Somehow A Lot Of The Media Missed This

On March 20, The Washington Times posted an article about the impact of HB2 (also known as the bathroom bill) on the North Carolina economy. Despite much of the media in North Carolina telling you that the bill has hurt the state economically, the actual numbers tell a different story.

Here are some basic facts taken from the article:

Tourism has thrived: Hotel occupancy, room rates and demand for rooms set records in 2016, according to the year-end hotel lodging report issued last week by VisitNC, part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, North Carolina ranked fourth in the nation for attracting and expanding businesses with the arrival of 289 major projects, and seventh in projects per capita — the same as in 2015, according to Site Selection magazine, which released its 2016 rankings in the March edition.

North Carolina finished first for drawing corporate facilities in the eight-state South Atlantic region, said Site Selection, which uses figures tracked by the Conway Projects Database.

And in November, both Forbes and Site Selection magazine ranked North Carolina the No. 2 state for business climate.

Also unscathed was the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which registered at 5.3 percent in January 2016 and 5.3 percent in January 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The figures released almost exactly a year after the bill’s passage appear to fly in the face of predictions of economic doom made by opponents of HB2. The Center for American Progress estimated in April that the state would lose more than $567 million in private-sector economic activity through 2018.

Obviously the predictions of gloom and doom if HB2 passed were not true. I have stated before that I truly believe if you asked parents of high school children whether or not they wanted members of the opposite sex in their children’s high school locker rooms, the answer would be a resounding NO. I understand that there are a small number of people impacted by this law, but the answer is simply to allow them private changing and restroom facilities. The same people who support ‘safe spaces’ for college students because their candidate lost the last election should at least support private spaces for students and others struggling with their sexuality.

Wisdom From The Voice Of Experience

Senator George McGovern was elected to the Senate in 1962. He left the Senate in 1981.

In June 2011, Forbes Magazine noted:

After leaving the Senate in 1981, McGovern hit the lecture circuit and in 1988 decided to invest his speaking fees in the Stratford Inn in Connecticut. He loved the idea of running a hotel. It went bankrupt a few years later, thanks in large part to the withering recession of 1990-91. But the experience gave McGovern new wisdom on how little politicians understand the arduous task of job creation.

I would like to point out that the recession of 1990-1991 was caused by a bi-partisan deal to ‘raise taxes on the rich.’ This was done in the form of instituting a tax on ‘luxury items’ such as expensive boats and jewelry. As boat sales and expensive jewelry sales dropped significantly, people in the boat-building business and some areas of the jewelry industry began to lose their jobs. As these people decreased their spending on going out to dinner, travel, and entertainment, those industries began to suffer and more people lost their jobs. At that point Americans began to curtail their spending in other areas because of fear of a recession, and the recession followed. This was a graphic illustration of the Laffer Curve at work.

The Forbes Magazine article quotes a Wall Street Journal editorial written by Senator McGovern in 1992.

In The Wall Street Journal, Senator McGovern states:

In 1988, I invested most of the earnings from this lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut’s Stratford Inn. Hotels, inns and restaurants have always held a special fascination for me. The Stratford Inn promised the realization of a longtime dream to own a combination hotel, restaurant and public conference facility–complete with an experienced manager and staff.

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn’s 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

Today we are much closer to a general acknowledgment that government must encourage business to expand and grow. Bill Clinton, Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey and others have, I believe, changed the debate of our party. We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.

My own business perspective has been limited to that small hotel and restaurant in Stratford, Conn., with an especially difficult lease and a severe recession. But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: `Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.’ It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.

We have just elected a President who has the experience of running a business and dealing with government regulations. Hopefully, he has already learned the lessons Senator McGovern learned after he left office.