Ken Jones: Not so golden

January 31, 2013 

Not so golden

I was relieved to read that all of North Carolina’s current difficulties can be solved by taking three simple actions. According to Bob Luddy’s Jan. 25 Point of View, all we have to do is cut state spending, offer scholarships to promote school choice and eliminate state income taxes and burdensome regulation of businesses.

I feared the solutions might be much more complicated. We were reminded that “investment by individuals and farmers created the textile and furniture industries,” ushering in a late 19th-century golden age when North Carolina had “one of the leading economies in the South.” I suspect that a closer reading of history might turn up some factors like the prison labor system, crony capitalism, debt peonage and disenfranchisement. N.C. was a world where the sharecropper’s desperate poverty made the $3 per week from a textile mill seem generous. We might have had one of the South’s best economies, but the majority of North Carolinians still lived in abject poverty.

Shifting the tax burden to the working poor, cutting spending on public schools and reducing health, environmental and safety regulations would appear to be leading us back to those good old days.

Ken Jones

Chapel Hill

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