Opinion & Commentary

OPINION: Three School Initiatives Show Promise

March 8, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — In North Carolina politics, few issues are as contentious as education. For years, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-led General Assembly have locked horns on such issues as funding formulas, teacher pay, and parental choice. More recently, legislators have tried to give all schoolchildren access to in-person instruction, only to be stymied by Cooper’s veto pen — wielded at the behest of the North Carolina affiliate of America’s largest teachers union. The problems we face are grave. Among the disastrous effects of COVID-19 and the ensuing shutdowns have been emotional distress and learning loss.…

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Opinion: Levers Help Charities Meet Needs

March 4, 2021

by John Hood, Carolina Journal RALEIGH — You may not know much about an ancient Greek mathematician and inventor named Archimedes. But I bet you know the most famous thing he said. The king of Syracuse once asked Archimedes to investigate a possible fraud. The king had hired some artisans to make a crown out of an ingot of pure gold. When he received it, the king feared the goldsmiths had swindled him by substituting silver for some of the gold. Melting it down would have uncovered the truth, of course, but destroyed the crown in the process. Momentarily stumped,…

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Opinion: Reduce Health Cost, Not Just Price

March 1, 2021

by John Hood, Carolina Journal RALEIGH — Too many North Carolinians lack access to the medical services they need. One possible response, as we have heard incessantly for more than a decade, would be to expand Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Health Act, with most of the expense to be borne by the (already heavily indebted) federal government. It’s hardly the only possible response, however. Through its own regulations, North Carolina restricts the availability of medical services and, as a result, inflates the cost of those services. Rather than looking for ways to redistribute that inflated cost to…

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OPINION: Higher Costs Won’t Help Economy

February 25, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — If you think the cost of living is too low, I bear good tidings. The Biden administration and its allies in Congress, regulatory agencies, and state governments across the country are working nonstop to raise the cost of food, shelter, energy, and education. Help is on the way! Embedded in President Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief package, for example, is a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Even if phased in over several years, such a pronounced increase in labor costs can’t be absorbed by restaurants, retailers, and other tight-margin service industries as…

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Opinion: Burr, Tillis both pay political price for defending Congress’ role

February 23, 2021

by Mitch Kokai – Carolina Journal If I want to raise a conservative friend’s blood pressure these days, I’ll ask him what he thinks about North Carolina’s senior U.S. senator, Richard Burr. Many are angry at Burr. Most disagree emphatically with his Feb. 13 vote to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Those who support Burr’s impeachment vote are likely to keep that information to themselves. No one can dispute that Burr is paying a political price for his action. That includes an official vote of censure from the N.C. Republican Party’s Central Committee. The price likely would be much…

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OPINION: I Thought Blacklisting Was Bad

February 17, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — I’ve never really been a victim of cancel culture. But that’s not to say my critics haven’t tried to make me one. I began my syndicated column in 1986. It ran initially in a couple of newspapers in eastern North Carolina, then spread to dozens of others over the ensuing decade. On several occasions, left-wing activists have tried to get editors to drop my column. It never worked. In my experience, local newspaper folks didn’t like obviously orchestrated attempts to dictate editorial decisions. During my quarter-century as a regular panelist on TV shows, I can’t…

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OPINION: Sales Tax Hike Is Unneeded

February 15, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — When North Carolina Democrats are in power, their go-to source of new revenue is to raise sales taxes. Oh, I realize you’ve probably read or heard something different during recent election cycles. Left-wing politicians, activists, and editorialists have claimed that the GOP-controlled General Assembly increased North Carolina’s sales-tax burden by expanding the scope of the sales tax to include some previously untaxed services. It was a grossly misleading claim. Republican tax legislation did, indeed, expand the sales-tax base a bit, just as Democratic politicians had long advocated. But the GOP legislature also made sure the…

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OPINION: Nonprofits Must Go the Distance

February 8, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — The COVID-19 crisis has brought death, economic destruction, and wrenching social change. As a combination of post-illness immunity and rising vaccinations begins to suppress the pandemic, we’re going to feel a powerful impulse to put as much of this horrendous experience as possible behind us. As well we should. But some effects of COVID aren’t going away. They represent long-term consequences, positive and negative, to which North Carolinians will have to adjust. A recent grant by the John William Pope Foundation, a Raleigh-based grantmaker for which I serve as president, will help facilitate precisely the…

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OPINION: Build on North Carolina’s Strengths

February 3, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — When will North Carolina’s economy return to normal, or at least to a “new normal”? Unfortunately, that destination is many months away, if not years. Still, we’ll know we’re making progress when we can see the most damaging events of 2020 only in our rearview mirrors. For example, entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers won’t return to “normal” economic activity until the worst excesses of our radicalized politics are a bad memory instead of an immediate worry. That means no more mobs employing trespass, vandalism, or violence to pursue their ends, whatever those ends may be. And…

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Opinion: Legislators Should Reclaim Their Power

February 1, 2021

By JOHN HOOD RALEIGH — Among the many reasons the political discourse in Washington has gotten so toxic, and at the same time so unproductive, is that the legislative branch of our federal government has allowed itself to become increasingly irrelevant. It isn’t just that the presidency and the courts have usurped policymaking authority that properly belongs to Congress. Most members of Congress, in both parties, have willingly ceded that power. With great power comes great responsibility, as Spider-Man famously learned to his horror. To put it bluntly, most members of Congress don’t want the responsibility. They’d rather bloviate on…

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