The News & Observer’s editorial today uses the following terms to describe this year’s signature regulatory reform of sunset provisions with periodic review:

  • illogical
  • dangerous
  • concessions to developers and polluters
  • “streamline” regulatory process with a sledgehammer and blowtorch
  • uncommon recklessness
  • anarchy

As Dorothy Parker reportedly remarked, “What fresh hell is this?”

Readers here are familiar with the sunset provisions and periodic review process contained in the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013. They also know the following items based on established research:

Rules introduced and rules disapproved in North Carolina, 2004–09
rules in NC

But in the economic model in use by the N&O, none of that registers. The model’s governing assumption is, of course, that everything was fine in the state until 2011, when Republicans showed up and started Changing the Way We Have Always Done Things. Now with Gov. Pat McCrory having signed this major regulatory reform, the N&O has revealed another tenet of its Keys to Economic Growth:

  • Overregulation enhances North Carolina’s business climate and grows tourism and in-migration.
    As the N&O puts it, “North Carolina has a good business climate in large part because it has effective environmental laws and regulations. The beauty of the state and the consistency of the laws that protect it are what have attracted businesses, newcomers, students and tourists.”

Note that: “in large part.” It’s not a contributing factor in the model; it’s the primary one.

That’s why changing the regulatory climate is so uncommonly reckless, in N&O-nomics. Illogical, even. Dangerous.