Years ago, much of my writing at BlueNC involved pushing back against Art Pope's Multimillion Dollar Opinion Manufacturing Machine, of which the John Locke Foundation used to be the drive shaft. Each day, John Hood brought a new level of depravity to public policy, and I did my best to keep track of it all. Under the weight of Pope's funding, however the Machine wore me down. His mercenary army of "report writers" and "analysts" did in North Carolina what Blackwater and Halliburton did in Iraq. Destroy and plunder.
These days, I don't even pay attention to Hood and his minions, but I'm glad to see that others are. Today, for example, Thomas Mills responds Hood's regurgitated, free-market happy talk about North Carolina exceptionalism. It's a brilliant piece, well worth your time.
Stage manager John Hood took to the pages of the Wall Street Jourinal recently, with a crafty column about the so-called Carolina Comeback. Too bad the whole piece was full of bull, designed to prop up the catastrophic failure of his boss's economic policies. Thankfully, Dean Baker slogs through the miasma, so we don't have to.
I get that Art Pope owns the governor's office and the General Assembly. I understand that the N&Os publisher has deep ties to Mr. Pope's multimillion dollar opinion manufacturing machine. I realize that half the former "experts" in the Show are now full-time employees of the government they love to hate. But really? John Hood? That's the guy you go to for an opinion about a Republican candidate?
“I would not hire them at salaries in the 80,000 range. It would be, you know, less than half that amount. And I just cannot imagine a justification for this decision — not just on the merits but also the political optics.”
He then went on to question the administration’s ongoing attempts to defend the salaries:
“I just don’t think that the decision is justifiable. I think that the more they continue to attempt to justify it, the worse it’s gonna’ be for them.”
There’s an important distinction, however, between spirited debate and character assassination. Republicans don’t favor tax cuts, regulatory reform, energy exploration, or school choice because some shadowy special-interest group has paid them off. Republicans favor these ideas because they believe them to be good public policy.
The thing is, it's not "either or" as John Hood would like his readers to believe. Whether he's referring to ALEC or Art Pope's Civitas/JLF/AFPNC propaganda machine, that "shadowy special interest group" has been engaged in an aggressive education campaign for years, spoon-feeding anti-government fear-mongering parables and arcane and unprovable economic fantasy scenarios to potential GOP candidates and their supporters, while dangling the prize of $4,000 checks from the Pope family bundlers if they have the free-market Kool-Aid stain on their lips. Here's one of the many ways to get that stain:
Despite John Hood's happy talk about the GOP's use of research for formulate policy, Republican legislators continue live in the alternate universe of their ideological agenda. Case in point: new legislation to mandate cursive writing in schools, where it appears that Representative Pat Hurley was happy to make up claims out of thin air.
"For a group of people who claim to believe in empirical study and higher learning, liberal politicians and other critics of North Carolina’s new conservative leaders seem remarkably uninformed or contemptuous of the research basis for the policy initiatives now being debated in Raleigh,'' writes John Hood of the John Locke Foundation in his column at johnlocke.org.
That's because the bulk of the research used to justify their actions is tainted beyond credibility by dubious "experts" who are beholden to corporate-funded "foundations", whose primary goal is to wrest control of government away from the people and move it into their board rooms. And it's a good bet John Hood has come to realize this, because he's too embarassed to cite a single study in this piece, knowing they are easily refutable, so he falls back on generalities:
RALEIGH, NC - Based on a confidential report leaked by an administrative assistant at the John Locke Foundation today, North Carolina citizens will soon find themselves reclassified as subjects.
According to the document, Republican lawmakers in Raleigh will convene a constitutional convention this fall, designed to establish North Carolina as the first modern-day monarchy in the western hemisphere. When the convention adjourns, a coronation ceremony for His Majesty Arthur J. Pope III will take place at the historic governor's mansion. Assisting His Majesty in managing the kingdom will be The Little Prince, a position created specifically for Mr. Pope's long-time lackey and confidant.
Submitted by scharrison on Wed, 08/01/2012 - 12:22pm
In response to this "scary" Tweet:
JohnLockeNC 7:17am via HootSuite
John Hood ruins the day of anyone who thought N.C. had a fully funded state pension system. #ConsNC #ncga #ncpol ow.ly/cECOy
For the most part, John Hood is correct in this article. State pension funds across the country have been improperly estimating earnings based on pre-recession data, and there will be some stricter reporting coming soon. But there is no connection between this article and NC's Pension Fund, since not only has Janet Cowell been reporting conservative earnings estimates, the actual earnings have been huge:
Submitted by scharrison on Mon, 03/26/2012 - 1:25pm
John Hood addresses the recent controversy over racist homophobic Obama image:
I was horrified, outraged, and very sorry that I hadn’t seen it much earlier. The image was immediately taken down, but the damage was done. Whatever Tara’s intentions may have been, we simply don’t publish or condone that kind of thing.
I usually don't post direct links to JLF/Civitas articles, and if the author would like this removed from BlueNC, I will gladly comply. But I asked John (on another forum) to publish this on his main page, and I meant what I said about people needing to see this. But what I didn't expect (and am doubly pleased to see) was his stance on Amendment One:
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