I keep scrolling past statuses on Facebook that ask the question: “Where is MACC?” My immediate response has been to wonder, “Who is MACC?” So when I ran into MACC—a cardboard cutout of a woman who represents the average North Carolinian—at an event in Hendersonville, I sat down to learn why people are talking about her all across the state.
You have an unusual name. Tell me more about the origin of “MACC.”
MACC stands for “My Actual Carolina Comeback.” There has been a lot of talk lately about a “Carolina Comeback,” a term used by Governor Pat McCrory to celebrate policies that focus on businesses instead of people. Many North Carolinians haven’t felt the effects of a comeback. We want to start a conversation about what North Carolinians really need.
The NC unemployment rate is going down and I keep hearing about job creation… Why is that not a “Carolina Comeback”?
The unemployment rate has gone down partly because more and more people are getting discouraged with their job search and dropping out of the labor force. The official numbers don’t count these folks. And the jobs that are being created are largely in low-wage industries – jobs that don’t provide a path to the middle class.
I get it; an actual Carolina Comeback would include enough jobs for all North Carolinians looking for work and those jobs would pay enough to support a family. But I’ve also heard your name linked to taxes, education, and the environment. What do those things have to do with a Carolina Comeback?
The severe tax cuts that went into effect in January have created a budget gap of more than $600 million – this means cutting services that disproportionately affect the most vulnerable North Carolinians. While I’m glad lawmakers raised teacher pay, it doesn’t make up for the fact that public schools have been hit hard by budget cuts. And lifting the moratorium on fracking is great for those about to drill—but not so great for the communities surrounding those fracking sites.
What would a real Carolina Comeback look like?
North Carolinians deserve better. At a minimum, we deserve the recognition that our economy is made up of people. We need a focus on families, workers, and students. We need a living wage, good jobs, quality education for our kids, and access to good health care and and clean air. We need to hold the government more accountable to the people of North Carolina.
I heard that there’s another MACC cardboard-cutout in Asheville. How many of you are there and where do you live?
Currently there are four of us, and we are spread throughout the state. Each cardboard-cutout is a photo of a real North Carolinian who believes our state is made stronger by policies that prioritize our families. Follow us on Twitter at @WhereIsMACC to find out more.
Is it hard to be two dimensional?
I may be made of cardboard, but I am far from two dimensional. The conversations I’ve had with North Carolinians about how to improve our state are about as real and three-dimensional as you can get.