Opinion & Commentary

Opinion: COVID Response Creates Policy Options

August 26, 2020

By John Hood RALEIGH — Although working from home provides a great deal of flexibility and potential benefits, professional and personal, most of us don’t want to make it our default setting — even after, or perhaps because of, being ordered to work from home this spring during the initial response to the COVID-19 crisis. The specific percentages vary by survey instrument, but the trend is unmistakable. Most people who’ve telecommuted this year have liked some aspects of it. They want the option to, say, work a few hours a week or a few days a month from home. But…

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Opinion: Spy and statesman fought for freedom

August 25, 2020

by John Hood Whether Democrat Yvonne Holley or Republican Mark Robinson wins the 2020 race for lieutenant governor, North Carolinians will be electing the first African-American candidate to that post. But the victor won’t be the first black North Carolinian elected to a Council of State office. That was Ralph Campbell, the longtime Raleigh city councilman elected state auditor in 1992. Even before that, Henry Frye became the first black member of the North Carolina Supreme Court, having been appointed in 1983 and then elected statewide in 1984. If you follow state politics closely, you already know all that. But…

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Opinion: Survey points to mental health damage caused by COVID-19

August 24, 2020

by Jordan Roberts The COVID-19 response in America has focused on several fronts. The main goals are stopping the spread of the virus, mitigating economic damages, and creating a vaccine or discovering therapeutics. A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights another area of concern, one that could challenge communities, the health care industry, and public health officials for some time after the virus subsides: mental health issues. America was facing a mental health crisis before the pandemic started. Our nation’s youngest, in particular, were already seeing the fastest rise in mental health-related issues. This unsettling…

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Opinion: Marxism Remains a Dangerous Idea

August 21, 2020

by John Hood Marxism is one of the most catastrophic ideas in history. Tyrants and butchers inspired by the noxious notions of Karl Marx — including such successors as Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot — are responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million of our fellow human beings, as well as the enslavement and immiseration of many hundreds of millions more. So, why do we allow such a dangerous idea to be taught? In this age of historical revisionism, social unrest, and “cancel culture,” shouldn’t we seek to cancel Marxism itself? There are professors right here…

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Column: Comparing N.C.’s responses to Spanish Flu and COVID-19

August 20, 2020

by Brenée Goforth History repeats itself, but with slight variations. The high-rise jeans of today’s Tik Tok teens hit different than the stiff acid-washed denim from the 1980s, but they elicit déjà vu nonetheless. Likewise, the global pandemic of today is a somewhat different monster than the one that ravaged the world more than 100 years ago, but there are still many similarities. In the late 1910s, when the Spanish Flu shook the country, people used similar mitigation methods like those we use today: They wore masks, entered quarantines, and studied vaccines. But not everything was the same. Masks As…

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Bowling alley case reminds us about important fruits

August 19, 2020

by Mitch Kokai Regardless of the outcome of a lawsuit pitting N.C. bowling alley owners against Gov. Roy Cooper, the case already has offered us an important reminder about North Carolinians’ fundamental rights. The trial judge in the case focused attention on people’s right to “the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor.” That right means governments in this state should face a steep hurdle when considering restrictions on our ability to earn a living. We learn as school kids that the Declaration of Independence spells out Americans’ unalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The…

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Opinion: Summer polls are flawed predictors

August 18, 2020

by John Hood In this year that sometimes feels like a decade, North Carolinians have yet to cast a single general-election ballot for president or other offices. But I’m seeing lots of politicos and pundits making confident predictions about the state’s key electoral contests based on data from recent voter surveys. You can count me out of that game. I’ve seen too many North Carolina races narrow in the homestretch. Using summertime polls to predict November outcomes is fraught with peril. This is certainly true with regard to the presidential race. North Carolina has proved to be a key battleground…

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Wendy Rouse Jackson: Clean energy is critical to NC’s recovery

August 17, 2020

by Wendy Rouse Jackson Pursuing clean energy and upholding conservative principles are not contradictory goals; in fact, the two are quite complementary. Saving energy, reducing our reliance on foreign resources and protecting taxpayers — all benefits of domestic clean energy production — align perfectly with the fiscal goals of conservativism. So does supporting existing clean energy jobs in our state as part of our post-pandemic recovery efforts, both here in North Carolina and across the country. As Congress looks to pass further stimulus funding in the face of the pandemic, it is critical that its workforce-focused initiatives include clean energy…

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Opinion: ‘If I die in Raleigh, at least I will die free’: Well, not exactly

August 17, 2020

by John Trump Ketch Secor of the energetic American roots band Old Crow Medicine Show and a few of his talented friends streamed a concert from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry this past weekend. In eloquent music parlance, they killed it. One song, “Wagon Wheel,” though overplayed and over covered — Darius Rucker remade it — thrust Old Crow into the national spotlight. The band picked up and finished the song, which Bob Dylan started years ago, and made it iconic. The song is about a musician and busted poker player “running from the cold up in New…

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Opinion: Extending unemployment benefits in N.C., and the president’s offer

August 14, 2020

by Joe Coletti President Trump signed a number of executive orders to circumvent a congressional impasse over another round of government relief and stimulus. Yuval Levin and Adam C. White provide a detailed critique of this return to Obama-era policymaking without regard to the constitutional issues. Their critique does not let Congress off the hook for the mess. From a state policy perspective, the most important of the orders is the one on “lost wages assistance.” Federally funded unemployment payments of $600 per week expired at the end of July. Other federal benefits will continue until Dec. 27, but this…

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