The closest thing in the Carolina mind to manna from heaven is water from the garden hose. People have long thought that since it falls from above, it ought to be cheap and free-flowing. Our fescue needs a drink. We like our cars squeaky clean. Long showers wake us up in the morning. But as soon as a drought hits, we are forced to implement water restrictions, bans and other Soviet-style rationing schemes. Isn't there a better way?
Newsflash: Health insurance is expensive. OK, so that’s not news to anyone. But what may be news to you is why insurance premiums are so high. A common explanation is that health insurance and drug companies are greedy. This narrative is used to justify more intervention in healthcare markets by both state and federal governments. Some familiar voices are even calling for a socialized system like Cuba’s.
Writing in praise of landfills is not the easiest way to win friends and influence people. Indeed, most people wouldn’t believe that dumping is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly form of solid waste management going. But not only have landfill technologies improved over the years, making them safer, owners have figured out how to put more trash into less space.
North Carolinians who are still convinced that targeted incentives like those approved for Goodyear and other corporations are a good idea should start thinking outside the golden begging bowl. I know, I know -- some jobs will be spared by state aid to big tiremakers. But consider what's lost.
Rumors about a special transportation session for the Legislature are bubbling in Raleigh. Attending such rumors is a pervasive myth about how roads, bridges and highways will have to be funded. For example, David Ingram writing in the Observer says: “Policymakers in Raleigh can raise the taxes that pay for infrastructure, such as the gas tax, at the risk of alienating many voters. Or they can cut money from other programs, such as health care for the poor.” It’s true that our transportation system is broken. What’s not true, however, is that roads must be fixed at the expense of welfare programs or else new taxes.
This year’s $20.7 billion budget largely neglected core infrastructure needs, choosing instead to expand state funding on many programs that will benefit special interests. This neglect is no more obvious than in the area of transportation. While a number of transportation bills were offered during the 2007 legislative session, most were overlooked or shelved for subsequent sessions.
The 2007-2008 General Assembly Session resulted in the passage of a budget, as well as a number of other bills, that increased funding for a number of environmental initiatives with little to no benefit.
This article was originailly published in the Fayetteville Observer, August 2007 We are often treated to editorials about "desperately needed" programs like children’s Medicaid. This year’s state budget expanded the program to 300 percent of poverty via a program called N.C. Kids’ Care. But do working families in North Carolina really need these programs? Contrary [...]
Are you willing to pay higher electricity rates to support renewable energy? If so, you're one of only about 10,000 people in North Carolina who is. That's because the well-publicized N.C. Green Power program has given state residents an ample opportunity to buy power derived from sources such as solar, wind and hog waste. Yet only 10,000 have signed up, or about .01 percent of the population. As a referendum on renewable energy, N.C. Green Power is a pretty clear indication North Carolinians aren't interested.
North Carolina’s proposed budget for the next biennium is peppered with nods to Big Green. As the following highlights from the House budget (HB 1473) reveal, these measures show that the state is embracing bad economics in an attempt to save mother earth: