Andy Brack

BRACK:  Special elections have better news for Dems than you might think

BRACK:  Special elections have better news for Dems than you might think

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Boy, listening to the talking heads and sputtering pundits, you’d almost think the world was ending for Democrats after narrow losses in two special U.S. House elections in South Carolina and Georgia.

But the world’s not ending.  In fact, Republicans should be a little worried.

Yes, the Democrats lost again.  But they lost in safe, strong GOP districts  – contests for which most people never thought Democrats could get so close.  In November, Tom Price won his Georgia House seat by 23 points over his challenger.  In South Carolina’s 5th congressional district that includes Rock Hill and Sumter, Mick Mulvaney won by 20 points.  Both became part of President Trump’s cabinet, which prompted the special elections.

by · 06/23/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
The capitol building in Kansas looks similar to South Carolina's Statehouse building.

BRACK: Let’s learn from failed Kansas tax experiment

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  The conservative political mantra of “cut, cut, cut” government to spur economic growth has been exposed for what it has been all along:  a load of hogwash.

In South Carolina, political leaders charmed by aggressive tax cuts should just turn to Kansas to see the fallout of taking an ideology to the extreme.  Republicans, in control of the Kansas House and Senate, this month ditched years of austerity by raising taxes by $1.2 billion over two years – more than $200 for every man, woman and child in the state.  Just to make up for lost ground, a family of four will have to pay an average of more than $800 a year following years of tax frugality that strapped schools and crippled delivery of services that Kansans wanted.

by · 06/16/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg spoke out earlier this year about the dangers of offshore drilling.  Photo provided.

BRACK: South Carolina needs to find environmental courage

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | With so much that could be done to protect the South Carolina’s special places and put the state on a stronger, more renewable energy footing, you may sometimes wonder whether we just have too many environmental cowards.

Maybe that’s a bit harsh. But look at some recent stories that show that technology exists to transform how we power our economy from the traditional dirty oil and coal to a blend of renewables plus nuclear power with natural gas as a backup for peak usage.

Across the world, there are more than 2 million electric cars on the road. China, which is the largest electric vehicle market, has 200 million electric two-wheelers and 300,000 electric buses, according to the International Energy Agency.

by · 06/09/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK: From a tenant South to the tech South

BRACK: From a tenant South to the tech South

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Last year at Elvis Presley’s boyhood home in Tupelo, Miss., I was thrilled to see a white metal bowl with a red rim. It was the same kind of bowl my grandmother used to make biscuits.

A lot of things in the two-room home looked familiar – an oilcloth on a kitchen table, the icebox, pieces of furniture, a butter churn, a metal flour sifter.

To my daughters, however, we were in a different world, a museum. Although Southern, they are growing up in a completely different South, a region defined more by technology than living off of the land.

by · 06/02/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK: New federalism could cause real pain in South Carolina

BRACK: New federalism could cause real pain in South Carolina

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | If you think Washington is a mess these days, consider what could happen in South Carolina if Washington leaders pushed some of their turmoil onto the General Assembly. Can you imagine a scenario in which the mess would be better if Columbia got involved?

For years, conservatives have been pushing a new federalism – a shift of authority from the “big” national government to states. President Donald Trump’s newly-proposed $4 trillion budget is an exercise in new federalism. It calls for drastic cuts in federal programs and shifts of responsibility to states.

by · 05/26/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK: Navigating news in a time of scandal and hyperbole

BRACK: Navigating news in a time of scandal and hyperbole

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | With scandal swirling throughout Washington and more indictments stemming from a corruption probe in Columbia, it is becoming harder to keep up with what’s really happening in government and politics.

Part of the problem is the Internet, which overturned the news apple cart by diversifying and segmenting sources of news into so many streams that it can be difficult to figure out which are credible. There are traditional media – newspapers, magazines, radio and television – which operate under an old model of hiring professionals to report news as they see it and digest information critically to make it understandable. These media are under threat because of loss of revenues to personalized rivers of social media and Internet sites brought to people through computers in their homes and smartphones in their pockets.

by · 05/19/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK: The legislature takes a wild ride in 2017

BRACK: The legislature takes a wild ride in 2017

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | The General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session is sure to be remembered for a long time as a wild ride.

Two things stand out. First, who in the world would have thought the Republican-led legislature would have given millions of dollars in tax relief to working people in South Carolina in a bill to hike taxes to fix roads? Most of the time, tax breaks go to the rich.

Second, who would have thought that the state’s new governor, Henry McMaster, would stay so much in the background during the legislative session?

by · 05/12/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK: People are #waitingfor2018, thanks to health care mess

BRACK: People are #waitingfor2018, thanks to health care mess

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | If you think Obamacare is a disaster, get ready for whatever it is that the Congressional Republicans passed to fix the Affordable Care Act as the political cluster that could be the mother of all nightmares

Why? Because instead of making something that’s a policy and political mess less messy, it’s going to be even messier, particularly after the U.S. Senate gets it.

“Don’t know what’s in it; waiting to see if it’s a boy or a girl,” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joked before the House vote. “But any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours — going to be debated three or four hours, not scored — needs to be viewed with suspicion.”

by · 05/05/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary