N.C. Republican Party chairman Tom Fetzer raised new questions this afternoon about the State Board of Elections' $100,000 fine of Democratic campaign donor Rusty Carter and panned the appointment of retiring Democratic Sen. David Hoyle as North Carolina's new revenue secretary.
Fetzer also assessed during a news conference at state GOP headquarters in Raleigh Republicans' chances of winning control of the General Assembly. Click play below to watch the 26:27 briefing.
The Cato Institute's annual report card on governors' fiscal policy is out, and our own Bev Perdue gets a gentlewoman's D from the libertarian policy group.
Perdue received a score of 41, the lowest of any Southern governor and nine points below the national average of 50. (You can download a PDF of the full report, including methodology, here.)
Here's how Cato's Chris Edwards summarizes Perdue's year:
Governor Perdue had only been in office a short time when she signed into law a giant package of tax increases to raise $1 billion a year. Middle-income earners were hit with a 2 percent surtax on their income taxes, while higher earners and corporations were hit with a 3 percent surtax. In addition, the state sales tax rate rose by one percentage point. These are supposed to be temporary tax increases, but temporary increases often become permanent. Perdue also broadened the sales tax base, increased the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, and hiked taxes on beer, wine, and liquor.
Seemingly oblivious to the damage caused by these large hikes, Perdue has recently toured the state to tout her plan to create jobs by providing narrow tax “incentives.”
If there's any consolation, the top-rated governor was -- yes - Mark Sanford of South Carolina. And the only Democrat to get an A, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, is in danger of losing his bid for a U.S. Senate seat.
As predicted, the state began doling out millions to Wireless Generation, a company that had ties to former governor Jim Hunt. Curiously, Hunt no longer serves on the WG Board of Advisors.
The one-year, $6 million grant will "expand the reading assessments pilot that began in 2009 into additional schools for grades K-3 and for at risk students in grades 4 and 5."
Update: There does not seem to be any hard feelings between Hunt and WG. Hunt and Wireless Generation CEO Larry Berger recently participated in an NBC Education Nation panel discussion titled, “A Fresh Start: Leveling the playing field before school begins.”
You might have heard about the recent controversy surrounding N.C. sheriffs and their potential access to the state's prescription drug database.
Daren Bakst argues that the current debate misses two key points. First, the state never should have set up a database. Second, no law enforcement agency should have access to its information, including the SBI.
Daren offers more detail here and in the video clip below.
George Leef's comment on today's Wonderland piece by Daniel Henninger is well taken. I would like to point out what I think is a crucial observation in Henninger's commentary. From the piece:
The United States doesn't have Eurosclerosis yet, but the Democratic Party does. That's because the party has welded itself forever to the public-sector unions, as the social democratic parties have in Europe (see the current wave of national strikes in Spain and France). Strong growth has no meaning to the public sector, so its foot soldiers don't waste time pushing it. Exhibit A is the Obama administration's abandonment of trade deals with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama. corrected
I was going to post Prof. Horwitz's article, but Roy beat me to it.
It's utterly astounding to see a famous economist (or any economist) arguing that war has the beneficial side-effect of stimulating the economy. Sure, it lowers unemployment, but if people are employed to do things that not only do not contribute to the production of goods and services that people enjoy, but leads to destruction, we are not accomplishing anything worthwhile.
I wonder if Krugman would say that building the pyramids in Egypt was economically good because it stimulated the economy -- or can he understand that it was a huge diversion of resources away from the production of things the people wanted into the production of things the rulers wanted?
I graduated from two large schools of education (University of Pittsburgh and the University of Virginia) and find the report to be spot on.
• [Professors of education] are far more likely to believe that the proper role of teacher is to be a “facilitator of learning” (84 percent) not a “conveyor of knowledge” (11 percent).
• Asked to choose between two competing philosophies of the role of teacher educator, 68 percent believe preparing students “to be change agents who will reshape education by bringing new ideas and approaches to the public schools” is most important; just 26 percent advocate preparing students “to work effectively within the realities of today’s public schools.”
• Only 24 percent believe it is absolutely essential to produce “teachers who understand how to work with the state’s standards, tests, and accountability systems.”
• Just 39 percent find it absolutely essential “to create teachers who are trained to address the challenges of high-needs students in urban districts.”
• Just 37 percent say it is absolutely essential to focus on developing “teachers who maintain discipline and order in the classroom.”
• The vast majority of education professors (83 percent) believe it is absolutely essential for public school teachers to teach 21st century skills, but just 36 percent say the same about teaching math facts, and 44 percent about teaching phonics in the younger grades. (p. 9.)
Professor Steve Horwitz has a great article on today's FEE in Brief, sent out by the Foundation for Economic Education. He takes on a rather silly and naive blog post by Paul Krugman which makes the claim, and from an economics perspective the sophomoric error, that war is wealth creating. Horwitz also takes on Krugman's claim that economics is amoral and therefore it is perfectly ok for economists to suggest that war, in extreme circumstances, might be a good anti-recession policy. Horwitz devastates Krugman's arguments:
When...we borrow from future generations to spend on goods and
services connected not to the desires of consumers, but rather to the
desire of the politically powerful to rain death and destruction on
other parts of the world, we are not allowing individuals the freedom to
do the things they think will make themselves better off. And we are
certainly not extending that freedom to those killed in the name of our
economy-enhancing war. At a very basic level, the idea that any kind of spending is desirable overlooks the fact that spending on war (and, I would argue, public works as well) actively preventsSending soldiers off to war...is almost by definition wealth-destroying, no matter what it does to
GDP or unemployment rates. The only way one can view economics
amorally, as Krugman wishes to, is if one is only concerned with total
GDP and not its composition. However, it is the composition of GDP, in
the sense of how well what we’ve produced matches consumer wants, that
ultimately matters for human well-being. It’s easy to create jobs and
generate spending, but those do not constitute economic growth, and they
are not necessarily indicators of human betterment. people from enhancing their wealth through production and exchange linked to consumer demand...
Daniel Henninger's Wall Street Journal column today correctly argues that economic growth is what the nation needs. Not "stimulus" or bailouts or innumerable special interest group projects or any other gimmick dreamed up in the White House.
Here's what he didn't say. Economic growth is something that occurs through the spontaneous order of the free market (what's left of it!). The government can't mandate it or catalyze it. All it can do is get out of the way. Stop absorbing vast amounts of money and resources for political projects. Stop inhibiting entrepreneurs with bogs of regulations. Stop helping parasitic lawyers and other interest groups that are bent on siphoning away profits from successful firms. Stop corporate welfare.
Doing those things is impossible for Democrats because their biggest support groups all depend on government redistribution.
Tracy Walsh, spokeswoman for Patient's First and breast cancer survivor, was on the road in NC this week with AFP's Spending Revolt tour. Part of the tour's message was that Health Care Reform was an irresponsible use of money, and needed to be repealed ASAP.
Tracy shared her story -- showing the personal side of health care. Her life was saved because of early screening. As a mother of five her primary concern once she found out she had pre-cancer in her early forties was living to raise her children, who then ranged in age from 6-14.
Her doctor gave her several options, and she and her husband chose the double mastectomy for her cure. Tracy told her doctors that she was so blessed during this time with the options, care, and support she had around her. That's when Dr. Cooper told her that under the stimulus plan that had recently passed future cancer patients would not be allowed the same options.
Health Care Reform posed similar problems. In the end, with government-run health care, the government, not you and your family, decides which treatment options you will receive.
What it comes down to, Tracy said, is how much the government thinks you are worth and consider how much productive life they think you have -- that's what decides your treatment. Likely, the cheapest option for them is what you will be assigned to take, even if it's not best for you and your family.
Unfortunate, but probably true. One reason this upcoming election is vitally important.
You know, I can't help but wonder if Tom Wilson got it right in yesterday's comic: