RALEIGH – Whenever a crisis emerges in which the government, federal or state, takes the lead, a comedy of errors usually ensues that offers more frustration than support. Admittedly, the scale and scope of the current debacle came out of left field, but some states were more prepared than others. WalletHub has ranked the states with the best, and worst, “Coronavirus Support.”
North Carolina ranks dead last. Not even at 50th, but 51st place.
Now, a ranked list doesn’t mean much without taking a list at what the list-makers are actually looking for. WalletHub created this list by assessing 17 different metrics that they feel represent a State’s overall support level for the coronavirus impact.
North Carolina ranks dead last in ‘unemployment insurance recipiency rate,’ because the N.C. Department of Employment Security (DES) has been abysmal at processing claims in a timely manner. When Republicans took over the agency in 2013, the division was still using Dos software on floppy discs; even four years of reforms from Dale Folwell could not undo the damage from bureaucratic blight.
This claims receipt rate is one of the 17 factors WalletHub is using, so it is easy to see why we ranked so low. But 51st?! What are the other metrics?
Well, one is the size of a state’s coronavirus relief fund. Being that the legislature just returned to session this week, we have not passed such a fund into law.
Another is how generous unemployment benefits are. Much to the Left’s frustration, North Carolina offers a relatively low weekly benefit amount for unemployment claims. That’s because paying unemployment claims has put the state into billions in debt before, and Republicans were keen to pay down that debt and keep unemployment checks way less attractive than a job. The maximum payment and duration were reduced.
More factors involve how much of the homeless population is sheltered; how many elderly got home-delivered meals; and, how much taxpayer-funded social assistance is offered to households in poverty. So, the bigger and more expansive the government programs, the higher a state will rank on this ‘coronavirus support’ list.
Maybe it’s a good thing, in the grand scheme, that we didn’t place first. Still, the deplorable administration of unemployment benefits — a check very few want to claim, but desperately need when they do — is a true embarrassment. Government can sure spend taxpayer’s money, except when those taxpayers need some of it back; then it’s like pulling teeth.
Learn more about the ranking at WalletHub.