Voter fraud? Don’t tell the News & Observer

Betsy Rothstein of the Daily Caller highlights an amusing remark from longtime Clinton adviser and Democratic operative James Carville.

The man known as the Ragin’ Cajun has spoken.

Democratic strategist and avid Clinton supporter James Carville weighed in on the final presidential debate from New Orleans Wednesday night between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Appearing on MSNBC, Carville acknowledged to anchor Brian Williams, “Well, of course there will be some fraud.” [Emphasis added.]

Huh? …

… And then….will this thing be rigged like Trump says it will be?

“To the question of will there be fraud?” he asked. “Well, of course there will be some fraud. You couldn’t have 130, 140 million people do something perfectly.”

Mr. Carville apparently avoids reading the Raleigh News & Observer, which routinely downplays voter fraud in stories about North Carolina’s voter ID requirement. Of course, Carville is not alone when he makes his more well-informed assessment.

Heck, even a liberal lion of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens, once wrote, Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of voter fraud that has been documented by historians and journalists.”

The need for ‘Reaganesque’ tax reforms

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas writes at National Review Online about the need for significant federal tax reform.

Thirty years ago this week President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986, landmark legislation recognized as the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in our nation’s history. Upon signing the bill into law, President Reagan described the new tax code as one “designed to take us into a future of technological invention and economic achievement, one that will keep America competitive and growing into the 21st century.”

True to these words, the American economy saw remarkable improvements as our nation led the way in developing breakthrough products and technologies. But our tax code also has changed significantly since 1986 — and not for the better. Unlike the American inventions and achievements that have expanded horizons of possibility, our nation’s tax code has become an excessive burden that strangles individual opportunity and economic freedom.

Over the past decade alone, more than 4,400 changes have been made to the U.S. tax code. That equals more than one change per day. Meanwhile, our nation’s tax laws have come to fill more than 70,000 pages, forcing taxpayers to spend an incredible amount of time and money preparing their tax returns each year. A recent study by the Tax Foundation projects that Americans will devote over 8.9 billion hours to complying with IRS tax-filing requirements in 2016.

House Republicans believe that now is the time to move forward with bold, pro-growth tax reform. That’s why, earlier this year, we put forward a detailed blueprint for comprehensive tax reform that will lift the burdens on families and job creators and propel our nation into a new era of economic prosperity and leadership.

This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Conservative government reformers have made great strides in North Carolina in recent years. The John Locke Foundation’s 20th-anniversary Agenda document outlines dozens of ways reformers can make other positive changes in taxation, education, health care, and other core areas of state government. Roy Cordato discusses the JLF Agenda during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Barry Smith offers updates on two of his recent Carolina Journal stories. One involves the aftermath of a court ruling against the state Map Act, while the other highlights a local government decision limiting the Durham Rescue Mission’s ability to develop its property. The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors responds to a report from Matthew Pellish of the Education Advisory Board about performance-based budgeting in higher education.

Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute discusses the potential impact of the 2016 election on the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. Plus State Auditor Beth Wood details common problems from audits conducted for programs and agencies across N.C. state government.

New Carolina Journal Online features

Barry Smith reports for Carolina Journal Online on a free-speech advocate’s response to recent protests involving college band members and the national anthem.

Michael Lowrey’s Daily Journal explores the links between a recent decline in retail sales and local government policies.

Does North Carolina have a sales tax or a cascade tax

North Carolina has a sales tax, right? A sales tax is supposed to tax the final sale of goods and services and only the final sales. But the fact is that our sales tax applies not only to final sales but also to business to business sales–that is to sales from one stage of production to another, which causes what is known as a cascading effect, leading to a tax rate on final sales that is actually higher than the statutory sales tax rate. From here’s how it works.

DEFINITION of ‘Cascade Tax’

A tax that is levied on a good at each stage of the production process up to the point of being sold to the final consumer. A cascade tax is a type of turnover tax with each successive transfer being taxed inclusive of any previous cascade taxes being levied. Because each successive turnovers includes the taxes of all previous turnovers, the end tax amount will be greater than the cascade tax rate.


Cascade tax can create higher tax revenues compared to a single stage tax, because tax is imposed on top of tax.
For example, a government levies a 2% cascade tax on all goods produced and distributed. A company sells $1,000 worth of stone for a tax-inclusive price of $1,020 ($1000 + 2% cascade tax) to an artist. The artist makes a sculpture out of the stone and wants to make $2,000 when he sells it to an art dealer, so he adds this figure to what he paid for the stone to get $3,020, and then adds on the cascade tax to bring the total to get $3,080 ($3020 + 2%). The art dealer wants to make $5,000 for the sculpture, adding this to $3,080 for a pre-tax $8,080. She then adds the 2% cascade tax for a total price of $8,242. The government collected taxes of $242, which is actually a rate of 3.025% ($242/$8,000).

Maybe instead of trying to find ways of extending the sales tax to services the more important fix that the tax needs is to get rid of this cascading effect by abolishing the tax for business-to-business sales.

Let’s have freedom without the but-face

Eric Rowell’s column this week in the Herald Weekly (serving Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson), opens this way:

Have you ever heard someone say something along the lines of “I’m all for free speech, but …”

Unfortunately, yes, I have — too frequently, and usually from those who don’t believe in free speech at all. I call that particular formulation “but-face” after this scene from “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”:

buffy butface1

buffy butface2

Here are some examples:

Barack Obama:

Here in America, we know the free market is the greatest force for economic progress the world has ever known. But —

Hillary Clinton:

There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But —

John Kerry:

I respect the Second Amendment, and I will not tamper with the Second Amendment. But —

In practice, but-face is appearing to champion the principles of freedom before saying “but,” then

proceed[ing] as if the phrase preceding the “but” was a lie they just invalidated, a verbal crossing of fingers behind their backs.

Which suggests to me they know people believe in freedom, so they have to attack it indirectly. And what better way to do so than in the guise of defending freedom?




CMS parents want neighborhood schools

Members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education have considered using busing to promote racial and socioeconomic diversity.  But it appears that CMS parents from every walk of life do not support that idea.

Ann Doss Helms of the Charlotte Observer writes,

MeckEd said neighborhood schools consistently emerged as a high priority: “Whether from a struggling, largely African American community, or a high performing, well resourced, predominantly white community, the consensus is that everyone deserves a good school reasonably close to where they live and that bus rides of an hour or longer are not an effective way to address issues related to diversity, equity, and access to a quality education (unless it is a parent/student choice).”

MeckEd’s findings are pretty compelling, but there is no guarantee that members of the school board will act on those findings.

A Different Kind of College Guide

Heterodox Academy describes itself as:

A politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities.

We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.

To reverse this process, we have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.

It recently announced the publication of the Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges, which:

Rates America’s top 150 universities (as listed by US News and World Reports) … according to their commitment to viewpoint diversity. Is it a place where you are likely to encounter a variety of views on politically controversial topics? Or do school policies – or the students themselves– impose a rigid political orthodoxy that punishes dissenting opinions and creates a climate in which students are afraid to speak up, even in seminar classes?

If you or your children are applying to college (or if you want to find where your alma mater stands in the rankings), check it out.