As we welcome a new year, Carolina Journal Radio reviews some of the most interesting topics from 2016. If you’re searching for a common thread that unites most progressive public policy proposals, consider coercion. That’s the conclusion of John Locke Foundation Vice President for Research Roy Cordato. From the minimum wage to environmental restrictions to education programs, progressives tend to want government to force people into making decisions that satisfy the progressives’ policy preferences. Cordato contrasts the coercive approach to one that focuses on freedom and limited government. Students have returned to college campuses across the country, but many of them have not returned to places interested in the free flow of often-controversial ideas. Robert Shibley, the N.C.-based executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, documents disturbing trends for free speech on campuses in North Carolina and nationwide. N.C. State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues hosted an event this year focusing on the future of work. During one panel discussion, JLF Chairman John Hood responded to a question about whether governments should address income inequality by increasing the mandated minimum wage. It’s unlikely that you’ve heard much about the potential threat of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. But James Carafano hopes to raise awareness of the devastation that could result in the United States from an EMP attack. Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, says the complications from an EMP attack could end up killing nine out of 10 Americans. He’s urging policymakers to take steps that would limit the potential for such havoc. North Carolina’s criminal code is much larger than those in neighboring states. That doesn’t necessarily mean the state is doing a better job fighting crime. Many of the state’s crimes target small business owners and entrepreneurs who fail to fill out proper paperwork or jump through bureaucratic hoops. Becki Gray, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for outreach, discusses efforts to fight overcriminalization in North Carolina.