John Hood, in his Sept. 6 Point of View “ Constructive conservatism at work in N.C.,” encouraged us to think of the current political leadership of the state as worthy successors to the “constructive conservatism” of Govs. Luther Hodges and Jim Martin. Those who disagree are accused of telling “fairy tales and ghost stories.”
Hood discovered the terminology “constructive conservatism” associated with the Luther Hodges and Jim Martin administrations and urged us to apply it to the current administration in Raleigh.
Between 1960 and 2000, the poverty rate in North Carolina overall fell from 40 percent to 12 percent. We can credit Democrats such as Hodges and Republicans such as Martin together for this improvement; the state’s political leadership worked together to achieve this.
Hood complained that the growth in production in North Carolina in this period was no better than that in the neighboring Southern states, but he ignored the fundamental constructive transformation in the structure of the economy in this state in favor of all residents. Since 2010, by contrast, our reforms have not been constructive – they’ve been divisive. Some have gained, many have lost.
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Have these reforms been conservative? Why the headlong rush to dismantle our educational system or the rush to throw out a Medicaid program? Why such large cuts in tax rates that the state is forced to choose between improving its residents’ health and their education? This seems radical, not conservative.
Hood was right to remind us of our economic history as a state; we have together had many successes. Current policies, though, divide us rather than unite us.