A far-left coalition of groups in North Carolina calling itself “NC United for Survival & Beyond” (NCUSB) is back again, but this time with what could be described as a half-hearted effort at best. They recently released their “People’s Budget” platform of demands for 2021.

You may remember them from last year, when they released a very lengthy and detailed list of laughably unrealistic demands. I exposed the group’s senseless demands in this article, a list topped off by a universal basic income of $1,200/mo. to all residents (regardless of age) – including illegal immigrants. This absurd proposal would cost roughly $151 billion every year – more than six times the amount of the state’s entire General Fund budget.

Perhaps it was out of shame from being called out last year, or a realization that their demands have zero chance of being met by the current legislature, but this year’s list of demands is very short and unimaginative.

We demand that the North Carolina General Assembly use the more than $5 billion in unreserved funds to give our communities healthcare, housing, and worker protections.

More specifically, what are these demands and what would they mean for North Carolina?

  • Healthcare. This means Medicaid expansion. The reasons to oppose this are legion, foremost among them that expansion would crowd out care for the truly needy with an influx of childless healthy adults. Some estimates put the state’s price tag of expansion at more than $400 million per year, most likely to be paid for by a tax on hospitals that would be passed on to patients.
  • Housing. For this, NCUSB proposes “that the NCGA immediately release funds to place unhoused North Carolinians in safe and secure hotels or vacant apartments, allocate money to provide direct rent and mortgage relief for those who have fallen behind on payments during the pandemic, and ban source of income requirements in rental applications.” How long would the homeless be put up in hotels or apartments at taxpayer expense? They don’t say. How much in “rent and mortgage relief” would be provided? They don’t say. Just throw money at the problem. And banning source of income requirements in rental applications is a great way to create mistrust among renters and to incentivize them to instead discriminate on who they rent to using non-income factors – many of which NCUSB would likely not approve.
  • Worker Protections. By this they mean mandating a “living wage,” paid leave for all, and an “effective unemployment insurance benefits system.” What would make the UI benefits system “effective”? They don’t say. One could assume it means making the benefits more generous, which of course as we’ve seen especially these last few months means more people opting not to work, substituting a cycle of government dependency for the dignity and social benefits of productive work. And of course mandating a “living wage” and paid leave for all prices low-skilled workers out of the workforce, a consequence especially harsh on young minorities.

While the 2021 “People’s Budget” was clearly phoned in, we should not dismiss it entirely. The platform has the support of several influential and deep-pocketed organizations like the NC Justice Center, Democracy NC, and NARAL.