a service of the Nevada Policy Research Institute

On getting our clock cleaned -- repeatedly

Or: Why Nevada business regularly ends up as the main course on everyone else's dinner plate -- and what to do about it.

In October 1964, in his first nationally televised speech to the American people, Ronald Reagan—on behalf of the Presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater—cited a news story from earlier that year.

“Last February 19 at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-time candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, ‘If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States.’

"I think that’s exactly what he will do,” said Reagan.

Of course, Barry Goldwater did not become president, and today, as Milton Friedman points out, the U.S. is today well over 50% socialist. And that's by the socialists' own classic definition of their goal: "control over the means of production."

It has come about primarily through the concentrated efforts of those who, being in government, want ever bigger government, and those who, feeding off government spending, want ever-higher government spending.

Their spearhead has been government employees who stay permanently on the offensive and who work full-time , usually on the taxpayers' dime, organizing to expand the beachheads they have already established in government.

This is also the story here in the state of Nevada:

It’s why, right after the largest tax increase in state history, every day brings news of how they are maneuvering to keep and spend all of the state’s unjustified $1.4 billion-dollar surplus on brand-new programs—programs that will, of course, require brand-new tax increases at the very next economic slump.

It's why, after years of warnings over Nevada's property tax system, every day still brings news of lawmakers maneuvering to keep from returning any of the property tax windfall the governments are receiving. It reveals a breath-taking willingness to tolerate financial hardship on thousands of average Nevada homeowners.

It’s why, in Clark County and Washoe County both, additional half-percent hikes in the sales tax are on the launch pad, and

It’s why the Clark County commission just callously -- and unanimously -- stuck the already highly taxed car rental industry with a brand new 2 percent tax to fund the commissioners' cultural pretensions in the form of a new public performing arts boondoggle.

Nevada's barons of government, when they think of business at all, increasingly only see trussed-up roast pigs on serving platters -- with apples in their mouths.

Clearly, something new is needed here in Nevada to put a halt to this madness. Looking at it from the point of view of business, it needs to be something that will throw a real fright into self-seeking politicians. Looking at it from the standpoint of NPRI and our mission of expanding personal and economic freedom, it needs to be a new force for freedom in the policy arena.

So what is the strongest potential force for freedom in this state? Based on our wide-ranging experience at NPRI, we have come to believe it would be an informed, unified and organized independent business community. Clearly we don’t have that now—at least, not in comparison with the coalition that regularly forms around the idea of preying upon the general Nevada business community. But we believe it is doable, and doable without huge difficulty.

For the Nevada business community, these conditions I mentioned—informed, unified and organized—will need to be achieved in a certain order. Organization always depends upon a prior, agreed unity of purpose. Similarly, that unity of purpose requires some common, underlying information.

So this is where NPRI proposes to start—with information.

We believe that Nevada’s independent business people need a statewide network where business leaders and friendly legislators who do have important strategic and tactical information to share can get the word out efficiently, statewide, to the business people who need or want to know.

NPRI is creating such a network. We've recently met with leaders from different organizations in the independent or non-gaming business community getting their counsel and their commitment. What you are reading now, BusinessNevada---a free, e-mail newsletter on policy-related matters of interest to Nevada businesses---is an outgrowth of those meetings.

Once a week (or oftener, when needed), Business Nevada will go out to the entire Nevada general business community. Appearing unobtrusively on subscribers’ computer desktops, it will be available there whenever they want to check it. It will feature interviews with key legislators and business leaders, actively managed links to news stories important to Nevada business, and access to private discussion boards where members and subscribers can exchange valuable information.

Information changes behavior. It is in this way, we believe, that this statewide information service—stepping over the fragmentation that in so many ways afflicts the business community in Nevada today—will begin unifying that community and thus increasing its influence:

  • Thousands of new Nevada business people will have good information on important policy questions.
  • Business people and interested lawmakers who do have good information will be able to efficiently communicate that information statewide.
  • With many more business people well-informed about the threats coming at them and “on the same page,” statewide unity will grow.
  • Because business people deal practically with problems they face, that unity of purpose will increasingly, spontaneously take the form of effective statewide organization.
  • Thus this information service and statewide network will, in turn, generate an empowered general business community, with its own statewide infrastructure.

Business Nevada, reaching east and west and north and south across the state,  will give the business community the means to play a positive, active role in shaping Nevada’s destiny—during the current legislative session and in years to come.

We would very much welcome your active participation and assistance.