Opinion & Commentary

OPINION: States Can Limit Regulatory Damage

January 27, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden began revving up the federal government’s regulatory engine. He’s already run over the Keystone Pipeline. We can expect a pileup of other rules that will increase the cost of energy, food, and many other goods and services across our economy. Fortunately, there’s something North Carolina lawmakers can do to lessen the damage. They can ramp up their own efforts to reform state regulation and promote economic freedom more generally. No, I’m not saying state governments can nullify federal laws. But the same households and businesses that the Biden…

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Opinion: Court filing highlights Cooper’s calculated campaign against private bars

January 26, 2021

by Mitch Kokai The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But few in North Carolina can argue that they’ve taken as big a hit as owners and operators of private bars. A court filing this month makes clear that these businesses have faced special damage at the hands of an unsympathetic governor. The filing in Waldron v. Cooper tells the clear story of more than 10 months of discrimination against one type of business. “And while Governor [Roy] Cooper has called this a ‘dimmer switch’ approach, in reality, it threatens to turn the lights off on many private bars for good,” according…

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Opinion: Federal Bailout Will Punish Our State

January 26, 2021

By John Hood RALEIGH — Now that Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress (however narrowly), they will probably approve a new round of federal borrowing to bail out state and local governments with shaky finances. In other words, Washington will punish North Carolina and other prudently governed states by saddling us with the cost of other states’ mistakes. This is an old story. Shortly after the American Revolution, some of the newly created states made great sacrifices to pay down their war-related debts, North Carolina among them. Other states didn’t. Then Alexander Hamilton concocted a plan…

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OPINION: Federal Bailout Will Punish Our State

January 25, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — Now that Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress (however narrowly), they will probably approve a new round of federal borrowing to bail out state and local governments with shaky finances. In other words, Washington will punish North Carolina and other prudently governed states by saddling us with the cost of other states’ mistakes. This is an old story. Shortly after the American Revolution, some of the newly created states made great sacrifices to pay down their war-related debts, North Carolina among them. Other states didn’t. Then Alexander Hamilton concocted a plan…

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OPINION: Two critical reforms to N.C.’s Emergency Management Act

January 22, 2021

By Donald Bryson Looking into January, state legislative sessions will begin across the nation. For many states, a critical focus point will be on the emergency powers those states’ governments have exercised in the wake of COVID-19.  North Carolina is no exception. Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 executive orders have been controversial and provocative. These orders have led to a lawsuit from former Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, multiple protests in downtown Raleigh, and an earnest debate about the limits of the power of the Office of the Governor.  While Cooper enjoyed relatively high job approval ratings as late as November, this amount of controversy can’t continue into perpetuity. The…

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Opinion: Protect the Right to be Wrong

January 18, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — I have strong opinions — but not about how to perform brain surgery, write a smart-phone app, design a golf course, or produce a hip-hop album. Perhaps you do have a strong view about one of these, but almost certainly not about all four. Why? Because none of us can simultaneously be a surgeon, a software engineer, a golfing expert, and a music producer. When it comes to our work, we specialize in a few things and then trade what we produce for the goods and services that other specialists produce. The exchange makes us…

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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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