May 18, 2009
Revaluation bills pending
Posted by David N. Bass at 4:45 PM
Two bills are pending in the General Assembly that would allow counties to delay their property revaluations.
One of the bills applies to Alamance County only, where residents, similar to some others, are upset over revaluations that could mean a hike in property taxes.
The "embattled" N.C. Rep. Cary Allred, R-Alamance, introduced a bill that would delay Alamance's reappraisal to, at the latest, 2011. The bill was referred to the House Finance Committee last week.
A second bill, sponsored by Rep. Nelson Cole, D-Rockingham, would amend statutory law specifically to allow all counties to rescind their revaluations. It's also assigned to the finance committee.
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:58 PM
Property rights became a contentious issue at John Hood's Shaftesbury talk today. Serendipitously, Russ Robert discusses the topic with Michele Boldrin on this week's EconTalk. John Hood likes intellectual property, Prof. Boldrin calls it "intellectual monopoly."
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:17 PM
Mark Binker at the News & Record says the House will not get down to details on the budget until after Memorial Day, with the blind passage occurring the week of June 8.
In other budget news, the state's weak and weakening cash position has meant even less investment revenue, Lee Weisbecker reported in the Triangle Business Journal (not online). Short-term paper and money market funds generated $189 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2008, but returns for the current fiscal year are down 45 percent, to just $104 million.
RE: Fight...for your right...to protest
Posted by David N. Bass at 1:37 PM
I find it interesting what the pro-Obama attendees at the Notre Dame commencement ceremony had to say in response to a pro-life protester:
[Obama's] 31-minute speech was interrupted early by a man shouting "abortion is murder," but the student body shouted the man down, chanting Mr. Obama's campaign slogan, "Yes, we can."
Yes we can what? Destroy the unborn? Is that what the president considers "open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words" on the abortion issue?
Waltzing with Hayek
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:35 PM
If you've never pictured Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek dancing the 1-2-3, 1-2-3 of the waltz ... you're still not going to see that picture in your head after reading this blog entry.
Nonetheless, John Locke Foundation President John Hood used his latest Shaftesbury Society presentation today to tie Hayek's work and thought process to the development of the waltz.
Click play below for a snippet of that presentation.
2:30 p.m. update: Watch the full 46:08 recording by clicking the play button below.
You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.
Fight...for your right...to protest
Posted by Jon Ham at 1:18 PM
Every time there's a lefty-lib protest on a college campus, presidents and chancellors cluck their tongues and seem to say that the offending students were just exercising their rights under the First Amendment, and that we shouldn't be so harsh on them. UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp's tepid reaction to the mob that disrupted a recent speech by Tom Tancredo is a perfect example.
But let a group that opposes a lefty cause celebre do something similar (though not nearly as disruptively) and the tolerant academics are in high dudgeon. The minor disruption by anti-abortion protesters at President Obama's speech at Notre Dame this weekend brought this from Trinity Washington University President Patricia McGuire (emphasis added):
The real scandal is the spectacle of ostensibly Catholic mobs
camping out at Notre Dame for the specific purpose of disrupting the
commencement address of the nation’s first African American president.
This ugly spectacle is an embarrassment to all Catholics. The face that
Catholicism shows to our new president should be one marked with the sign of peace, not distorted in the snarl of hatred.”
McGuire continued, “The religious vigilantism
apparent in the Notre Dame controversy arises from organizations that
have no official standing with the church, but who are successful in
gaining media coverage as if they were speaking for Catholicism. . . .
They have established themselves as uber-guardians of a belief system we can hardly recognize.
Academic tolerance of protests, it seems, is very, er, situational.
So long, Mary?
Posted by Jon Ham at 12:29 AM
WRAL reports that N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger has asked for Mary Easley's resignation:
North Carolina State University Chancellor James Oblinger on Monday
asked for the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley to leave her university
The move comes in the wake of the resignation of two N.C.
State officials and federal and state investigations into the former
governor's dealings with friends and campaign donors.
said her resignation would be in the university's best interests and
that he had discussed the issue with her. He declined to comment
further, calling it a personnel issue.
Mary Easley couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Last year, Mary Easley discussed her "unique" qualifications for the job, and its value to the university. Oblinger must have decided that they were not of that much value to the university after all.
Join us on Facebook
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:04 AM
Be sure to join the John Locke Foundation Facebook group and become a friend on our Facebook page. We'll be interacting more, posting photos from events and getting your thoughts. The JLF page and group are also great ways to keep track of Carolina Journal, our blogs, watch some of our videos, and stay informed about upcoming events.
Governors Behind Bars
Posted by David N. Bass at 08:23 AM
Paul Chesser provides a good synopsis of the events surrounding the Easley debacle here.
Meanwhile, the former governor says he is "comfortable" with the FBI probing his travel records:
"I am comfortable with the federal authorities collecting and reviewing all records relating to my 30 years of public service to the people of North Carolina," Easley said. "I am confident of the outcome, and we look forward to moving on with our private lives."
On the NCAE teacher rally
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:36 AM
On Saturday, the North Carolina Association of Educators held a rally to protest proposed budget cuts.
I guess I had the same reaction as others. NCAE endorsed/supported/campaigned for Perdue and got what they paid for. Same goes for the Department of Public Instruction employees that supported the current leadership in the legislature but now face the possibility of significant cuts to the department.
Interesting use of the ‘conservatives are bad’ template
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:51 AMThe latest TIME includes a piece that takes familiar pot shots at conservatives:
The priority of the party's leaders ultimately wasn't to suppress a rebellion but to settle a power struggle between conservative and liberal factions. [The country]'s hard-liners had tried for years to derail the economic and political innovations that [a liberal reformer] had introduced; [a bloody government crackdown], [the liberal reformer] demonstrates in his journal, gave the conservatives a pretext to set the clock back.
The brackets are mine. I wanted you to have a chance to read the paragraph before learning that the country was China, the liberal reformer Zhao Ziyang, and the bloody government crackdown the 20-year Tiananmen Square massacre.
It’s interesting that the “evil” conservatives in this case were the illiberal, totalitarian, big-government statists, the most devoted fans of dictatorial Communist rule — in other words, the kind of people American conservatives fought for decades.
These Chinese “conservatives” believed (and still believe) the government should have a hand in every industry, every home, every decision.
Words to live by
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:50 AMRamesh Ponnuru’s contribution to National Review’s health-care issue includes at least one timeless observation. Ponnuru applies the observation to public support for “universal” health coverage, but it’s a line we should keep in mind any time a politician cites public support for a goal that would require major sacrifices from taxpayers:
When people say that they want to achieve a goal but not any of the means to achieve it, they are not all that attached to the goal.
Real health-care reform
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:49 AMAmong the experts contributing to a special National Review issue dedicated to health care is
Regina Herzlinger, a former John Locke Foundation
Here’s a portion of her latest prescription:
On the supply side, providers currently are compensated for conforming to cookbook recipes for delivering fragments of care. These practices are not cost-effective and inhibit innovation. And because providers lack economic incentives to provide the best value for the money, patients receive suboptimal, unnecessarily expensive care.
Effecitve health-care reform would motivate consumers to shop carefully for insurance polices that offer the best value for the money while giving providers incentives to supply the best value for the money.
Another fine mess
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:47 AMIt’s pretty clear how Jane Sasseen of Business Week feels about federal government meddling in financial-sector compensation:
With the threat of a financial meltdown receding, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has a new project: reining in the pay of bankers, traders, and other financial players.
Good luck with that.
[P]ast efforts by regulators to limit executive pay have never made much of a dent. The current push may not be more successful.
Unlike the Obama administration officials pushing for new regulation, Sasseen foresees the possibility of unintended consequences:
One case of unintended consequences: the Clinton Administration's 1993 efforts to curb executive pay by limiting companies' tax deductions for salaries over $1 million. A loophole allowed unlimited, fully deductible pay in the form of options — and the Gilded Age of lush executive comp was ushered in.
Why might bureaucrats ignore warnings about unintended consequences? Mises might say it’s in their nature, since every socialist is a disguised dictator.
Public pension plans
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AMJohn Hood has highlighted the problems associated with an underfunded state employee pension plan in the Tar Heel State (a problem also addressed in Joe Coletti’s Back to Basics budget plan).
The latest Fortune demonstrates how failure to address the pension problem has hurt the Garden State.
As if bringing back Keynes weren't bad enough
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:45 AMNow former President Clinton is touting the discredited ideas of Thomas Malthus:
Clinton believes that putting girls in school and giving them access to microcredit, capital, and labor markets will temper both the birth rate and climate change. "We need to find a morally acceptable way to slow down the population explosion in the countries that can't take care of the people they've got now."
Maybe the former president ought to read The Ultimate Resource.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:38 AM
Th week's first Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Jim Stegall's report about the concerns reformers and state workers have about this year's temporary patch of the State Employee Health Plan.
John Hood's Daily Journal makes the case for a simpler tax system, so simple that each taxpayer's burden could be boiled down to a single bill.
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