Opinion: Government, not the free market, is the barrier to opportunity

February 5, 2014

In this column, University of George economics professor Jeffrey Dorfman makes a compelling case for fostering individual responsibility and tearing down government barriers to success. One of Dorfman's most salient points is that public schools should not only teach the basics of reading, writing, and math, but also expand into instruction in a broad cross section of practical life skills: Education already receives enough funding. The problem is the money is spent on the wrong things. Too much money is wasted on bureaucracy; not nearly enough of the money reaches the classroom to pay teachers and buy supplies. Beyond that, our public schools are not teaching the tools needed for success. We need lessons on time management, study skills, impulse control, personal finance, and other life skills so that students can make the most of what they are being taught and the financial resources that they do have. Then schools should add a course or lesson series on entrepreneurship so...

Columnist: ‘The poor aren’t poor because the rich are rich’

February 3, 2014

Will tearing down the wealthy elevate the fortunes of the poor? Syndicated columnist Robert Samuelson argues that the answer is "no": Unless you are exceptionally coldblooded, it's hard not to be disturbed by today's huge economic inequality. The gap between the rich and the poor is enormous, wider than most Americans would (almost certainly) wish. But this incontestable reality has made economic inequality a misleading intellectual fad, blamed for many of our problems. Actually, the reverse is true: Economic inequality is usually a consequence of our problems and not a cause. For starters, the poor are not poor because the rich are rich. The two conditions are generally unrelated. Mostly, the rich got rich by running profitable small businesses (car dealerships, builders), creating big enterprises (Google, Microsoft), being at the top of lucrative occupations (bankers, lawyers, doctors, actors, athletes), managing major companies or inheriting fortunes. By contrast, the very poor...

North Carolina tax reform: All N.C. income groups benefit

January 20, 2014

Categories: Public Policy

The John Locke Foundation has released a new report showing that recent tax reforms in North Carolina benefit all individuals and families, regardless of income: Taxpayers in every income category will save tens of millions of dollars because of state tax reforms enacted in North Carolina in 2013. Combining 2013 reforms with a 2011 sales-tax decline pushed by the Republican-led General Assembly, lower- and middle-income households will enjoy annual savings of $682 million, according to a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report. "It's simply false to claim that recent tax changes in North Carolina are allowing the well-to-do to get their taxes reduced 'on the backs of' lower- and middle-income groups," said Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar. "The average household in every income group from top to bottom is seeing its tax burden reduced from the 2013 tax reform package. Just as important, this new round of tax relief follows a 2011 state...

Pope Foundation responds to more Moyers misleading

January 10, 2014

In response to misleading remarks made by Bill Moyers to The Charlotte Observer, Dave Riggs, Executive Vice President of the Pope Foundation, wrote the following letter: Mr. Moyers: In your comments to The Charlotte Observer, you stated, “The documentary is about the unique power that one man wields in one state, and Riggs is virtually silent about that. If he knows of any other single individual in the United States who has spent so many millions of dollars … I’d be glad to do another documentary.” Allow me to help you fulfill that pledge by pointing to individuals such as Michael Bloomberg, who spend far more directly on political campaigns than Art Pope ever has. Bloomberg spent over $150 million on his first two races for Mayor of New York. Bloomberg didn’t spend this money on a state; he spent it on a city. His personal SuperPac, Independence USA, spent millions in 2013 alone in Virginia, New Jersey, and other states in support of Democrats and a progressive...

Moyers’ falsehoods get national attention

January 8, 2014

Two national articles have brought attention to the falsehoods in Bill Moyers' PBS documentary attacking the John William Pope Foundation. In the first, Paul Chesser writes in The American Spectator that Moyers failed to give a complete picture of foundation giving in North Carolina: ... while [Art] Pope’s giving has been significant, the notion that he has “bought” a state that was “for sale” is absurd. Had Moyers or Jane Mayer [author of a hit piece on Pope in 2011 in The New Yorker) ...  sought to paint an accurate picture of North Carolina’s political scene, they would have reported that left-of-center foundations and donors fund their policy groups and candidates to a much greater extent than has Pope. Instead they excluded that information — intentionally. When Mayer pieced together her New Yorker report in 2011, she contacted John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation (and my employer until 2007). As Hood explained, Democrat legislative...

Pope Foundation responds to Bill Moyers’ unfair attack

January 3, 2014

Bill Moyers, through Moyers & Company, recently released a documentary that falsely portrayed the charitable work of the John William Pope Foundation and of our Chairman and President, Art Pope....

Remembering Jack Hawke

November 7, 2013

Jack Hawke, a mainstay of Republican Party politics in North Carolina during the past five decades, passed away on Monday at the age of 72. Since he first entered politics in the late 1960s, Hawke played an instrumental role in shifting North Carolina from one-party rule to a competitive, two-party state. In addition to running for Congress, heading up congressional and gubernatorial campaigns for other candidates, and serving as N.C. Republican Party Chairman, Hawke was the first executive director of the John William Pope Civitas Institute. Art Pope, Chairman and President of the John William Pope Foundation, recalled Hawke's optimistic outlook on life, as reported by The News & Observer: Hawke’s style was always the happy warrior. He was a natural extrovert with a ready smile, a sunny disposition and a quip. His trademark expression: “Fan-tastic.” “He was always so positive and enthusiastic, even in the face of adversity, in bad results as well as good...