candidate Todd Akin's declaration that victims of "legitimate rape" can't get pregnant. But here is the most ridiculous aspect of Huckabee's b.s.: in 2005, as Arkansas governor, Huckabee signed a law mandating that Arkansas insurance plans provide coverage for contraception — including church-affiliated hospitals and universities. You kind of expect national politicians to be hypocrites, but Huckabee takes the cake. At least this week.
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