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The Wilmington Star News has a nice tribute to the late Neil Armstrong that’s worth a read this morning. As the editorial noted:

“His death on Saturday at age 82 took those of us who remember that moment back to our living rooms, as we sat contemplating the enormity of the achievement we had just witnessed.

Armstrong’s feat represented more than a mission to send a spacecraft to the moon. The space program at its peak represented the American spirit of adventure, the need to find out more about our universe and, as a result, our own planet – and ourselves.”

Armstrong’s passing should also serve to remind us Read More

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More details became available yesterday about the ongoing conservative plan to sell off a large number of the public assets that help bind North Carolina together and make middle class life attainable and enjoyable.

As we noted a few weeks back after a previous legislative hearing on the subject of privatizing essential public assets:

“The only problem with this vision, of course, is that it is an absurd fantasy on several levels. As humans have learned through centuries of trial and error Read More

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You have to hand it to modern conservatives — their cynical plan to “drown government in the bathtub” is succeeding. It works like this:

Yell and scream that government spending is “out of control” and then use the manufactured confusion and anger that results to justify big tax and spending cuts. Then, when the quality of government services plummet as a result of the cuts, yell and scream that government is inherently inefficient, wasteful and incompetent and restart the whole vicious cycle.

The saddest thing about all of this is that the underlying premise (a premise frequently parroted by well-meaning, if inattentive progressives) is all wet. Government spending in North Carolina is quite demonstrably not out of control now and has not been out of control anytime recently.

As Ed McLenghan’s post just below explains, it’s all there in the numbers.

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A new BTC Brief released this morning demonstrates that, by any reasonable measure, state funding for core services like education, health and human services, public safety, and other general government services is historically low.

For nearly four decades, state funding for core General Fund services like public schools, community colleges, universities, mental and physical health, and public safety typically hovered between 6 and 6.5 percent of the combined total of all North Carolina residents’ annual incomes.  As shown in the chart at right, the new state budget represents a major departure from recent historical precedent.

The consequences of this reduced commitment to state public investments have already started to become clear: fewer teachers and teacher-assistants in the classroom, longer waiting lists for child-care subsidies, higher tuition and fewer classes for university and community college students, and the potential elimination of vital health services for elderly, disabled, and indigent North Carolinians. Read More