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JLF’s Becki Gray Knocks It Out Of The Park With Column On “Women’s Issues”

JLF’s Becki Gray writes today about what it means to be a real woman – not a lame voting bloc the Left chooses to patronize as “little ladies” only concerned about birth control. Thank you, Becki, for standing up for smart, concerned, well rounded women who seek opportunity, not dependent “little ladies” who look to government to take care of us.

Women care about low taxes, keeping more of our money to spend and invest as we choose. Every rule and regulation has a cost associated with it and affects anyone who has to comply. We care about transportation, national security, the environment, the economy, and immigration.

Women are entrepreneurs, investors, business owners, and job creators — just like men. We accept and embrace personal responsibility for ourselves and know how to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We care deeply about the future of our country.

Domestic violence is not a women’s issue. It’s a human rights issue. It’s a dad issue and a mom issue when little boys are taught that it’s OK to hit or abuse. To say that domestic violence is solely a women’s issue sidesteps the root of the problem and marginalizes responsibility.

Equal pay? It’s not just a women’s issue. It’s an education issue and a work issue. No one is entitled to a guaranteed pay. But as Americans, we are entitled to a good education and equal opportunity. Salary, workplace opportunities, and success are employee/employer issues, equally applicable to both genders, all races, and all ages. To say it is a women’s issue encourages entitlement over skills.

Women’s rights are protected under the U.S. Constitution and the N.C. Constitution. We got the right to vote in 1920, the right to own property on our own in the 1840s. We get to hold public office, get an education of our choice, pursue a career, be a parent, own and drive a car, borrow money, start a business, own a gun. We are entitled to all the rights of being a citizen, just like everybody else.

Don’t listen to those who would set us aside, limit the discussion to some special interest, or confine us to a voting bloc. Tell them to treat us just like everybody else. We can handle it, even if they can’t.

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The Face Of Obamacare: Worry, Financial Devastation

Writing in the Washington TimesPattie Curran of North Carolina explains the devastation of Obamacare. Patti is a mother of two kids afflicted with a rare bone-marrow dysfunction. She is also the founder of a nonprofit research and education organization.

As the mother of two chronically ill children, I have long faced high health care costs. My sons suffer from a rare bone-marrow failure syndrome called Shwachman-Diamond syndrome and have secondary mitochondrial disease that requires treatment with a broad range of expensive medications. We averaged $10,000 to $12,000 a year in billed out-of-pocket medical expenses before Obamacare became law. In 2013, we incurred just over $27,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses. President Obama’s signature piece of legislation has more than doubled our yearly medical costs.

Obamacare is not what its supporters promised. It is a huge overreach by government that is hurting millions of people. How many more must suffer before we chart a new course that allows every American a choice of coverage that works for them at a price they deem reasonable?

JLF’s Katherine Restrepo keeps on top of Obamacare, as well as other key health insurance/health care issues in her free weekly e-newsletter. 


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A Heartbreaking Tale Of Dependency

Writing for the Independent Women’s Forum, Vicki Alger points out an incredible statistic about food stamp recipients.

About 10% of the country’s 47 million food stamp recipients are able bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD).

How incredibly sad for these millions of people who, for one reason or another, have clearly lost their way. A compassionate society will provide immediate emergency help, but where and when should it stop? That is the center of an ongoing debate over what is an appropriate safety net and what is an enabling mechanism that robs people of the dignity that comes with work and sentences them to dependency on government. As Alger continues in her piece for IFW, the hand up we should offer is clear:

If the federal government really wants to help those in need, reduce the overall tax burden on businesses so they can expand and hire more employees. The work of corporate and philanthropic charities offering food assistance and job training should also be encouraged to meet the unique needs of their communities.

And individuals should not rely on government to solve social problems such as poverty and hunger.

In any given neighborhood across the country there are any number of charitable organizations dedicated to helping those in need. Volunteering just a few hours of time can change people’s lives for the better. Most important, becoming involved personally helps reinforce the social and civic bonds that strengthen the fabric of a free society—and that fabric is what distinguishes the United States from centralized socialist states where poverty and hunger are somebody else’s problem.



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Do Pollsters Have a Bias?

JLF’s John Hood takes a fascinating look at several well known pollsters and the characteristics of each.

On the FiveThirtyEight.com letter grading system, Survey USA is one of the few pollsters to get an A. Elon University gets a B. High Point University, PPP, and National Research each get a B-minus.

While these are the pollsters that produce the greatest amount of survey research on North Carolina issues and opinions, the Senate race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis has certainly drawn lots of other pollsters into the state this year. Among the ones you probably see or hear about most often, the highest-ranked are ABC News/Washington Post, CNN/Opinion Research, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, all of which get A-minuses in the pollster rankings. Mason-Dixon, Fox News, Pew Research Center, and CBS/New York Times also compare fairly well, getting Bs. Less impressive in recent election cycles have been surveys from Gallup (C+), Rasmussen Reports (C), Gravis Marketing (C), and Harris Interactive (D+).

Even the most accurate election pollsters produce some screwy samples or weight them unwisely. In addition to ranking them by accuracy, FiveThirtyEight.com also provides estimates of the average partisan bias. For top-flight pollsters, the bias is often very small. In recent elections, for example, Survey USA’s predictions have been slightly (0.2 percent) more Republican than electoral outcomes. So have predictions by National Research (+0.5 percent Republican) and — get this —PPP (+0.7 percent Republican). The Elon University poll, on the other hand, has leaned slightly Democratic (0.2 percent) while the High Point University poll has been among the few with no partisan bias at all.

Keep all this in mind as you look at poll results leading up to the November election.


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Wake County Commission Races: Differing Views On Fiscal Issues & Transit

The News & Observer has published a look at the four races for seats on the Wake County Board of Commissioners. 

You will find differing perspectives on spending and fiscal issues, rail transit, and more.

The candidates are:

District 1: Republican incumbent Joe Bryan versus Democrat Sig Hutchinson

District 2: Republican incumbent Phil Matthews versus Democrat Matt Calabria

District 3: Republican incumbent Rich Gianni versus Democrat Jessica Holmes

District 7: Republican incumbent Paul Coble versus Democrat John Burns

If you’d like to know more about the role of local government and the policies that protect freedom and foster prosperity, take a look at JLF’s City and County Issue Guide 2014. 

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Americans Say No: Majority Of Likely Voters Disapprove Of Obamacare

Those who say Obamacare is a dead issue are wrong. From Rasmussen:

Views of Obamacare hold steady again this week, with over half of voters continuing to express an unfavorable opinion of the national health care law and overwhelming majorities still calling for choices in health insurance that the law doesn’t allow.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 42% of Likely U.S. Voters share a favorable view of the health care law, while 52% view it unfavorably. This includes 19% with a Very Favorable opinion and twice as many (37%) with a Very Unfavorable one.

It’s  no mystery why the majority disapproves of Obamacare. JLF’s Katherine Restrepo regularly chronicles the Obamacare fiasco. Follow her analysis — and recommendations for what is required to chart a new course — here. 

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Progressives Say They Want Fairness, So When Will They Call For End To This Bias?

North Carolina progressives pride themselves on being supporters of equal and fair treatment for all.

When will they join JLF in calling for an end to the blatant tax bias against savings, investment, and entrepreneurship that exists in our state’s tax code? JLF’s Roy  Cordato explains how a change to the capital gains tax structure would help address that bias. 

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Another “D’oh” Moment For Anti-Energy Exploration Environmentalists

As North Carolina prepares to move ahead with energy exploration using hydraulic fracturing, there is more research showing that a claim by anti-fracking environmentalists is not supported by data. JLF’s Jon Sanders, director of regulatory policy, gives us a look at the latest piece of evidence.

A team of researchers from Duke University, The Ohio State University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Rochester analyzed 133 drinking water wells over the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania and 20 wells over the Barnett Shale formation in Texas, both places where there have been reports of methane in the water, which has caused some to suspect the culprit was hydraulic fracturing in local shale-gas extraction. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team “identified eight discrete clusters of fugitive gas contamination, seven in Pennsylvania and one in Texas.” They tested seven different hypotheses for the contamination, the sixth of which was “direct migration of gases upward through the overlying strata following horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing.”

In all eight clusters, they concluded that well failures were the cause, not fracking:

You can read what the researchers had to say by continuing with Jon’s blog. 

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What Does It Mean To Pay “Fair” Wages?

Progressives, led by President Obama, continue to push for an increase in the government-mandated minimum wage. They want employers to be forced to pay a “living wage.” Dr. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, finds flaws in their thinking. I talked with Roy about the flawed economics behind progressives’ thinking in a recent Carolina Journal Radio. In the interview, I also asked Roy about critics’ claims that workers need to be paid “fairly.”

Martinez: Roy, what seems to underpin a lot of the progressive argument for this kind of thing — the transfer — is the word “fairness.”

Cordato: Right.

Martinez: Market economies are criticized routinely because they are not “fair.”

Cordato: Right.

Martinez: Talk about the issue of market economics and fairness. Do the two go together, or are they just simply not — is it not possible to have fairness in a market economy?

Cordato: Of course, it depends on what you mean by “fairness.” And I would argue, coming from someone who believes that what is fair is that people have a right to keep what they earn, that they should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. … That is actually in the North Carolina Constitution, that phrase — Article 1, Section 1 of the North Carolina Constitution. So if what you believe is that it’s fair for people to keep as much of their income as possible, then we shift the entire conversation about fairness.

That [progressive] notion of fairness is really, I would argue, a Marxian notion of fairness, an egalitarian notion of fairness. What is fair is that no one should have more than somebody else. Of course in a market economy, what people have is constantly being changed because it’s an economy based on exchange, on trade. And it’s also based on people getting for themselves to the extent that they satisfy the needs of others.

It’s a very outward-looking system because no one can get rich unless they’ve made someone else better off. And all the great people, all the really rich people, the Bill Gates of the world, how have they gotten all of their wealth? Well, they’ve gotten it by making other people better off. To me, that is a very sound notion of fairness, and I would put that notion of fairness up against the notion that the economy has to be — or that everyone in the economy has to have equal incomes, which is really the notion that drives that. 

Martinez: If we want to make sure that everyone has as much opportunity as possible, to pursue whatever they want to pursue, to do whatever they want to do, in terms of economics, what types of policies do we need to implement? What principles do we need to govern by?

Cordato: We need to make sure that property rights are secure, that people can indeed keep as much of their income as possible. … What a minimum wage does, for example, is it forces an exchange ratio, a price, in the marketplace that wouldn’t occur otherwise.

What you would have to do is allow people to freely make contracts based on their skills. That will, I think, bring about fairness to the extent possible. What we have seen is a situation where many policies that have been put forth actually exacerbate [un]fairness, actually no matter how you look at it.

Bottom line: free markets will lead more people out of poverty than a government mandate ever will.

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Kids Get First Lesson In Government Overreach: Feds Target Chicken Fingers

Another school district is looking at opting out of Mrs. Obama’s signature program: so-called “healthy” school lunches. It’s not just a lesson for the school administrators. Kids are now getting a real-world look at what happens when the government decides it knows better than mom and dad about what a child should eat for lunch.

We’re considering opting out because of the program rules and a decline in participation,” Salem finance director Deborah Payne says. “There’s not a lot of choice for students.”

Meanwhile, others aren’t quite to that point yet, despite growing alarm over the shrinking portion sizes.

The Bangor, Pennsylvania district has cut its chicken finger serving size from six to three.

“Going from six chicken fingers down to three of them is not what we should be doing,” school board member Kenneth Brewer tells 69 News.

This is nonsense. The government’s one-size-fits-all Food Police approach completely ignores what and how much children are eating at home — not to mention that it’s none of the school’s business what a child eats. That’s for mom and dad to decide and monitor — or not monitor.

Enough already.

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