OPINON: Labor Force Shouldn’t Be Shrinking

By JOHN HOOD North Carolina’s economy has enjoyed a substantial recovery from the depths of the Great Suppression — that is, from the COVID-19 downturn of 2020. Most businesses are back up and operating. So are schools and universities. More employees than ever before are working from home. That’s had positive consequences for worker satisfaction…

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OPINION: Income and Poverty Facts Matter

By JOHN HOOD RALEIGH, NC — The income of the median American household fell by nearly 3% last year as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent regulations shuttered many businesses for months, closed others for good, and forced still other employers to cut back on hours and wages for the people they still employed. Or so…

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OPINION: Trade Lifts North Carolina Economy

By JOHN HOOD RALEIGH, N.C. — When North Carolinians are free to trade with whomever they choose, be it South Carolinians or South Koreans, some local businesses may lose sales. The case for markets isn’t based on promises of cost-free benefits or perfect outcomes. No such promises could ever be honored in the real world.…

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OPINION: Make Licensing Reform a Priority

by John Hood RALEIGH — According to the most-recent ranking I can find, North Carolina requires state-approved licenses in more occupations (nearly 200) than most other states do. North Carolina licenses twice as many occupations as Virginia does, and three times as many as South Carolina. You cannot be an auctioneer in our state unless…

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OPINION: CON Laws Are Too Risky

by John Hood RALEIGH — I’ve long thought the North Carolina General Assembly should reform our state’s archaic and anti-competitive requirement for certificates-of-need. In the post-COVID world we are entering, however, CON reform is no longer just a good idea. It’s an imperative. Created during the 1970s in response to a federal mandate, our certificate-of-need…

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OPINION: Lawmakers Embrace Capital Idea

by John Hood North Carolina’s state government has a multi-billion-dollar surplus. Its enormity has multiple causes: past spending discipline, revenue growth from a resurgent economy, and gobs of borrowed federal money. Its enormity also presents North Carolina’s conservative-run legislature with a challenge. How can a surplus be challenging? Ask anyone who’s ever been a lawmaker.…

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OPINION: Lay Welcome Mat for New Houses

by John Hood RALEIGH — When demand exceeds supply, prices rise. While the problem of housing affordability has many facets and effects, that inescapable fact explains a lot about why so many North Carolinians struggle to afford the homes they’d like to buy or rent. It’s not as if there are many idle homebuilders in…

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OPINION: To Do Good or Do Better

by John Hood RALEIGH — There are at least as many different ways to explain the origins of political disagreement as there are political commentators. I, for one, think such factors as cultural traditions, religious views, family background, educational experiences, and interpersonal relationships all help to shape how we choose our preferred political candidates or…

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OPINION: What to Do When They’re Wrong

by John Hood RALEIGH — Here are three true statements, as best I can determine. First, Americans of all backgrounds have experienced gigantic declines in poverty over the past two generations. Second, most diversity training is worse than a waste of time. Third, police officers are no more likely to kill minorities than they are…

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OPINION: Got to Pick a Pocket?

June 28, 2021 by John Hood RALEIGH — Did Fagin’s pickpockets stimulate the economy of London? If you’ve read Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist or seen the musical derived from it, you’ll immediately recognize the name. Fagin is the rogue who takes in orphans and runaways, trains them to pick pockets and swindle marks, and then distributes the…

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