John Hood's Syndicated Weekly Column | 2014 Archive
Dec. 31st GOP Candidates Are Coming
Is North Carolina ready to be an early stop on the road to the White House?
Dec. 31st GOP Candidates Are Coming
Is North Carolina ready to be an early stop on the road to the White House?
Dec. 29th Liberals Roll Their Boulders
I know Christmas Day has come and gone, but we ought to try to retain the holiday spirit as long as we can. That’s why I’m urging compassion for a downtrodden group that doesn’t often receive it: North Carolina’s liberal commentators.
Dec. 24th Get Reform Back on Track
When the General Assembly reconvenes in January, lawmakers should quickly approve funding for the Academic Standards Review Commission so it can complete its work.
Dec. 22nd Region No Longer Sets Pace
As North Carolina policymakers continue to advance their own reform agenda, they should look far beyond the Southeast if they want to find best practices to replicate here.
Dec. 17th Suppression Claim Takes Another Hit
In a rational world, the experience of actual voters in 2014 would settle the question of voter suppression. Unfortunately, we do not reside there.
Dec. 15th Wake Up with a Start Up
There is a growing consensus across the ideological spectrum that a decline in entrepreneurship may be one explanation for the economy’s lackluster performance.
Dec. 10th Jobs Lost At a Minimum
Government-mandated minimum wages nearly always boost the incomes of some workers at the expense of other workers losing their jobs.
Dec. 8th Got to Pick a Pocket?
Voluntary exchange is a positive-sum game. Forced redistribution is a zero-sum game.
Dec. 3rd Many Factors Affect State Growth
We are leading our region in many measures of economic growth. Since the Southeast is no longer an economic pacesetter, however, it’s time to set our aspirations higher.
Dec. 1st Some Reforms Have Broad Support
Education policy will always be contentious. That need not prevent bipartisan action on school reform, as long as lawmakers focus on areas of agreement and keep an open mind.
Nov. 26th Prudence Needed on Budget
Through the first 33 percent of the fiscal year, North Carolina has collected 31 percent of its projected 2014-15 revenue.
Nov. 24th New Speaker Troubles Eeyore Caucus
When the news broke that Rep. Tim Moore would be the Republican nominee for speaker of the North Carolina House and Rep. Mike Hager would be majority leader, the usual suspects did the usual things.
Nov. 19th States Should Think Long-Term
All other things being equal, states with smaller governments, lower taxes, and less regulation have healthier, faster-growing economies than other states do.
Nov. 17th I Got The Red Blues
The notion of red states, blue states, and “purple” states remains overly simplistic. We are blessed with a broad palette of hues. Let’s use it.
Nov. 12th Legends of the Fall
Just as Republicans would be foolish to react to their 2014 successes with triumphalism or complacency, Democrats are foolish to react to their 2014 losses with denial or misdirection.
Nov. 10th Best Pollster in NC Was...
Just two of 17 pollsters — Pennsylvania-based Harper Polling and Florida-based Gravis Marketing — came close to predicting the margin of victory for Thom Tillis.
Nov. 5th Dems Take a Swing — and Miss
The Democratic effort was massive. It was expensive. It was brash, sometimes even to the point of being obnoxious. And it was, in the end, a failure.
Nov. 3rd Let Spend Like It's 1969
Government is far, far bigger than it used to be. Liberals generally cheer this development. Conservatives regret it.
Oct. 29th Where Stand the Two Jims
North Carolina politics continues to bear the imprint of two former governors with the same first name: four-term Democrat Jim Hunt and two-term Republican Jim Martin.
Oct. 27th Economy Isn't Stuck in Limbo
Most economists studying North Carolina trust the establishment survey’s estimate of 108,000 in employment growth over the past year rather than the household survey’s estimate of 18,000.
Oct. 22nd Advertising Makes a Difference
Advertising works. That’s why companies, campaigns, and institutions still spend lots of money on it.
Oct. 20th State Will Keep the Change
From 1963 to 2013, average per-capita incomes in the Southeast rose by precisely the same rate — 164 percent — as in North Carolina.
Oct. 15th Stimulus Story Reveals Much
The state can and should make effective use of private vendors and grantees to supply legitimate public services. Retrofitting private buildings for private use isn’t one of them.
Oct. 13th Changes Won't Decide Election
Don’t expect North Carolina’s election-law changes to have a decisive effect on the 2014 elections. The candidates, campaigns, and overall political and economic climate will determine the outcome — as usual.
Oct. 8th Spending Has Diminishing Returns
Additional progress will have to come largely from productivity gains, not from simply spending tomorrow’s money on yesterday’s terms.
Oct. 6th Good News on Taxes
North Carolina’s corporate tax rate is dropping. That will bring more jobs and higher incomes for North Carolinians, as well as greater transparency in taxation.
Oct. 1st Give Polls a College Try
On the FiveThirtyEight.com letter grading system, Survey USA is one of the few pollsters to get an A. Elon University gets a B. High Point University, PPP, and National Research get B-minuses.
Sep. 29th Picking News Like Cherries
Voters deserve a full and fair account of economic news — especially if, as happened last month, the news resists simplification into a single, blaring headline.
Sep. 24th Borrow When It Saves
Fiscal conservatives tend to look askance at large issuances of public debt. In this sentiment, they are in good company.
Sep. 22nd Regions Cast Different Votes
If Republican Thom Tillis were running for the U.S. Senate from the state of North Piedmont, he’d be clearly favored to defeat incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan.
Sep. 17th State Raised School Spending
To say that Republican legislature actually reduced state appropriations to North Carolina’s public schools is to misstate the facts. I’m just old-fashioned enough to believe that’s still a no-no.
Sep. 15th Workers Gain from Freedom
State governments certainly provide valuable services. But there is a point of diminishing returns to state taxes, spending, and regulation.
Sep. 12th Consensus Requires Solid Data
If you want to know how North Carolina’s public schools are really faring, the best measures are external.
Sep. 5th UNC System Makes Progress
North Carolina has traditionally subsidized its public universities to a much greater extent than most states have. But this practice does not appear to have generated better outcomes.
Aug. 29th Candidates at Starting Line
In the U.S. Senate race, the average result is 44 percent for Hagan, 44 percent for Tillis, 4 percent for Libertarian Sean Haugh, and 8 percent undecided.
Aug. 22nd Stick With the Winning Playbook
North Carolinians have no need to look north, west, or south for advice on how to recruit businesses or promote economic growth.
Aug. 15th Pay Reform Meets Student Needs
Across-the-board raises for teachers would have been simpler. But that doesn’t mean they would have been the best policy.
Aug. 8th Time to Rebuild State Reserves
There is nothing wrong with playing it safe — particularly when the game is played with other people’s money.
Aug. 1st Budget Was Worth The Wait
The stage is now set for the legislative and executive branches to continue the reform process by differentiating teacher pay in relation to student performance gains, hard-to-fill jobs, and hard-to-staff schools.
Jul. 25th Credit Claims Are Poorly Scripted
When liberals debate tax policy, it can be hard to keep track of their current positions. They keep changing.
Jul. 18th Plant The Seed for Fruitful Debate
In inflation-adjusted, per-student terms, North Carolina spent about twice as much on public schools last year as it did in 1983-84.
Jul. 11th What Largely Explains the Drop
The next time you see or hear a politician, policy analyst, activist, or journalist say that North Carolina’s unemployment rate has fallen “largely” because of workers dropping out of the labor force, ask for a definition of the term.
Jul. 4th Serve a Different Plate
While the story of the Halifax Resolves isn’t controversial, the same can’t be said of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
Jun. 27th Economy Boosts GOP Prospects
However messy politics in Raleigh may look at the moment, the economic trends don’t portend electoral calamity for the party in power. And Republicans know it.
Jun. 20th Government Spending Remains High
Total state spending adjusted for inflation and population growth reached its highest point in North Carolina history in 2011-12, at about $5,350 per person.
Jun. 13th Waging a War on Social Science
North Carolina now features a shrill and relentless rhetorical war on social science by political liberals and Democratic politicians.
Jun. 6th To Pay More, Employ Fewer
North Carolina governments have long been above average in staffing levels and at or below average in employee compensation.
May. 30th Who Really Opposes Free Speech?
Those who assert that liberals revere free speech more than conservatives do are making a phony claim. I’ll still defend their right to make it, however.
May. 23rd Set Higher Standard for NC
Think that the quality of political debate is low and declining? Consider the debate about North Carolina’s participation in Common Core.
May. 16th Reality Isn't So Discouraging
Is North Carolina’s dramatic decline in unemployment a statistical quirk that reflects a growing number of discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force? No.
May. 9th The Play's Not the Thing
Puzzled by the past several months of histrionics about North Carolina’s election-law changes? You’re hardly alone.
May. 2nd Pay Teachers for Results, Not Degrees
State lawmakers should hold firm. They got the issue of pay supplements for graduate degrees right the first time.
Apr. 25th Putting NC Growth in Context
Even if you account for people dropping out of the labor force, North Carolina’s labor market has improved faster than those of most other states.
Apr. 18th Choice Program Deserves Defense
Liberal activists may fume, and left-wing editorialists may grind their teeth, but legislative leaders are going to defend their 2013 opportunity scholarship bill.
Apr. 11th FCC Should Let Markets Work
If the FCC wants to do something constructive about telecom innovation and competition, it should focus on freeing up spectrum for new entrants and investment.
Apr. 4th Start Up the Rural Economy
Rather than simply embarking on a new “buffalo hunt” for industrial prospects, North Carolina’s small towns and rural communities should focus on cultivating entrepreneurs.
Mar. 28th Give the President More Power
North Carolinians are capable and willing to embrace the realities of the 21st century — including the demands of an increasingly global market.
Mar. 21th Look Before You (Statistically) Leap
In late February, some 44,000 discouraged North Carolina workers suddenly disappeared. Relax. It’s not as mysterious as it sounds.
Mar. 14th Will NC Make Par in 2014?
Based on North Carolina’s modern political history, what would really be surprising is if Republicans didn’t lose seats in 2014.
Mar. 7th NC Is Boringly Average
According to standardized test scores, the average North Carolina student performs better today in reading, math, and science than ever before.
Feb. 28th NC Doesn’t Pay More For Less
If you thought North Carolinians paid more for transportation and got less value for it than the residents of other states do, you were mistaken
Feb. 21th NC Politics and the Bard
Right now, “a pox on both your houses” pretty much sums up the way many North Carolinians feel about their elected officeholders.
Feb. 14th Conservative View of Moral Monday
Any political movement that can turn out tens of thousands of protesters on a chilly morning in February must be deemed impressive.
Feb. 7th New Data Clarify Jobless Trends
The decline in the labor force from June 2013 to December 2013 was not large enough to be statistically significant.
Jan. 31st NC Got Broad Tax Cut
Did Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina legislature raise taxes on poor and middle-income families to give tax breaks to the wealthy?
Jan. 24th Hunt Got It Wrong
Whatever you think of the virtues of Smart Start and the Excellent Schools Act, you cannot argue that they increased the rate of educational improvement in North Carolina
Jan. 17th Freedom Leads to Growth
While Washington (maybe) gets its act together, state and local governments will have to take the lead in helping to reverse the trend away from economic freedom.
Jan. 10th Smaller Can Be Better
Taxpayers don’t save money from consolidating school districts, not when the costs are fully identified and accounted for.
Jan. 3rd Time to Employ Common Sense
Critics predicted economic disaster from ending extended UI benefits in North Carolina. Some claim to see it now. But that’s not what the preliminary evidence shows.
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