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Archive for July 24th, 2009

Jobs: Grow in Triangle, Shrink in CLT

Huh, who woulda thunk it?

Oh yeah — we thunked it. Now there is not only a gap in the unemployment rates of the state’s two metro cores — with the Triangle’s jobless rate one-third lower than the Charlotte metro area — the numbers are moving in opposite directions. The Triangle’s jobless rate shrank in June to 8.5 percent while the Charlotte-area unemployment rate jumped to 12.4 percent, up a full half-point from the previous month.

Even more significant is that Mecklenburg County’s rate jumped by the same half-point to 11.5 percent, indicating the regional weakness is not some fluke of a couple surrounding counties. No county in the region has unemployment below 11 percent. In contrast Wake County has a rate of 8.8 percent, Orange 7, Durham 8.4, and Chatham 8.8 percent.

What’s more, new unemployment claims in Mecklenburg for June were almost 7400, compared to 5444 in Wake, another trend in the wrong direction for the Charlotte region. This points to the fact that Mecklenburg will soon have paid out $100m. more in unemployment benefits during the past year than Wake has doled out. It is an open question if this difference results in a permanently larger underclass coming out of this recession for Charlotte. Certainly one county consuming $350m. worth of state unemployment benefits, a $30m. a month clip, is not a sign of a healthy local economy.

Put yet another distressing way, if the Charlotte region continues to lose jobs at the rate of 10,000 a month — which is what the latest state data shows — folks not receiving a check from the government will be few and between.

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Barack Obama, Know-It-All

Here we have an illuminating comparison between the Henry Louis Gates dust-up and the bid to impose state-run health care on the nation.

In short, there is a knowledge gap that the planners and fixers from on-high never, ever admit to. It is supremely arrogant to say the White House, a panel, a Supreme Court of Health, whatever, can design a health care plan for millions of individuals. And if you listen very, very closely backers of “reform” swerve away from saying that at the very last minute.

Maybe it was all the swerving I was doing the other day going through the Smoky Mountains on two-lane highways that brought me to the realization that the “health care debate” is not about health care at all. It is about adopting an explicitly Rawlsian organizing principle of civil society. Yes, everyone will run the risk of being worse off with a government bureaucracy doling out access to health care. But in exchange we will get the supposed guarantee of some access to health care without any upfront, visible transaction costs. As such, the debate is about risk and fear.

Yesterday I heard Rush Limbaugh go off on Obama for demonizing doctors the other night. I thought, “Of course he demonized doctors, it is all part of the same fear machine.” You can’t grow the state without fear. Baal knows George Bush used fear to grow the state for eight long years.

In effect, the planners and the know-it-alls “solve” the knowledge problem by whipping out fear at the last minute, the we-have-to-do-something-or-else move. See Act, PATRIOT. As soon people start thinking straight — wait, how do you know which heart medicine is best for me — bam! hit them with the Or Else.

We’re about to see if there is anything left of American exceptionalism.

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Marion Gales Wins Again


Mecklenburg County prosecutors pled Marion Gales’ murder charge down to voluntary manslaughter, resulting in a sentence of 80 to 105 months. The state said it simply did not have to the evidence to convict Gales of the April 2008 murder of LaCoya Monique Martin, 27. If Gales receives credit for the year he has spent in the Mecklenburg County jail awaiting trial, his sentence will be even shorter than six years.

Gales claimed that a crack-smoking friend by the name of “Woodrow” showed him Martin’s body. “Woodrow” was questioned and polygraphed by investigators, but never charged.

Gales, recall, is the man DA Peter Gilchrist held was incapable of committing the murder of Kim Thomas back in 1990. If want to believe that previous determination played no role in the decision not to prosecute Gales for murder in the Martin case, you can.

I just know our criminal justice system is hopelessly broken.

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Your Global Warming Update

Mount Le Conte, a couple hours from Asheville, near Gatlinburg, recorded a record low temp of 33 degrees the other night.

That is all.

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July 2009
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