a service of NPRI


January 12, 2006 
Vol. 2, No. 1
 

Also in this issue:

Live entertainment tax
a rollercoaster

Former Enron CEOs
get their day in court

Rio using radio tags
on cocktail servers

Anti-Wal-Mart unions
snipe at each other

Vegas market ripe
for real estate fraud

Indian Taker

Commentary:

Schwarzenegger's credibility at risk as he repositions his image

The bureaucrat in your shower

Dollar gets New Year mark down

Property rights protection
drive bogs down


Common Arguments against TASC

By Dennis Schiffel
NPRI Policy Fellow

In a recent Sunday edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, columnist Geoff Schumacher used a number of commonly cited arguments against the Tax and Spending Control initiative of State Senator Beers. Let’s review a few of them.

The op-ed asserts the “...initiative violates the spirit of American governance. We are a republic, which means we elect representatives to make governmental decisions on our behalf.” This argument is fallacious on its face. All democratic governments impose restrictions on their elected officials. That is the...

[continued]


California
Schwarzenegger's credibility at risk as he repositions his image

By Dan Walters
Sacramento Bee

The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1984 sci-fi thriller about a cyborg assassin who traveled back in time to kill a young woman, was an enormous hit -- so much so, that the bodybuilder-turned-actor and movie executives wanted a sequel. That ambition, however, faced a problem.

Schwarzenegger's homicidal character had been obliterated in the first film. Their solution was to repackage the same character as a good guy cyborg sent to Earth to protect the young woman's son - a plot that was basically repeated in "Terminator III," released as Schwarzenegger launched his run for governor. Same character, different situational positioning - more or less what Schwarzenegger is now trying to do with a third version of his governorship ...

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Officiousness
The bureaucrat
in your shower

By Jeffrey Tucker
Ludwig von
Mises Institute

The Department of Energy may soon be paying a visit to a certain shower-head manufacturer in Arizona. The company is Zoe Industries Manufacturing. It runs Showerbuddy.com, a popular site that sells amazing equipment for bathrooms.

Consumers love the company but one man doesn't. He is Al Deitemann, head of conservation for the Seattle Water Board.

[continued]


Crunch time
Dollar gets New Year mark-down

By Peter Schiff
Euro Pacific Capital

If the first trading week of the new year is a sign of things to come, 2006 may finally reunite Americans with economic reality. Behind a smoke screen of optimistic market forecasts, upbeat predictions of continued prosperity, and rising stock prices, lies an economy teetering on the brink of disaster.

Currency traders decided to ring in 2006 by selling those dollars foolishly accumulated in 2005. In the first week of the year the dollar lost about 3% of its value verses other currencies. However, against gold, the ultimate barometer of purchasing power, the dollar lost over 4% of its value. Even worse, in terms of a barrel of crude oil, the dollar lost more then 5% of its value.

[continued]


Pension crisis
Property rights protection gets bogged down

by Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation

On June 23rd, the U.S. Supreme Court sent shock waves through the ranks of the nation’s homeowners and small businesses when it ruled 5 to 4 that government could seize property and transfer it to another private owner if the change in ownership might enhance the community through “economic development.” The case pitted the City of New London, Connecticut, against Susette Kelo, who fought the city for seven years to keep her home from being seized to make room for a major commercial development.

Because the decision alerted families across the nation that their homes are threatened, widespread alarm and opposition quickly spread.

[continued]


WHY BusinessNevada


Takings
That red laser dot
on your forehead ...

Nevada's tax-hungry left is
again targeting business

By Steven Miller
BusinessNevada

Looking in the mirror lately, Nevada gaming companies are again catching sight of red laser dots dancing across their foreheads. At the other end of the sniper scope this time is a known eccentric, one Tony Dane. His brilliant idea? Take gamers’ revenue and give it to somebody else.

While Dane calls himself a Republican, his scheme is mere wealth-redistribution socialism. And though his antics are ham-handed, he’s actually stumbled onto the master plan of Nevada’s Left. Namely, pick some politically vulnerable business, concentrate your forces, and then pick their bones. Notably, the Left is again whining about the plight of its always-failing socialized education and socialized health care sectors—and starting to finger its carving knives.

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Taxes
Live entertainment tax a rollercoaster

By Arnold M. Knightly
LV Business Press

How well, or poorly, the state's embattled live entertainment tax is performing depends on which state agency is collecting the tax. The tax is collected separately by the State Gaming Control Board and Nevada Department of Taxation, depending on whether the entertainment is in or out of a casino.

[continued]


Judgment Day
Former Enron CEOs
get their day in court

By Peter Elkind and Bethany McLean
Fortune Magazine

They stand together against the world: the poster boys of corporate malfeasance, the yin-and-yang former CEOs of Enron finally coming to trial in a drab federal courtroom in downtown Houston.

But in truth, Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling never much cared for one another. The charming Lay wasn't comfortable with Skilling's sharp edges; the brainy Skilling considered Lay a lightweight glad-hander. And each has, at various points, sought to cast some measure of blame on the other for the 2001 bankruptcy of what was once the seventh-largest company in America--an implosion that wiped out 4,500 jobs and $70 billion of investors' money while Lay, Skilling, and other top executives walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Labor relations
Rio using radio tags on cocktail servers

Harrah's says 'pilot program' is
to monitor customer service.

By Valerie Miller
LV Business Press

Harrah's Entertainment has put radio frequency tracking tags on its cocktail waitresses at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in what it calls an effort to improve customer service. However, the gaming giant's use of the technology on its employees is raising some questions.

In what it refers to as a "pilot program," the casino is using the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, which send out signals that are tracked through readers installed at various locations. Harrah's has placed the readers on tables and bars in the beverage and gaming areas to determine how long it takes cocktail waitresses to serve customers, Harrah's Entertainment Chief Information Officer Tim Stanley said. "It just looks at the cycle time between service," he explained.

[continued]


Unions
Anti-Wal-Mart unions snipe at each other

By Ann Zimmerman
The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON -- WakeUpWalMart.com and Wal-Mart Watch have two things in common: They criticize Wal-Mart, and they criticize each other.

A few weeks ago, WakeUpWalMart.com, financed by the grocery workers union, launched its latest TV ad campaign questioning whether Christians should shop at Wal-Mart given its low wages and benefits. At the same time, the group sent a letter to Wal-Mart's chief executive Lee Scott signed by 65 ministers. "Jesus would not embrace Wal-Mart's values of greed and profits at any cost, particularly when children suffer as a result of those misguided values," the letter said.

[continued] This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days after it is e-mailed.


Markets
Vegas market ripe
for real estate fraud

By Kevin Rademacher
InBusiness Las Vegas

As interest rates begin to creep higher and the once-frantic real estate market begins to slow to a more measured growth rate, mortgage regulators and law enforcement officials are growing nervous.

The fear, they reason, is that those willing to skirt the boundaries of legality will begin to press their luck in search of a quick buck.

[continued]


Scandals
Indian Taker

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
The Wall Street Journal

Jack Abramoff was sui generis -- a personality out of control, flamboyantly corrupt, engaged in bizarre antics that your average Zegna-clad Washington lobbyist would never have dreamed of. And yet one of the soggy paper bags that we journalists have a hard time punching our way out of is the notion that any scandal, when it reaches a certain prominence, must be representative. Enron wasn't the exception but the norm of corporate behavior. Jack Abramoff is just the protruding left toe under a bedsheet of K Street corruption.

In fact, the downfall of the man known in every press account as a "Republican lobbyist" was not remotely the upshot of workaday lobbying on behalf of corporations over this or that tax or regulatory issue. The media is wowed by the numbers in such cases but the millions the government giveth or taketh away are less impressive on corporate income statements, and are usually competed away in the marketplace for a company's goods or services.”

[continued] This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days after it is e-mailed.


Property rights
Chamber says 'no' to 2 initiatives

LV Business Press

The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce's Government Affairs Committee has decided to oppose two of the initiative petitions that are circulating this election season -- the Property Tax Restraint Initiative and the Nevada Property Owners Bill of Rights.

In both cases, the chamber's opposition is based on the proposals’ expected negative impact on business.

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