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Regardless of whether you think the National Endowment for the Arts is a wonderful organization deserving taxpayer support or an example of the federal government exceeded its proper bounds, I'm willing to bet you believe the NEA plays a bigger role in funding the arts than it actually does.
Regardless of whether you think the National Endowment for the Arts is a wonderful organization deserving taxpayer support or an example of the federal government exceeded its proper bounds, I'm willing to bet you believe the NEA plays a bigger role in funding the arts than it actually does.
 
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.
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.
 
It may be hard to believe given the results of this fall's municipal elections, but not so long ago Republicans competed effectively with Democrats for political offices in North Carolina's largest cities.
It may be hard to believe given the results of this fall's municipal elections, but not so long ago Republicans competed effectively with Democrats for political offices in North Carolina's largest cities.
 
Two recent media reports have cast a spotlight on the potential "pay to play" problem with government contractors who are also donors to political campaigns.
Two recent media reports have cast a spotlight on the potential "pay to play" problem with government contractors who are also donors to political campaigns.
 
North Carolina is about to run a political experiment. You and other potential voters will determine its outcome.
North Carolina is about to run a political experiment. You and other potential voters will determine its outcome.
 
Pat McCrory, Roy Cooper, Richard Burr, and many other confirmed or potential candidates for statewide office in North Carolina have plans. They have strategies. They have backers, and staffers, and plenty of ideas for how best to win their elections in November of 2016.
Pat McCrory, Roy Cooper, Richard Burr, and many other confirmed or potential candidates for statewide office in North Carolina have plans. They have strategies. They have backers, and staffers, and plenty of ideas for how best to win their elections in November of 2016.
 
Over the past 12 months, North Carolina has experienced faster income growth than the rest of the country, regardless of whether that growth is measured as average income per person or median income by household.
Over the past 12 months, North Carolina has experienced faster income growth than the rest of the country, regardless of whether that growth is measured as average income per person or median income by household.
 
Over the next 12 months, expect to hear a great deal about the "Carolina Comeback." It will be the reelection theme for Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican leaders.
Over the next 12 months, expect to hear a great deal about the "Carolina Comeback." It will be the reelection theme for Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican leaders.
 
Over the past five years, North Carolina has become a more attractive place to work, live, invest, and do business.
Over the past five years, North Carolina has become a more attractive place to work, live, invest, and do business.
 
The election night tally back in 1988 showed that Jim Martin was the first Republican to win re-election as governor of North Carolina in the 20th century
The election night tally back in 1988 showed that Jim Martin was the first Republican to win re-election as governor of North Carolina in the 20th century
 
When the Affordable Care Act passed Congress in 2010, analysts from the Congressional Budget Office, the federal agency overseeing Medicare and Medicaid, and private-sector allies released estimates for how many Americans would enroll in ACA-exchange plans over the ensuing years
When the Affordable Care Act passed Congress in 2010, analysts from the Congressional Budget Office, the federal agency overseeing Medicare and Medicaid, and private-sector allies released estimates for how many Americans would enroll in ACA-exchange plans over the ensuing years
 
Frustrated by how long it takes for a good idea, or even just a passable one, to gain traction and momentum in today's Washington, D.C.
Frustrated by how long it takes for a good idea, or even just a passable one, to gain traction and momentum in today's Washington, D.C.
 
Did you hear that 15 percent of North Carolina's public schoolteachers left the profession last year, and that conditions are so bad that teachers are leaving our state in droves to teach somewhere else?
Did you hear that 15 percent of North Carolina's public schoolteachers left the profession last year, and that conditions are so bad that teachers are leaving our state in droves to teach somewhere else?
 
"Prediction is very difficult," said physicist Niels Bohr, "especially if it's about the future."
"Prediction is very difficult," said physicist Niels Bohr, "especially if it's about the future."
 
While North Carolina's unemployment rate currently stands at just under 6 percent, some argue that problems in the state's labor market are worse than that one statistic would indicate.
While North Carolina's unemployment rate currently stands at just under 6 percent, some argue that problems in the state's labor market are worse than that one statistic would indicate.
 
Republicans' recent success in North Carolina politics can be traced in many ways to the example set by Jim Martin. That's one of the key themes of a new biography focusing on the state's only two-term GOP governor of the 20th century.
Republicans' recent success in North Carolina politics can be traced in many ways to the example set by Jim Martin. That's one of the key themes of a new biography focusing on the state's only two-term GOP governor of the 20th century.
 
I have a theory about presidential politics and the 2016 election. It has the virtue of fitting much of the data currently available. Another of the theory's virtues is that it can readily generate a couple of plausible scenarios for how the primary season may play out among...
I have a theory about presidential politics and the 2016 election. It has the virtue of fitting much of the data currently available. Another of the theory's virtues is that it can readily generate a couple of plausible scenarios for how the primary season may play out among...
 
Anyone who writes or comments about politics will make predictions that fail to come true. I certainly have.
Anyone who writes or comments about politics will make predictions that fail to come true. I certainly have.
 
As a longtime observer of the North Carolina legislature, I have a pet peeve: lawmakers, lobbyists, and reporters alike focus too much attention on the General Fund of the state budget, those expenditures funded largely by state taxes on incomes and retail sales.
As a longtime observer of the North Carolina legislature, I have a pet peeve: lawmakers, lobbyists, and reporters alike focus too much attention on the General Fund of the state budget, those expenditures funded largely by state taxes on incomes and retail sales.
 
Think politics has taken a nasty turn? You're certainly not alone. Too many politicians and activists resort too often to personal insults and the character assassination of their adversaries rather than crafting, articulating, and defending a substantive agenda for addressing difficult issues...
Think politics has taken a nasty turn? You're certainly not alone. Too many politicians and activists resort too often to personal insults and the character assassination of their adversaries rather than crafting, articulating, and defending a substantive agenda for addressing difficult issues...
 
At this moment, political leaders and strategists in both the North Carolina Democratic and Republican parties are concocting the same kind of fantasy that they'll be able to wall off their state and local candidates from a potential disaster at the top of the ticket.
At this moment, political leaders and strategists in both the North Carolina Democratic and Republican parties are concocting the same kind of fantasy that they'll be able to wall off their state and local candidates from a potential disaster at the top of the ticket.
 
As North Carolina's legislative session (presumably) winds down over the next couple of weeks, it seems increasingly unlikely that the cap on state spending growth and other provisions of the proposed Taxpayer Protection Act will pass this year. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks ago...
As North Carolina's legislative session (presumably) winds down over the next couple of weeks, it seems increasingly unlikely that the cap on state spending growth and other provisions of the proposed Taxpayer Protection Act will pass this year. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks ago...
 
After a lengthy and often messy process of both public and private negotiations, leaders of the North Carolina House and Senate appear to be on the cusp of completing a state spending plan for the 2015-17 budget biennium.
After a lengthy and often messy process of both public and private negotiations, leaders of the North Carolina House and Senate appear to be on the cusp of completing a state spending plan for the 2015-17 budget biennium.
 
Remember the old tale about a drunken man crawling around under a lamppost? Dating at least as far back as 1924, the joke starts off with a police officer approaching the drunk to ask what he's looking for. In earlier versions of the joke, it's a dollar bill. In later versions, it's a set of car...
Remember the old tale about a drunken man crawling around under a lamppost? Dating at least as far back as 1924, the joke starts off with a police officer approaching the drunk to ask what he's looking for. In earlier versions of the joke, it's a dollar bill. In later versions, it's a set of car...
 
After months of speculation and handwringing among Democrats, the party is finally fielding candidates to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in 2016. The potential aspirants include state Rep. Duane Hall of Raleigh, former state Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh, and Chris Rey, mayor of the...
After months of speculation and handwringing among Democrats, the party is finally fielding candidates to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in 2016. The potential aspirants include state Rep. Duane Hall of Raleigh, former state Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh, and Chris Rey, mayor of the...
 
The North Carolina Senate has approved a Taxpayer Protection Act by the required three-fifths vote. The measure approves amending the North Carolina Constitution to place caps on income-tax rates and spending growth while requiring lawmakers to set aside money in a rainy-day fund to guard against...
The North Carolina Senate has approved a Taxpayer Protection Act by the required three-fifths vote. The measure approves amending the North Carolina Constitution to place caps on income-tax rates and spending growth while requiring lawmakers to set aside money in a rainy-day fund to guard against...
 
Was the 2014 Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican victor Thom Tillis really the most expensive race in North Carolina history, or in the country's entire election cycle last year?
Was the 2014 Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican victor Thom Tillis really the most expensive race in North Carolina history, or in the country's entire election cycle last year?
 
Are you an epicurean? The answer to this question reveals something about you, something about the English language, and something about the power of propaganda.
Are you an epicurean? The answer to this question reveals something about you, something about the English language, and something about the power of propaganda.
 
If you ever thought that complaining about the tax system was a modern phenomenon, I can disabuse you of the notion in two sentences.
If you ever thought that complaining about the tax system was a modern phenomenon, I can disabuse you of the notion in two sentences.
 
There was absolutely nothing surprising about the North Carolina Supreme Court's 4-3 decision to uphold the constitutionality of the state's new Opportunity Scholarship program. The outcome was welcome. The lack of surprise was disappointing.
There was absolutely nothing surprising about the North Carolina Supreme Court's 4-3 decision to uphold the constitutionality of the state's new Opportunity Scholarship program. The outcome was welcome. The lack of surprise was disappointing.
 
As someone who views constitutional government as a basic institution of freedom, and constitutions as wielding near-divine authority, I retain what to some might be a surprising or even cavalier openness to constitutional amendment.
As someone who views constitutional government as a basic institution of freedom, and constitutions as wielding near-divine authority, I retain what to some might be a surprising or even cavalier openness to constitutional amendment.
 
In many ways, Republicans and Democrats live in different worlds. I've made the point before that the Internet, while greatly beneficial in many ways, has allowed political factions to retreat into cocoons of news, analysis, and commentary where their preconceived notions are continuously...
In many ways, Republicans and Democrats live in different worlds. I've made the point before that the Internet, while greatly beneficial in many ways, has allowed political factions to retreat into cocoons of news, analysis, and commentary where their preconceived notions are continuously...
 
In nearly three decades of writing a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government, I've always received reader response.
In nearly three decades of writing a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government, I've always received reader response.
 
The state of North Carolina has begun its 2015-16 fiscal year with a continuing resolution instead of a budget. While it would certainly have been better if lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory had inked a formal budget by now, the situation could be much worse.
The state of North Carolina has begun its 2015-16 fiscal year with a continuing resolution instead of a budget. While it would certainly have been better if lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory had inked a formal budget by now, the situation could be much worse.
 
How can we differentiate the pay of teachers on the basis of their performance while also treating them fairly? This familiar education-policy debate used to play out at the Hood family dinner table.
How can we differentiate the pay of teachers on the basis of their performance while also treating them fairly? This familiar education-policy debate used to play out at the Hood family dinner table.
 
Despite the welcome news of a budget surplus in Raleigh, the fiscal and economic forecast for North Carolina over the next couple of years is not all blue skies and placid seas.
Despite the welcome news of a budget surplus in Raleigh, the fiscal and economic forecast for North Carolina over the next couple of years is not all blue skies and placid seas.
 
For years now, legislators, policy analysts, medical providers, and lobbyists for various interest groups have been arguing about North Carolina's Medicaid program. Whether you find this argument interesting, confusing, or boring, I have some news for you: it's far from over.
For years now, legislators, policy analysts, medical providers, and lobbyists for various interest groups have been arguing about North Carolina's Medicaid program. Whether you find this argument interesting, confusing, or boring, I have some news for you: it's far from over.
 
The North Carolina GOP is in deep trouble - or so say the Democrats and left-of-center commentators who are rooting for the Republicans currently leading the state to bicker, fall out, and fail.
The North Carolina GOP is in deep trouble - or so say the Democrats and left-of-center commentators who are rooting for the Republicans currently leading the state to bicker, fall out, and fail.
 
Roughly 12 months from now, we're highly likely to know the major-party nominees for president and most of the other elective offices, including North Carolina's governor and U.S. senator. By this time next year we may also have a clear sense of which party seems likely to prevail in the 2016...
Roughly 12 months from now, we're highly likely to know the major-party nominees for president and most of the other elective offices, including North Carolina's governor and U.S. senator. By this time next year we may also have a clear sense of which party seems likely to prevail in the 2016...
 
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolina added some 11,000 jobs in April and nearly 107,000 jobs over the 12-month period. That's a annual growth rate in payroll employment of 2.6 percent, which exceeds the national and Southeastern averages (each 2.2 percent).
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolina added some 11,000 jobs in April and nearly 107,000 jobs over the 12-month period. That's a annual growth rate in payroll employment of 2.6 percent, which exceeds the national and Southeastern averages (each 2.2 percent).
 
By all accounts, the $22.2 billion General Fund budget just passed by the North Carolina House is only one step in a dance routine that may well last throughout the summer. As a former dance teacher, I'll take this opportunity to explain what to look for as the Senate and Gov. Pat McCrory make...
By all accounts, the $22.2 billion General Fund budget just passed by the North Carolina House is only one step in a dance routine that may well last throughout the summer. As a former dance teacher, I'll take this opportunity to explain what to look for as the Senate and Gov. Pat McCrory make...
 
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