North Carolina is one of states hit hardest by the recession. Between 2007 and 2009, the state's unemployment rate doubled and is continuing to increase. The latest census data in 2009 reported that 16% of North Carolina's residents live below the poverty line. Due to our economic straits, this number is bound to have risen. The ever increasing number of impoverished North Carolinians is now straining the government on every level. And the government's safety net for these people is now struggling to persist with the falling tax revenues and the calls for deficit reduction.
North Carolina's labor force is varied, which makes knowing how the recession affects people below the poverty line hard. North Carolina is known for its quality, high-tech jobs and in the last few years, the demand for these jobs increased. However, the demand for other jobs remains flat. Furthermore, it appears that these other available jobs do not provide hope for workers to raise their standard of living.
Many of North Carolina's farmworkers experience this situation. Although these farm workers receive payment, their salary is nowhere close to a living wage, and it forces them to live a life of indentured servitude or slavery. For Tar Heels, the high price of childcare and healthcare prevents personal economic gains that they might otherwise make. Moreover, the high costs of education deter people from ever furthering their education to make more money to get ahead.
The goal to defeat poverty should not be a partisan one, but instead a moral one. We should take pride in our state instead of looking the other way for our own selfish reasons. A living wage, affordable childcare and healthcare, attainable college or trade school education and support for the impoverished and unemployed can help our state get past this setback and feel good that we support a better life for all North Carolinians.