Conservatives, especially the true believers that now populate the NC General Assembly, are fond of quoting Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish moral philosopher and political economist. They love the quotes, but the content escapes them.
Smith wrote in "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations",
"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices." Smith went on to observe, "But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies, much less render them necessary."
Every time one of our Republican legislators goes to an ALEC seminar or meets behind closed doors with ALEC representatives to write laws, they are conspiring against the public ... and corporations are always the direct beneficiaries.
When DAG McCrory announces with glee that the NC GOP had successfully gutted unemployment insurance and undermined thousands of NC families, where did he do it? Not at a press conference, but at a Chamber of Commerce meeting behind closed doors.
Before they bring legislation to cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations - and raise taxes on the lower and middle classes - they bring in hired propagandist Arthur Laffer to spread his baseless drivel about the advantages of eliminating state income taxes. This despite evidence that states with no income tax have the slowest growth.
As David Cay Johnston observed, "It is a universal truth that it is easier to mine gold from the government treasury than the side of a mountain."
Right now as we speak, GOP legislators are conspiring with lobbyists to write laws designed to do exactly that. While income inequality is at an all-time high, and access to a quality education is at a premium, conservatives in the NCGA are plotting a massive redistribution of wealth upwards, and a massive shift of tax burden downwards.
They are planning to hand over millions of tax dollars to companies and non-profits running private and charter schools, while at the same time making it more difficult for lower income people to access higher education.
Because the people of this state elected to put incompetent greedy people in charge of the government, we will see our children's education sold out from under them and schools being privatized for profit. We will see teacher's salaries cut, their jobs and the jobs of law enforcement, DOT, fire, forestry, and environment eliminated for profit.
Every single piece of legislation to come out of the General Assembly has been designed to make education a private commodity and rewrite the laws that protect our rights, our communities, schools,and environment.
This is the moral hazard we face every time we vote. In 2010, the majority of us chose very poorly.