CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Reckless Pandemic Response Puts North Carolina Health, Jobs, and Social Security at Risk
North Carolina unemployment when Trump took office: 4.9 percent
North Carolina unemployment now: 6.5 percent
Washington, D.C. — Today, President Donald Trump will arrive near Greenville, North Carolina, to hold a rally in an airplane hangar at Pitt-Greenville Airport. His event will be the fifth of nine scheduled in-person rallies following the revelation of his COVID-19 diagnosis on October 2. Rather than quarantine for the two-week period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump has continued to downplay the pandemic and put Americans at risk by holding four in-person rallies this week—and hosting an in-person event at the White House this past weekend. After risking the health of Secret Service members to take a joyride outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he told the country not to let the virus “dominate your lives,” despite the more than 216,000 lives lost in the United States due to the president’s failed pandemic response and his lying to the American people about the true danger of the virus since February. Now, Trump falsely claims to be immune to the virus despite failing to disclose when he last tested negative or other basic health details.
With North Carolina passing more than 236,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,800 dead, Trump’s recklessness and lies are putting North Carolinians at risk. In the first 2020 presidential debate, Trump claimed that there has been “no negative effect” from his rallies. However, at least two have been linked to surges in cases: His rally in Tulsa was tied to a record increase in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma as well as the death of Herman Cain, while his rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, has been linked to 16 people infected with COVID-19, two of whom have been hospitalized. Trump himself likely contracted the virus at an unsafe event with supporters at the White House.
As a result of Trump’s failure to control the virus, the unemployment rate in North Carolina was still at 6.5 percent in August, compared with 4.9 percent when the Trump presidency began. In the absence of federal leadership or any national testing plan, the virus continues to spread; and uncertainty has created wildly unstable economic conditions in the state. Amid this economic instability, Trump cut federal unemployment insurance by $300, leaving North Carolina single-parent families with one child on a modest budget facing a shortfall of $2,120 per month, according to a recent Center for American Progress analysis. More than 127,447 North Carolinians are still receiving some type of unemployment benefits. In total, 113,800 fewer North Carolinians were employed in August compared with February.
Instead of leading the country out of the pandemic, Trump has continued his longtime assault on Social Security by calling for the termination of a large portion of its dedicated funding source—payroll taxes. Trump’s proposal, according to Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen Goss, would wipe out the Social Security Trust Fund by 2023. More than 2.1 million North Carolina residents—20.4 percent of the state’s population—are Social Security beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, Trump has continued his longtime assault on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After revealing a panicked health care executive order that does nothing to protect preexisting conditions, Trump maintained his commitment to striking down the ACA in court. If the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds, 503,000 state residents could lose health coverage and 4.2 million North Carolinians with preexisting conditions could face higher premiums or be barred from coverage during the pandemic.
Learn more about how the Trump administration’s policies have hurt North Carolina families and put them at risk below.
Claim: “Those with pre-existing conditions will always get the quality coverage they need.” – Donald Trump, September 24, 2016
Reality: The Trump administration is trying to repeal the ACA through the courts with no replacement. If successful, the Trump administration will strip coverage from millions of Americans, raise premiums, and end protections for people with preexisting conditions. In North Carolina:
- 4.2 million residents with preexisting conditions would lose protections if the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds.
- 503,000 residents could lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.
Profits and wages
Claim: “I will be the greatest jobs President that God ever created. … [O]ur poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” – Donald Trump, October 5, 2016
Reality: President Trump promised voters that he would prioritize the interests of the middle class. Instead, he’s prioritized the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
- President Trump has the worst jobs record in history and is the only president to have lost net jobs on his watch.
- Trump blocked a federal minimum wage increase for North Carolina workers. Approximately 1,587,000 state workers were denied a pay increase, resulting in more than $6 billion in lost wages.
Claim: “No one will gain more from these proposals than low- and middle-income Americans.” – Donald Trump, August 8, 2016
Reality: Eighty-three percent of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion tax cut goes to big corporations and the rich. Many North Carolina families are getting stuck with the bill.
- 361,520 North Carolina families paid more in taxes last year due to the Trump administration’s tax bill.
- For the 2019 tax year, the average tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent of North Carolina earners was $39,990. The average tax cut for the middle 20 percent was $660.
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