Art Pope Puppetshow

Calling out John Hood for his false conclusions

Getting it right and then bending it wrong:

When different governments are free to pursue different approaches to solving public problems, we all gain from the resulting increase in information about what works best. Furthermore, to the extent that governments continue their differing approaches because their citizens have different values, the resulting diversity allows households and businesses to sort themselves accordingly, choosing communities whose policies best fit their own needs and preferences.

I can’t offer similar praise to the commissioners of the FCC, however. They didn’t strike down state laws that blocked one private provider from competing with another. Instead, they struck down laws designed to keep localities from abusing their own governmental powers — their tax exemptions, access to low-cost capital, and eminent domain — to deliver a commercial service in competition with private firms. Surely states are the proper level of government to ensure that such abuses don’t occur.

You can't have it both ways, John. You can't have a dynamic community approach to solving problems and making your city competitive with other cities, while being shackled by an overbearing state government riddled with lobbyists writing their own legislation. You want to talk about outrageous attacks on the free market system? How about corporations writing their own laws and having government "proxies" put their thumbprint on it in return for a nice campaign donation? The bottom line is, if a municipality decides to provide broadband to its residents, and the formula (rates + local taxes) doesn't work to their benefit, those residents can express their disapproval at the voting booth. The crucible of public opinion is much harsher on the local level than at the state level, which is just one more reason why a paternalistic General Assembly runs counter to Democratic principles.

Esquire takes a swipe at Art Pope

And they don't pull any punches:

We have been somewhat remiss in this shebeen in our coverage of Art Pope, the A-ball Kochite who is the prime reason that the newly insane state of North Carolina has become newly insane. Governor Pat McCrory is the most conspicuous of Pope's various marionettes, which also include his pet state legislature as well as Thom Tillis, a brand-new member of the U.S. Senate. Spectacularly, McCrory appointed Pope his state budget director, which is tantamount to hiring Bernie Madoff as your Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now, though, it appears that Pope has a brand-new shiny object in his sights that he would like to break.

I consider myself somewhat gifted in the area of enhanced vocabulary, but I did have to look up the word "shebeen." Which didn't help all that much, as it is described as an "unlicensed drinking establishment" or an "after-hours speakeasy." I'm sure Greg Flynn would have known, but then he knows a lot of stuff I don't. The article also quotes our friend Bob Geary over at the Indy:

On Art Pope and the UNC System

A few jabs from Thomas Mills to set the tone:

It’s part of why North Carolina developed a reputation as a beacon of light in an otherwise dark South. Our university system became an engine of economic progress that has made the Triangle a leader in the information age and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country.

Pope doesn’t believe in any of that. He believes that the free market is the key to success. Higher education should be little more than job training and critical thinking skills learned in a liberal arts curriculum have little place in his world. Pope is neither a manager nor a deep thinker. He’s an ideologue born with a silver spoon in his mouth who has spent his life forcing square pegs into round holes.

Many of those discussing the possibility of an Art Pope-directed UNC System are focusing on how he might cut programs, but the more likely result would be a skewing of the curriculum, something he's been trying to do for years. But I'll let one of UNC's professors explain:

Propaganda in the pages: The bizarro world of JLF

Logic so twisted not even they can unravel it:

The fatal flaw in this methodology, however, is that in order to “draw down” federal Medicaid dollars, actual medical services need to be provided to Medicaid patients. It is only when doctors actually treat Medicaid patients that the federal government pays those providers for the services.

As reported recently by WRAL, “A survey this year by The Physicians Foundation found that 81 percent of doctors describe themselves as either over-extended or at full capacity, and 44 percent said they planned to cut back on the number of patients they see, retire, work part-time or close their practice to new patients.” Such extreme supply constraints tells us that if North Carolina were to expand Medicaid, the newly enrolled would have great difficulty actually seeing a doctor. Coverage will not equal access.

News flash, Einstein: A large percentage of those yet-to-be-enrolled are already seeking care, but only after their condition has become life-threatening. And while a physician might be required to trigger a Medicaid payment, the vast majority of the care rendered is done so by physicians assistants and nurses. Also, a big reason for the shortage in primary care physicians in rural/urban areas is because patients don't have insurance and cannot pay the bills. Expanding Medicaid coverage would make those areas if not profitable, at least not as unprofitable as they have been.

Pope's Puppets swing and miss in defending UNC BOG

When Libertarians try to rewrite history:

In the 2012-13 academic year, the center hosted members of the AFL-CIO to discuss “the legislature’s war on labor”; screened clips from a “Story of America: A Nation Divided,” about “the fundamental divisions and the political struggle throughout America”; screened “The American Winter,” which “highlights the human impact of budget cuts to social services, a shrinking middle class, and the fracturing of the American Dream”; discussed “Wage Theft in North Carolina”; and invited people to projects sponsored by the Durham People’s Alliance and the N.C. Justice Center.

Where were the success stories of combating poverty through limited government and economic freedom – the approach that has saved millions from poverty in countries such as Taiwan, Estonia and South Korea? They weren’t mentioned, as far as one can tell from the archives.

To their main underlying complaint, that Conservative and/or Free Market proponents are not "invited" to such seminars: When you refuse to acknowledge that poverty and wage inequality and workplace discrimination and a bunch of other problems even exist, much less need to be addressed, why should you be included in these discussions? And we wouldn't be having many of these discussions if your bent ideology hadn't permeated the Legislature already, encouraging massive cuts to the social safety net. So thanks, but no thanks. And as far as your "missing" examples of small government success stories, you've (as usual) overlooked the obvious:

Art Pope shuffles his puppets around

Methinks a certain syndicated columnist may have demanded a raise:

Locke Foundation President John Hood will become president of the John William Pope Foundation in January. Hood will be succeeded by Executive Vice President Kory Swanson, who also will hold the title of CEO.

At the Pope Foundation, Hood succeeds former state budget director Art Pope, who will remain chairman of the charitable group. Hood also stays chairman of the Locke Foundation board of directors.

That almost reads like one of those math/logic problems, where the answer ends up being zero because things cancel each other out. Or maybe an upper-crust nursery rhyme? One of those two things.

Debunking the "Stimulus" attacks on Kay Hagan

As usual, Carolina Journal only reports part of a story:

The Carolina Journal report expands on the Politico story, noting that the JDC originally projected spending $438,627 but was later revised downward by more than $100,000 and emphasizing the company "kept all of the savings, sending none back to taxpayers who had funded the stimulus grant."

However, an internal accounting of the project provided to WRAL News by JDC Manufacturing shows that that the project's final costs totaled $503,477. A company spokeswoman said the official project cost was revised downward to show the money actually spent by Dec. 31, 2010, the end of the grant's term. The rest of the money was spent in 2011, and those costs were not eligible to be reimbursed. Other records disclosed by the Energy Division show the total cost of the JDC project inching up to roughly $509,000 over two years, confirming the accounting provided by the company.

And it's a good bet the "researchers" at Art Pope's propaganda-laced "newspaper" were well aware of the total cost of the project, but chose to exclude that information from their report, because it would have completely negated their "pocketed $100,000 of taxpayer's money" smoking gun revelation.

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