Communications breakdown

Here?s how politicians get away with saying some pretty ridiculous things. First, they travel far away from the seat of government and the nosy capital press corps. Second, they draw in a crowd of local folks and local media not used to covering the politician and his or her issues. Third, they proceed to make statements that sound good even though they?ve already been discredited or debunked, knowing that there will probably be no follow-up or fact-checking.

Several Republicans running for reelection to the General Assembly are using this strategy, for example, to try to fight off more conservative primary challengers. The former are saying in radio ads that they ?cut taxes? on North Carolina families, even though as loyal members of the Black-Morgan coalition in the NC House they have clearly raised taxes on NC families by a net of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Another example can be found in Gov. Mike Easley?s remarks at a company-relocation announcement in Currituck County last week. Among other gems, he stated that:

? North Carolina is ?number four? in job creation in the nation, trailing only California, Florida, and Texas.

Uh, no. Since Easley came into office, North Carolina has had a net loss of 110,000 jobs. That?s not all the governor?s doing, of course, but it is hardly an enviable performance on jobs. Dozens of states have performed better. NC does look better if you consider only the track record since January, but that largely reflects the fact that our state is only now joining the economic recovery that began elsewhere a year ago or earlier.

? North Carolina?s tax burden on business is the second-lowest in the United States (Oregon has the lowest).

An embarrassingly silly claim, easily rebutted.

? North Carolina?s incentive programs explain its superior economic performance.

There?s nothing superior about it, and besides the available evidence suggests that NC incentives have not exercised a significant influence on job creation.

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