a service of NPRI


September 15, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 30
 

Also in this issue:

Picketers for hire

Next stop: Suckerville

Feds won't cover cost
of housing refugees

Nevada one of 10 states with the highest gas taxes

Hualapais gambling
on tourism without casinos

Companies: Older
workers major asset

Commentary:

Louisiana greens fought stronger levees

The real lesson from Katrina

Thirty years of reasons to fear the housing market

Planning is socialism

Recent NPRI Commentaries

Infantile Adult Syndrome
We subsidize pathology, then wonder why we get more of it

Dead and Not
Knowing It, Part 2

Dead and Not
Knowing It, Part 1

Nevada's tax-financed universities are based on a paradigm that no longer represents reality.

On Ratchets
Taxeaters love to rant about the TABOR "ratchet." But they've got a much more insidious one of their own.


Enviromentalism
Louisiana greens fought stronger levees

By John Berlau
National Review Online

With all that has happened in the state, it’s understandable that the Louisiana chapter of the Sierra Club may not have updated its website. But when its members get around to it, they may want to change the wording of one item in particular.

The site brags that the group is “working to keep the Atchafalaya Basin,” which adjoins the Mississippi River not far from New Orleans, “wet and wild.” These words may seem especially inappropriate after the breaking of the levee that caused the tragic events in New Orleans last week. But “wet and wild” has a larger significance in light of those events, and so does the group using the phrase.

The national Sierra Club was one of several environmental groups who sued the Army Corps of Engineers to stop a 1996 plan to raise and fortify Mississippi River levees. The Army Corps was planning...

[continued]


The Economy
The real lesson from Katrina

By Peter Schiff
Euro Pacific Capital

Apparently, New Orleans residents believed that their situation was the exception that proved Murphy’s Law. Though the inability of New Orleans’ levee system to withstand a category four hurricane was apparently widely known, rather then doing something preemptive to fortify it, the people and their government decided to do nothing and hope for the best. So each year, they played a version of Hurricane Russian Roulette, and until 2005, the cartridge was always empty.

[continued]


Bubbles
Thirty years of reasons to fear the housing market

By Mark Gilbert
Bloomberg

David Rosenberg, the chief economist for North America at Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York, is “convinced that the housing market is ripe for a price correction.” If he’s right, 30 years of history suggests any collapse would imperil the outlook for global economic growth.

Thomas Helbling, deputy chief of the world economic studies division at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, tracked the housing market histories of 14 industrialized nations for the period from 1970 to 2002, finding 75 home-price cycles.

[continued]


Futility
Planning is socialism

By Ray Haynes
Mises Institute

In the first line of his book, Planning for Freedom, Ludwig von Mises, the famed Austrian economist, observed “Planning is socialism.” I will admit that my first acquaintance with government planners was a planning class in my Master’s program, where I was given the party line about how important it was to plan for growth.

I read dozens of books, by some very brilliant writers, bemoaning the fact that our society doesn’t plan growth...

[continued]


WHY BusinessNevada


Labor
The reality behind the AFL-CIO split

Farce and Greek Tragedy

By Leo Troy
Professor of Economics, Emeritus
Rutgers University

Union dissidents and the media have been saying that the split in the AFL-CIO is a result of the Federation’s failure to organize the unorganized and halt the long decline of unions’ market share in the private sector economy. They say the Federation is under- spending on unionization and overspending on failed efforts to elect Democrats.

UNITE-HERE
quits AFL-CIO

Culinary’s national parent becomes 4th union to split.
New York Times

Unions upset at Davis-Bacon waiver
Wanted to squeeze Katrina victims, states, companies
The Hill

Union critics of John Sweeney—especially Andrew Stern of the Service Employees International Union and James Hoffa of the Teamsters—further say that they have withdrawn from the AFL-CIO to dramatize their opposition to these policies. The reforms they demand include a refund of part of the affiliates’ per capita membership fees so that individual unions can spend more on organizing instead of on political action.

In truth, the reformers’ charges are farcical and their remedies hollow: Membership fees to the AFL-CIO are a very small fraction of affiliates’ total expenditures (and income).

[continued]


Temp work
Picketers for hire

The strange business of protesting jobs that may be better than yours

By Stacy J. Willis
Las Vegas Weekly

The shade from the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market sign is minimal around noon; still, six picketers squeeze their thermoses and Dasani bottles onto the dirt below, trying to keep their water cool. They're walking five-hour shifts on this corner at Stephanie Street and American Pacific Drive in Henderson—anti-Wal-Mart signs propped lazily on their shoulders, deep suntans on their faces and arms—with two 15-minute breaks to run across the street and use the washroom at a gas station.

Periodically one of them will sit down in a slightly larger slice of shade under a giant electricity pole in the intersection. Four lanes of traffic rush by, some drivers honk in support, more than once someone has yelled, "assholes!" but mostly, they're ignored.

They're not union members; they're temp workers employed through Allied Forces/Labor Express by the union—United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). They're making $6 an hour, with no benefits; it's 104 F, and they're protesting the working conditions inside the new Wal-Mart grocery store.

[continued]


Juice
Next stop: Suckerville

The ‘public’ Las Vegas Monorail is taking taxpayers for a very expensive ride

By Steve Sebelius
and George Knapp
Las Vegas City Life

The Las Vegas monorail train slows somewhat as it approaches its worst turn, a near 90-degree elbow at Koval Lane and Spring Mountain Road, as if to gain better purchase on the narrow track below. A female voice thanks riders for letting the monorail help their “trip down the Strip,” which is somewhat misleading. Although it comes tantalizingly close in places, the monorail never actually touches Las Vegas Boulevard.

[continued]


Katrina
Feds won’t cover cost of housing refugees

By Valerie Miller
LV Business
Press

Local housing authorities are paying to house the thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina who have already arrived in Las Vegas. Those costs have exhausted the budgets that usually pay to house the poor but officials say the Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to reimburse them for the emergency housing.

[continued]


Gas Prices
Nevada one of 10 states
with the highest gas taxes

National average is 45.9 cents; Nevadans pay 51.9

By Jonathan Williams
The Tax Foundation

With gas prices on the rise in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Tax Foundation has released a new fact sheet examining the impact of local, state and federal gas taxes on retail gasoline prices. While supply and demand determine gas prices, gasoline taxes are responsible for a significant portion of the price drivers pay at the pump.

According to the new analysis, the combined burden of federal, state and local gas taxes is roughly 45.9 cents for every gallon purchased, and exceeds 60 cents per gallon in some states. That amounts to an annual gas tax burden of roughly $271 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

[continued]


Integrity
Hualapais gambling
on tourism without casinos

By Richard N. Velotta
InBusinessLasVegas

The doors opened last week to Southern Nevada’s newest tourist attraction -- in Arizona. Grand Canyon West, an isolated section of the western reaches of the Grand Canyon, is operated by the Hualapai Indian Tribe, which has chosen to exploit the scenic beauty of its homeland rather than plopping down a casino to generate income."

[continued]


Employees
Companies: Older workers major asset

By Alana Roberts
InBusinessLasVegas

As more employers consider the consequences of losing workers to retirement, some companies are making efforts to hire and retain workers age 50 and up.

Bob Berg, vice president of human resources for Iowa-based engineering firm Stanley Consultants Inc., which employs about 90 workers in Las Vegas, said the company depends on workers with a wide scope of knowledge and experience, attributes that older workers are often equipped to provide.

“In terms of retaining them, we’re in the engineering consulting industry,” Berg said. “What we sell is our knowledge, our intellectual property. Our older workers have amassed a great deal of knowledge relating to our industry, our customers. They have the street sense of running the business. We hate to see that knowledge walk out the door.” 

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