Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.
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.
Long-time NPRI member Swadeep Nigam graciously funds the scholarship in honor of his father, Professor R.S. Nigam, who was a director of the Delhi School of Economics at the University of Delhi, a visiting professor at the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a senior fellow at the University of Wisconsin. Like us, the Nigams understand the benefits of free markets, and they want to not only educate young adults about those benefits, but also to encourage them to begin formulating their own thoughts on the subject.
This year, we’re offering a $2,500 scholarship to a student who plans to pursue a four-year degree in business, economics, political science, public administration or a related field.
Perhaps more important and impactful than the monetary value of the scholarship is the fact that it encourages the leaders of tomorrow to consider free-market principles at the very time they’re becoming adults and forming their own system of beliefs.
In the past, we’ve asked applicants to write essays on how incorporating free-market principles into the state’s education system would improve student achievement; how the country should reduce the national debt; and how raising taxes impacts the economy and unemployment rate.
This year, we’re asking applicants to consider something more specific and extremely timely: whether the Las Vegas City Council should subsidize a downtown sports arena with public funds, and what doing so would mean for the economy.
The question gets to the heart of an issue we’ve already discussed at length this year and will continue to write about in the future: When the government picks winners and losers in the market, it’s bad for taxpayers, it’s bad for business and it’s bad for the economy.
I don’t want to give away too much on the issue of stadium subsidies, just in case any applicants are reading this (but as a tip, we will have something on that very soon). But the idea of the government controlling economic activity by selectively favoring one business or type of business over another is at the heart of the lawsuit we filed last week against the Governor’s Office of Economic Development regarding its Catalyst Fund.
And as I wrote to you Wednesday, our lawsuit is already making a positive impact. Just two days after our Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation filed the suit in Carson City, Reno Deputy City Attorney Jonathan Shipman asked the Reno City Council to hold off on awarding a $577,500 grant to a company through the Catalyst Fund.
Reno’s pause is a great example of how simply alerting people to the flaws in or unconstitutionality of a policy or law can lead to positive change. My hope is that the youth of today will realize this as they become the adults of tomorrow.
So, if you know any Clark County seniors — whether they be homeschooled or attending private or public school — I hope you’ll encourage them to take some time to consider how detrimental and unjust it is when government involves itself in the market. And I hope you’ll encourage them to apply for the scholarship, which they can do here.
Last week I solicited suggestions on places to go during my trip to Oregon this weekend, and I was amazed by how many of you got back to me with ideas. I’m extremely grateful to those of you who took the time to do so — and flattered by how many of you asked if you could join me!
Common suggestions included Cannon Beach, Coos Bay and the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and all three are on my list of spots to check out.
As it turns out, I’ve actually had to postpone my trip. But not to worry — I’ll be heading up there in a few weeks, so all of your advice will be put to good use.
To those who offered your ideas, I want to extend my sincerest gratitude for your thoughtfulness. And as always, thanks for reading, and for your support for NPRI.
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