Gerrymandering: The next ice-bucket challenge?

Whoever came up with the ALS ice bucket challenge deserves to be enshrined in the marketing hall of fame. It accomplished the dual purpose of focusing attention on Lou Gehrig’s disease while also raising millions of dollars for finding a cure. It caused us to ponder how we might...

On roasting marshmallows, the deficit and your family

Uncle Sam claims to knows best — even how best to cook. At least, that’s what is claimed based on a report this week from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Last Friday the Forest Service published an article about how to roast marshmallows. Tips included using a roasting...

Many unknowns as private organization takes over job recruiting

By this time next month, a private, nonprofit corporation will have opened its doors at a small office building in Cary with a big mission — recruiting jobs to North Carolina and promoting the travel and tourism, film and sports industries. The Economic Development Partnership of...

UNC system makes progress

When Republicans won their legislative majorities in 2010 and expanded them in 2012, they ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism and reform. They’ve largely delivered on it. Tax and regulatory burdens are lower. State spending growth has been restrained. Lawmakers have...

What are the tradeoffs where we live?

My wife and I enjoy watching the TV program House Hunters on the HGTV network. It’s about first-time homebuyers navigating their way through purchasing a home. The ultimate decision comes down to three homes, with the suspense culminating in the final choice. Each show follows a...

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...