I read a little over half of John Hood’s Our Best Foot Forward today. In a sense, it is a study of studies. Nobody likes studies because one can commission them to determine anything. Hood, however, addresses the validity of statistical methods and contextual considerations behind various research projects. In some instances, there is undeniable corroboration; and the overall take is that North Carolina legislators have been making terrible decisions if they really want the state’s economy to flourish.

Hood says he is only recommending policy changes that have been effected in other places and worked. He references sources that I have found to be more or less reliable or credible through the years. Hood is in accord with the Tax Foundation’s conclusions that states with stronger economies tend to have streamlined tax structures that do not penalize too harshly income and savings. Among the recommendations is a switch to a USA Tax, which makes more sense than the Fair Tax. Only income that is neither invested nor donated to charity would be taxed. That would eliminate redundant taxes without creating a paperwork nightmare, while also spurring investment. He would also like to reduce welfare spending, as public welfare programs have in many ways been shown to be the cause, and not the effect of poverty.

So far, he has provided lucid arguments to support about fifty ideas, which I have heard before and bought into, that should work in theory and have worked in practice. The book is only $10, and you can get it here.