This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

State lawmakers could tackle a number of K-12 education issues during the legislative session that resumes next week. Terry Stoops outlines some of the key education items up for discussion this year during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Michael Lowrey questions whether the state has developed good criteria for choosing new toll road projects, and George Leef of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy addresses the misguided notion that most high school students should continue their education at four-year colleges and universities.

Plus you’ll hear highlights from legislative debates about the Advanced Placement U.S. history controversy and potential benefits of the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline.

New Carolina Journal Online features

This week’s Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features Roy Cordato’s analysis of the minimum wage’s impact on low-skilled workers.

Jon Sanders’ Daily Journal examines a new report that shows just how heavily the solar industry relies on taxpayer handouts.

Enough incentives already!

Really?  We’re back here again?  Evidently Job Development Investment Grants, historic preservation tax credits, and film incentives are all back on the table, because the governor thinks North Carolina needs them.

Dan Way, quoting Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, says it well in his latest Carolina Journal article.

“If it’s all just about money and incentives, that’s a poor place to be, I think, when you’re trying to negotiate to recruit,” Brown said. Instead, the goal is to create an atmosphere that attracts corporate suitors for education and tax policy reasons, not just sweetening the incentives pot to outbid other states.

And his article goes on,

“We’ve got an addiction to the incentive program we’re going to have to take a look at,” said state Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover.

Catlin is right, and everyone knows that you don’t help an addict by feeding his addition.  North Carolina needs to lower tax rates for all businesses, and create a more business-friendly environment across the board, rather than trying to pick winners and losers, something they’re really not very good at.  Forget targeted incentives.  If you build a better environment for all businesses, they will come.

National School Choice Week Message Even Gets to Cuomo

Next week is National School Choice Week across the nation, with over 11,000 events. Seems NY Gov. Cuomo is getting the message, and yesterday included school choice in his State of the State address. The message: SCHOOL CHOICE IS NEEDED AND WANTED.

Cuomo also proposed creating education tax-credits which, as the name suggests, allow people and businesses to claim tax-credits on donations made to educational scholarship organizations. Those organizations then dole out money to eligible students from low- to mid-income families to use toward private school tuition, among other things. Donations to public schools, school improvement organizations, and local education funds would also be eligible for tax credits under Cuomo’s plan.

By the way, there are over 20 events across North Carolina celebrating National School Choice Week. Click here and type in North Carolina as a key word for a complete list of celebrations.

A Raleigh event will host Bob Bowdon, President of Choice Media, and Director of “The Ticket.”  Bowdon and other experts will participate in  “School Choice in North Carolina and Across America: A Roundtable Discussion.”  There will also be a screening of his documentary film. Space still  available to attend. RSVP here!

Interpreting the NFL rule book

I personally think that the NFL rule book should be viewed as a living document, one that needs to change with the sentiments of the time. There is really no reason that these rules should not be flexible enough to accommodate different views about the proper inflation of a football. After all, it is highly likely that the NFL rules were mostly written a bunch of white guys, many of whom are now dead.

The economy is slightly better, so Obama demands more taxes

True to his unshakable belief in constantly growing government, Obama used his State of the Union Address to insist on more federal spending and more taxes on successful individuals and businesses. Hans Bader of Competitive Enterprise Institute runs down the depressing list of taxes in this post.

Most other industrialized nations have been reducing their tax burdens, but Obama won’t tolerate any such deviationism here. The US government must siphon more and more out of the productive sector and into the maw of the federal government so that he and his fellow statists can blow it on all kinds of things the feds shouldn’t be involved in at all — like universal pre-school and “free” community college.

Looking on the bright side, we have less than two more years to endure BHO. As Adam Smith observed, “there is much ruin in a nation.” Perhaps we will rebound from the years of statist pummeling.

Krugman and the ‘war on facts’

Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon notes with interest Keynesian commissar Paul Krugman’s latest jeremiad on conservatives and climate change.

Krugman, like everyone else, declares the climate debate over by noting that 2014 was, according to NASA, the warmest year since 1880 by a margin of about two-hundredths of a degree. Or, as the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson disingenuously writes: “the hottest year in recorded history.”

Krugman is angry that conservatives don’t agree with him on climate change, despite all the evidence, such as the fact that last year was slightly warmer than the next warmest year in the 134 years (out of 4,500,000,000) for which we have data. …

… But here’s the thing about Krugman’s (and ever other liberal pundit’s) “evidence” about the headline-friendly “hottest year on record” that Republicans are endangering humanity by “denying.” It is based on a significant amount of uncertainty. As NASA’s own report acknowledges: “Numerically, our best estimate for the global temperature of 2014 puts it slightly above (by 0.01C) that of the next warmest year (2010) but by much less than the margin of uncertainty.” [emphasis added]

“Therefore,” the report continues, “it is impossible to conclude from our analysis which of 2014, 2010, or 2005 was actually the warmest year… the Earth’s average temperature for the past decade has changed very little.” [emphasis added again]

In a way, Krugman is proving his own point about members of his own side. Liberal pundits won’t let a little scientific uncertainty get in the way of their gloomy prognostications about global warming. It certainly won’t stop Eugene Robinson from declaring last year the warmest in “recorded history,” which dates back much earlier than 1880, but sounds much scarier. No dogma here. Just the facts.

If Republicans were more clever, they could talk about climate change the way President Obama talks about everything, by trolling the more extreme, dogmatic elements of the left’s climate hysteria, and highlighting the absurdity of those who claim to understand something as infinitely complex as the climate with absolute certainty.

Protesting private life

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online takes aim at a recent spate of protests targeting people’s private lives and private spaces. Williamson contrasts these protests with the traditional complaints lodged at city hall or other government buildings and public spaces.

[T]he profoundly stupid “black brunch” protests, during which racial-grievance entrepreneurs disrupted meals at places that seemed to them offensively Caucasian (“white spaces”) are a different species of undertaking.

And a poorly informed one, at that: In New York City, protesters invaded the Pershing Square Café across the street from Grand Central Terminal, which is one of the more diverse spots in heavily segregated Manhattan, catering as it does to commuting 53-year-old lawyers from Fairfield County, who check any number of different demographic boxes.

The message these protests send is that there is no private space — and, therefore, no private life — so far as this particular rabble is concerned. It’s the familiar Trotsky conundrum: You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.

That the people at brunch have no real direct connection to the events motivating the protesters is beside the point. They were targeted on racial grounds: These were detestable “white spaces,” and the people there were to be punished for being white — even if they were not, in fact, white, their presence in “white spaces” makes them guilty by association. That the protesters were themselves largely white goes without saying: Protests of this sort are a prestige performance for stupid white college kids, mainly. If you want to see a genuinely “white space,” a protest is your best bet. …

… During the Civil Rights Movement — the real one, not the ersatz one led today by Jesse Jackson et al. — politics did genuinely intersect with brunch. On one side of the issue were people who argued that the social situation of African Americans at the time was so dire and so oppressive that invasive federal action was necessary. On the other side were well-intentioned conservatives such as Barry Goldwater and any number of writers for this magazine, who argued that if the reach of Washington were extended into every mom-and-pop diner in the country, it would constitute a step toward the abolition of private life, that the natural and inevitable extension of the principle at work would ensure that rather than being treated as private property, businesses reclassified as “public accommodations” would be treated more like public property, that the greasy snout of politics eventually would stick itself into every last precinct of what had been considered the sphere of privacy beyond the public sector.

As it turns out, both sides were right.