John Hood

John Hood

Monday, 18 February 2019 12:53

COLUMN: Can government make us happy?

Is it the job of government to make you happy? While it may seem like a straightforward question, there are some important subtleties packed into those few words.

Monday, 11 February 2019 11:04

COLUMN: Growth still drives worker pay

If the most important factor determining the welfare of workers is the growth rate of the economy, that has policy implications that free-market conservatives, among others, will welcome.

Monday, 04 February 2019 14:37

COLUMN: Columns can change political views

 I have written a syndicated column on politics and public policy for North Carolina newspapers since 1986. Have I influenced how readers think about the issues I discuss? I certainly hope so, at least to some extent.

The single most important issue during every legislative session is the approval or revision of North Carolina’s state budget. For the 2019-20 session about to get underway, the political implications of the budget debate are going to be nearly as important as the policy implications.

Monday, 21 January 2019 14:24

COLUMN: Democrats may help GOP in 2020

The promise of “Medicare for All” polls well. But if Democrats endorse the concept in large numbers, and make it or some other large-scale expansion of government health plans a centerpiece of the party’s brand going into the 2020 election cycle, Republicans will be among the prime beneficiaries.

Monday, 14 January 2019 12:57

COLUMN: State regulatory reform is working

Milton Friedman once observed that “nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” To be sure, spending bills or regulations initially sold as limited responses to specific conditions often take on a life of their own. They create constituencies that receive funds or protection from the program and thus have a strong interest in converting the temporary into the permanent.

 The average public-school district in the United States enrolls about 3,700 students, according to a recent Governing magazine analysis. In North Carolina, the average school district enrolls more than 12,500 students. Only six other states in the nation exceed North Carolina in this regard (including Hawaii, where all 187,000 students are in a single district).

Monday, 31 December 2018 13:51

COLUMN: Evidence ought to shape policy

As dysfunctional as Congress has become, it does manage to enact some useful bills. One of them, the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, was championed by outgoing Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington). It promotes data-sharing and policy evaluation throughout the federal government.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018 13:37

COLUMN: Do politicians really want to lead?

As another year draws to a close, a year of Democratic resurgence in both national and local politics, I offer this challenge to incumbent and newly elected lawmakers alike. Do you really want to be leaders? Or do you just want to be politicians?

While the term “whataboutism” may be relatively new — coined within the last few decades, and newly prominent in the age of Donald Trump — the logical fallacy it denotes is as ancient as politics itself.

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