Week in Review
When you work in the think-tank world, where days are consumed with analyzing policy, keeping tabs on the government and promoting transparency, encounters with 16, 17 and 18 year olds can be rare.
It’s not that we don’t want teens to spend their Friday and Saturday nights reading about outrageous and out-of-control government spending in our Piglet Book, or about our efforts to combat the state’s disregard for its own constitution, or our solutions to Nevada’s economic and educational challenges. We know those things are of value to everyone, whether they be 18 or 80.
But the reality is that high school seniors, particularly this time of year, have a lot of other things to worry about — like getting into college and finding a way to pay for it. For the past three years, we’ve been fortunate enough to help make the latter task a little easier for students in Clark County by offering The Professor R.S. Nigam & NPRI Freedom Scholarship.
This was a big week for NPRI.
On Wednesday, our Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation challenged the constitutionality of the state government’s efforts to pick winners and losers in the economy through the Catalyst Fund.
Most of the media coverage since we filed the case — and there’s been plenty of it over the past two days — has rightly focused on the relevant legal issue: The Nevada Constitution expressly prohibits the state from giving money to private companies, and that is what the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is doing through the Catalyst Fund.
That constitutional issue is at the heart of this lawsuit, along with the basic unjustness of making a business subsidize its competition, and I urge you to read Joseph Becker’s detailed explanation of those issues here.
But today, I’d like to discuss another angle to this story, and to dive into the economic problems inherent to the Catalyst Fund’s existence.
In case you didn’t notice — and if you didn’t, you’re probably in trouble — today is Valentine’s Day.
And while the team here nixed my idea of raffling off dates with single staff members, I wanted to make sure NPRI gave you a Valentine’s Day present. And since we’re the generous sort, we decided to give it to the whole state and to provide it a day early.
Yes, I’m referring to our release yesterday of Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System payouts, searchable by name, at TransparentNevada.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week showing that millions of full-time workers will chose to leave their jobs as a result of Obamacare. As is the case with government expansion, Obamacare incentivizes people to not work.
Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution?
I’ve known people who’ve vowed to exercise more, spend quality with their family, eat healthy, read more or even to follow that dream they’ve always had.
I’ve even made some resolutions myself, with varying degrees of success.
A New Year’s resolution is a conscious acknowledgment of personal responsibility — that you have the power to change your job, your body, your circumstances and your life. And you do have that power. Where I’ve succeeded or failed in keeping resolutions, the credit or blame has been my own. I’m guessing your experience has been similar.
When I look back at the past year, I’m really amazed by how much has happened here at NPRI. From helping hundreds of teachers leave their union, to our litigation victories to uphold the rule of law, to our policy work advancing free-market solutions, 2013 was the most exciting and productive year we’ve ever had here at the Institute.
It is NPRI’s members, of course, who make it all possible, and it was wonderful to see so many of our friends last night at our open house/holiday party at our Las Vegas office. In lieu of a typical Week in Review column today, I wanted to invite you to go to our Facebook page and view pictures from yesterday and our Reno open house in November. I hope you enjoy them.
Here at NPRI, we’re all about solutions, and boy, have I got one for you today.
I think we should increase the minimum wage to $1,500 an hour.
I thought of this after reading about President Obama’s push to increase the minimum wage to more than $10 an hour, and then seeing a study touted by liberal groups here in Nevada calling for Silver State policymakers to go even further and set the minimum hourly wage at $15.
You know things aren’t going well for you as a president when the debate between your supporters and detractors isn’t over whether you’re a success or a failure, but over the reasons why you’ve failed.
Many of President Obama’s staunchest defenders have been shell-shocked by the still-unfolding disaster that is the (un)Affordable Care Act, and the honesty some of them have shown in acknowledging that disaster is commendable. But what’s striking is how many of them have insisted on chalking it up to either a botched rollout owing to a few technological glitches, or even a mere failure of public relations. A Nov. 3 column by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne captured both sentiments. After imploring the law’s defenders to focus their attention on “simplifying and fixing the Web site,” Dionne then lamented that the administration “has never adequately defended the law.” Yes, because what Obamacare really needed was one more speech from the president.
Last year at Thanksgiving, I shared a great piece I’d read about the true story behind that special holiday. I received an enormous amount of positive feedback on it, and so I thought that this year, I’d simply publish last year’s column once again. Enjoy…
I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as the quintessentially American holiday, bringing together so many of the things — faith, food, football, family and friends — that make living in this country so wonderful, and so worthy of deep appreciation.
But one of my very favorite things to do at this time of year is to revisit the story of the very first Thanksgiving.
Long-time followers of NPRI will be familiar with the evolution of Nevada Journal, the Institute’s news-reporting operation. Launched as a hard-copy magazine in 1996, Nevada Journal went dormant in 2001 before we finally resuscitated it as an online publication in 2009.
While its format has changed, Nevada Journal’s purpose has not. It exists to provide high-quality reporting on issues that often get overlooked by the traditional media. In recent years, we’ve brought many such stories to light, including the dubious financial practices of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, statewide problems with property-tax assessment practices, and the “double dipping” by former Assembly speaker John Oceguera as both a legislator and a North Las Vegas firefighter.
And now, I’d like to share with you another new development with Nevada Journal that will make us even more effective at fulfilling its mission.