More Columns

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North Carolina’s state government entered its 2019-20 fiscal year on July 1 without a new state budget in place. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-led legislature haven’t agreed to one, yet. But unless you work for the state, work closely with state-funded entities, or follow sta…

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Many political and education leaders in North Carolina say that our economy would be better off if our level of educational attainment was higher. They’re probably right about that, as long as their definition of “educational attainment” is sufficiently broad.

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Our immigration system is clearly broken. The consequences are evident on our borders, in our judicial system, and right here in North Carolina. Unfortunately, Gov. Roy Cooper, Democratic lawmakers, and progressive activists are making it more difficult to reach a consensus on reforming the system.

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Although policymakers sometimes portray increasing access and reducing cost as separate objectives for health care reform, the two are closely related. When North Carolinians lack immediate access to primary care or mental health services, they bear the cost either of waiting for an appointm…

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In any human enterprise as complex, varied, and challenging as education, we shouldn’t expect a great deal of consensus, much less unanimity. Politicians, educators, parents, and citizens debate education policy constantly not only because it is of crucial importance to our shared futures bu…

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At a recent North Carolina Department of Transportation committee meeting, my John Locke Foundation colleague Joe Coletti offered this blunt assessment to state policymakers: our system of road financing isn’t sustainable.

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Although the North Carolina House has approved its version of a biennial budget, there’s a lot that North Carolinians can’t yet know about how much will be spent, and on what, over the next two years. But here’s something we can assume with near-certainty: Gov. Roy Cooper will veto it.

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In the twilight of his political career, Ronald Reagan made the media rounds to discuss his administration, legacy, and unfinished business. During several of these interviews, Reagan went out of his way to criticize the longtime practice of gerrymandering electoral districts for partisan ad…

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Remember when Democrats and progressive activists warned that ending the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate would “deprive” 13 million Americans of their health coverage? Based on a Congressional Budget Office estimate, this claim helped Democrats defeat a Republican repeal-and-replace…

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Arguing that GOP-tilted districts had rendered elected lawmakers “usurpers” who “did not represent the people of North Carolina,” Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins has struck down two constitutional amendments approved by state voters last fall: one requiring a photo ID to vote …

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While the term “whataboutism” may be relatively new — coined within the last few decades, and newly prominent in the age of Donald Trump — the logical fallacy it denotes is as ancient as politics itself.

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North Carolina Republicans lost their General Assembly supermajorities in the 2018 midterms, and the GOP nationally lost ground in both legislatures and governorships after years of dominance in state capitals.

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As another year has closed, a year of Democratic resurgence in both national and local politics, I offer this challenge to incumbent and newly elected lawmakers alike. Do you really want to be leaders? Or do you just want to be politicians?

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In response to the toppling in August of the Confederate Monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chancellor Carol Folt and other UNC leaders have proposed a controversial solution: a new $5.3 million building on campus that will cost $800,000 a year to operate.

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Where is the best place to find good employment opportunities in the technology industry? According to a new study by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), it’s not Silicon Valley. It’s North Carolina.

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As Election Day approaches, you will continue to hear a great deal about hot-button issues that candidates believe may either swing your vote or motivate you to cast it. But few will be as consequential as an issue you probably won’t hear about in 2018 but will matter a lot in 2019: upgradin…

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North Carolina’s 2018 election cycle may be considered a “blue moon” — but Democrats aren’t just standing around without a dream in their hearts. They dream of a sweeping victory this year, and are working hard to try to accomplish it.

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North Carolina’s economy is in reasonably good shape. Over the past five years of available data, our state’s employers have added 480,000 net new jobs, with our job-creation rate exceeding the national and Southeastern averages. North Carolina’s average income per person has gone up faster …

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North Carolina politics can be exhausting. The past few weeks have brought us wrangling over redistricting and constitutional amendments, conflicts between Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican lawmakers over disaster relief and a gas-pipeline fund, and a mob of protesters toppling the Silent Sam s…

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Will Democrats deliver a punishing blow to Republicans in this year’s midterm elections in North Carolina, or will the much-vaunted “blue wave” prove to be more of a ripple?

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When natural disasters or other emergencies hit our state, North Carolinians respond in droves — and I’m not just referring to the crucial and praiseworthy work of our public employees who work in emergency management, public safety, and public works.

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In the aftermath of a scathing report from State Auditor Beth Wood about mismanagement in North Carolina’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) warehouse, some state lawmakers are renewing calls to end the government liquor monopoly in our state. Good.

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In North Carolina politics, Democrats dominate urban areas while Republicans win suburban and rural voters. Outcomes are determined largely by which counties have the highest turnout in a given election.

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North Carolina politicians and policy analysts have been arguing for decades about targeted economic incentives. The central question is whether North Carolina’s state and local governments ought to try to compete with other jurisdictions across the country in offering targeted tax or cash i…

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Even though Gov. Roy Cooper is a Democrat and the North Carolina Supreme Court has a majority of justices with Democratic backgrounds, state Democrats will be trying to make 2018 a “change election.”

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While the term “fake news” may be of recent vintage, the phenomenon isn’t. For decades, policymakers in North Carolina and elsewhere have trafficked in poorly understood, misleading, or demonstrably false information — often unknowingly, although that’s bad enough — and made poor decisions a…

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Many political pollsters took it on the chin in 2016. Their surveys proved to be wildly off in the presidential race, among others. So as the 2018 midterms approach, will we all stop paying attention to election surveys, deeming them unscientific and uninteresting?

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If North Carolina Democrats hoped — and North Carolina Republicans feared — that a Roy Cooper administration would represent a clean break from the administration of former Gov. Pat McCrory, both sides have good reason to revise their expectations.

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Peer pressure has been the reason, or at least the rationalization, for many a youthful indiscretion — not that I would know from personal experience. Actually, the effect doesn’t dissipate when kids grow up. People of all ages respond to social cues and peer competition. It’s the way our br…

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What’s the matter with kids today? What makes them such noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy loafers? You can talk and talk until your face is blue, but they still just do what they want to do.

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When the Trump administration finally filled in the outlines of its infrastructure plan last week, many seemed to be disappointed to learn that only $200 billion of the proposed $1.5 trillion in expenditures over the next decade would come from federal coffers.

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The humorist P.J. O’Rourke once observed that “giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” Based on what Congress just did to “fix” the budget impasse in Washington, O’Rourke owes an apology to tipsy teens across America for the unfair comparison.

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Politicians in North Carolina and just about everywhere else in the United States seem fixated on attracting large companies to their states, often by any means necessary.