Is the economy recession prone?

Most of us focus on decisions affecting our daily lives — earning an income, spending, investing and looking ahead to our retirement. Businesses face similar choices about production, advertising, workers and pricing. Economists call these types of choices microeconomic...

Licensing boards protect businesses, not consumers

Professional licensing boards are prevalent in states across the country and pretend to be consumer protection agencies. But in reality, such boards were established as — and continue to be — political tools to protect the current class of professionals and businesses from...

There has to be a better way to run a state

Exhausted legislators finally saw the closing gavel and heard the fat lady sing the “sine die,” followed quickly by the Hallelujah chorus striking up the perennial tune, “There has to be a better way to run a state.” Republicans sang that song when Democrats ran things. Now the...

Incumbents squash challengers in fundraising

Chalk it up as another way that incumbent legislators in general have a distinct advantage over challengers in N.C. General Assembly races this and every other election year. Besides the name recognition and the drawing of legislative districts to favor one political party over...

From poet to potter, and that’s OK

The recent flap about Gov. McCrory’s probably well-meaning, but totally clueless appointment of a new North Carolina poet laureate (who later resigned) sent me for a look back at my own skimpy collection of published poems. It’s been years since I’ve written any poetry other than...

Alternative energy failures abroad should serve as warning

At $3.65 a gallon, gas is already expensive enough. Now imag-ine paying an additional carbon tax every time you fill up. That’s what a new report from the United Nations has recommended. To combat global climate change, the United Nations has urged governments everywhere to...

Sticking with the winning playbook

Gov. Pat McCrory and some Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly say they need more tools for economic development in North Carolina — by which they mean targeted tax breaks and corporate subsidies. They often point to South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and other...

It’s not the love, it’s the taxes

For years, North Carolina has offered generous tax breaks to production crews filming here — breaks not offered to other businesses. The breaks are scheduled to expire at the end of this year, thanks to last year’s tax reform. Recent news articles spotlighting reactions to this...

Millions of voters won’t have a choice on Election Day

As part of my job, I look each day at a 2014 state House or Senate race. All 170 General Assembly districts are up for grabs this year. I look at the makeup of voters, voting trends in the districts, results from recent elections and the candidates and the money they are raising...

How big a burden is registering to vote?

The left has been howling about how the new voter reform law will discriminate against minority and young voters. Being a politically active college student myself, I decided to find out how hard it is to register to vote. Dreading what I had come to believe was the horrible...

A cynic’s guide to shutting down the short session

The curtains could come down on the General Assembly’s short session in the next week or two, about a month later than legislative leaders predicted before the 2014 session started. But just in case, and for future reference, here are five cynical ways to end the short session...

Credit claims are poorly scripted

When liberals debate tax policy, it can be hard to keep track of their current positions. They keep changing. Right now, for example, Democratic politi-cians and left-wing activists are castigating Re-publicans in the General Assembly for proposing a reduction or elimination of...