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Relief can become a trap

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist Is unemployment ever voluntary? I don’t ask the question in order to blame unemployed people for their fate. On the contrary, understanding the full range of causes of unemployment is required before policymakers can effectively combat it. I’ll bet you know at least one person who…

On Bipartisan redistricting

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Some Republicans winced when presidential front-runner Donald Trump announced his intention to deport approximately 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally. For many, the wince was about simple impracticality. For others, however, resistance was in part about politics: Did the Republican Party, which has a hard time getting…

Session comes into focus

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist Since Republicans won majorities in the North Carolina House and Senate in 2010, each subsequent legislative session has been dramatic and consequential. Lawmakers have reformed the tax code, reworked the state budget, replenished state savings accounts, rewritten regulations, reshaped Medicaid and unemployment insurance, restructured the planning…

Why is the ABC commission still a thing?

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NIC HAAG Guest Columnist The Old North State, one of the 13 original colonies, and home to the 82nd Airborne, is one of the most proud and patriotic states in the nation. Yet the North Carolina government promotes an economic practice more likely found in Stalin’s Russia than a pro-business…

OUR VIEW — The president’s sandbox

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President Barack Obama wants us all to play nice. According to The New York Times headline about Obama’s final State of the Union address, “Obama’s plea to ‘fix our politics’ leaves both sides looking inward.’” It’s doubtful that there’s much soul-searching going on in Washington after Obama’s speech, and the…

Need both sides in drilling debate

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist As a state government reporter, I’ve covered hundreds of committee meetings and legislative debates during the past six years. I’m bothered when I leave one of those events with the feeling that the discussion was one-sided, especially when the issue is highly controversial. It doesn’t happen…

European history lessons for North Carolinians

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D.G. MARTIN Syndicated Columnist What does a new 800-page history of 20th Century Europe have to do with North Carolina politics of the 21st Century? First, a few words about the book itself, “Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century,” by UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Konrad…

NC sets a good example

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist If you think government is too large and wields too much power, then you have plenty of reasons to be dismayed by recent national developments. But if you live in North Carolina, there is some good news mixed in with the bad. Since the onset of…

OUR VIEW — Hatley takes the reins

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Lincolnton Mayor Ed Hatley, in just a few months since his election in November, has proven himself to be a positive force for the city. Hatley has already voted more times than former mayor John Gilleland did during his entire tenure on the council (the mayor only votes to break…

Powerball a boom for state

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist Fueled by a nearly $1 billion Powerball jackpot, Saturday, Jan. 8, set a single-day record for lottery ticket sales in North Carolina – a whopping $23.3 million. Of that, hopeful players in the Tar Heel state spent $17.2 million on Powerball alone. That day shattered the…