Opinion & Commentary

Opinion: Trashed Capitol Should Revolt Us All

January 12, 2021

By JOHN HOOD RALEIGH — It was the summer of 1987 when I first stepped inside the United States Capitol to work instead of visit. As part of a summer program, I spent a couple of months interning with syndicated columnist Don Lambro. Rather than have me run errands or fetch coffee, Don sent me right off to cover committee meetings and lurk outside the General Accounting Office so he’d be among the first to get his hands on newly published GAO audits of government waste (obviously a man after my own heart). I loved it. I’d previously worked as…

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Opinion: Public backlash ensures distillers’ good deed goes unpunished

January 6, 2021

by John Trump Assigning infallibility to government action is a fool’s errand. It’s a common refrain in libertarian and conservative circles, and its truth is grounded in history, as well as the government’s continuing and ubiquitous intrusion and overreach. I won’t take credit for the aforementioned paraphrased statement because Scott Maitland said it this week as we talked about a letter to America’s distillers demanding $14,000. Maitland owns Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery in Chapel Hill, which is temporarily closed because of the pandemic.  Chapel Hill these days, he says, is a ghost town. Maitland is also a…

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Opinion: Tax Debates Feature Many Myths

January 4, 2021

By John Hood RALEIGH — With Democrats in charge of the White House, and U.S. House, and (possibly as of this writing) the U.S. Senate, you can expect a push by left-wing activists and politicians to repeal some federal tax cuts enacted by the previously Republican Congress and signed by President Trump. Here in North Carolina, pandemic-related concerns about state revenue collections, combined with fiscal demands from reelected Gov. Roy Cooper and the spending lobbies who support him, will produce a push by progressives to roll back tax cuts enacted by the Republican-led legislature. During the ensuing debates, you’ll hear…

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Opinion: Lower Taxes Attract Key Leaders

December 28, 2020

By John Hood RALEIGH — When Democrats attack pro-growth tax reform as “trickle-down economics,” I can understand their rhetorical intent. But the charge is silly on multiple levels — including the fact that every Democrat who ever serves in state or local office spends great time and effort to try to recruit business executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and high-value professionals to their communities. All producers and consumers make choices that define and drive an economy. But in every economic system that has ever existed, spanning the spectrum from primitive villages to centrally planned states to modern market-based societies, there are always…

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Opinion: Christmas Gifts Aren’t Wasteful

December 23, 2020

By John Hood Among the pagan-inspired customs of the Christmas season, there has come to be the ritualistic burning of the straw man. Specifically, I refer to the traditional seasonal column by a sly journalist or political analyst asserting that the exchange of Christmas gifts is a major lose-lose for the economy. I’ve read pretty much the same piece over and over for decades. The first version of the argument I saw was, I believe, in a New Republic column several years after I left the magazine. In brief, the argument is that gift-giving is a waste of economic resources. Because the…

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Opinion: Bah, humbug from your HOA

December 22, 2020

by Daniel Gibson Imagine opening your mailbox one blustery December morning to find a letter from your homeowners’ association. For a passing moment, you think it may be a Christmas card. Your naive hopes are dashed when you open it. No, they are fining you $100 a day for putting up a cross at Christmas time. Crosses aren’t an approved Christmas symbol. Santa? Fine. Reindeer? Great. A creche? Maybe. A cross? You’ve spoiled Easter’s surprise. This might be funny if it hadn’t already happened to one Raleigh man. Mullberry Park HOA “does not consider [a cross] a Christmas decoration, but Easter/Passover seasonal…

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Opinion: Curfew is Cooper’s latest move in state’s fight against bars, alcohol

December 17, 2020

by John Trump Gov. Roy Cooper — and scores of politicians like them — have since March imposed noxious closures and lockdowns with the altruistic goal of keeping us safe. In reality, these government-imposed suppressions have done little but wreck our mental and physical health and devastate our economy. About 100 Triangle restaurants, bars, and similar service businesses have closed since spring, according to one list. Sit back and consider that; then try not to vomit. Try not to think of other businesses — people’s livelihoods — closed and gone forever. A hundred businesses and counting, bleeding jobs, and community money. Wounded souls and…

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Opinion: Compensate victims of regulation

December 14, 2020

by John Hood As of November, North Carolina’s state government has some $4 billion in unreserved cash in its General Fund, plus well north of $1 billion in its rainy-day account and other reserves. Other states would dearly love to be in North Carolina’s shoes. They’re looking at large budget deficits with woefully insufficient savings to close the gap. They’re raising taxes, cutting services, and hoping Congress will bail them out with federal dollars — which are, of course, either taxes paid or debt issued against future taxes paid. While some additional federal aid for certain needs may be warranted in the…

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Opinion: Cooper blunders on rural broadband

December 4, 2020

by Joseph Coletti Local communities, legislators, and businesses are having a hard time understanding why Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget office pulled the plug on $32 million in grants for rural broadband projects that had attracted 70 applicants. Although some have raised concerns Cooper is redirecting the money to a pet project, the issue seems as likely to be a misunderstanding that, had the administration communicated its concerns earlier, could have been clarified. Instead, it has reignited tensions between the governor and the General Assembly. Legislators included the rural broadband grant funding in the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 (House Bill 1105),…

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