Econ 101 vs. the Politicians

June 14, 2004 | by Dennis Schiffel

The news media are busily reporting the comments of elected officials about gas prices. Frequently, neither the media nor the politicians’ comments make any sense. Let’s look at a few of those comments.

Railroading Taxpayers

December 1, 2000 | by D. Dowd Muska

The train purchased by Amtrak to reestablish connection between Las Vegas and Los Angeles is finally in service. There’s only one problem: It’s serving the residents of Seattle and Vancouver. The plan to link Las Vegas to Los Angeles with a Talgo train is behind schedule, and Amtrak has allowed its Seattle-to-Vancouver route to borrow the vehicle. Yet despite this latest Amtrak failure, many officials from Southern Nevada’s public and private sectors continue to believe that taxpayers should fund the costs of connecting Southern Nevada and Southern California by rail. Herewith, a look at how Amtrak fleeces taxpayers, and an overview of the problems with a much-hyped “superspeed” train that might be built between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

NPRI’s Second Annual ‘Overlooked Awards’

March 15, 1999 | by D. Dowd Muska

Later this month Project Censored, a left-wing media group, will reveal the ten stories it believes were "censored" by the nation’s mainstream press in 1998. The Nevada Policy Research Institute offered its first list of the stories the Silver State’s media ignore last year. Herewith, NPRI’s Second Annual Overlooked Awards. The following are not censored stories but rather topics which got little (or flawed) press coverage in 1998, due to reporters’ laziness and/or lack of understanding—not to mention the well-funded snow jobs often orchestrated by special interests in Nevada.

Headed Down the Wrong Trak

October 15, 1998 | by D. Dowd Muska

In 1997, Amtrak discontinued the Desert Wind, its route between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. This decision meant rail service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles was no longer available. But that will soon change, with a new route which directly links the two cities. Funded in part by Southern Nevada casinos, it will shuttle passengers between Las Vegas and L.A. in Spanish-built Talgo trains. Many casino executives and politicians have high hopes that the new rail route will alleviate traffic congestion on I-15. However, reality flies in the face of this assumption. Trains now carry a minuscule portion of American travelers, and despite the shorter trips Talgo trains provide, they are unlikely to lure Vegas-bound gamblers away from their cars. Furthermore, America’s nationalized passenger rail service is a fiscal disaster. Rather than seeking for ways to prop up Amtrak with "public-private partnerships" such as the one currently at work in Southern Nevada, Congress should privatize the service completely, or defund it altogether.

What Fuels Nevada's High Gas Prices

January 21, 1998 | by D. Dowd Muska

Nevadans constantly complain—and rightfully so—about the high price of gasoline in the Silver State. Although prices have declined in recent months, gas in Nevada costs significantly higher than in other states, including nearby California. Many critics, such as the editors of the Las Vegas Sun, allege the state is being "gouged by an industry that allows only token competition." Such claims remain to be proven, but one fact in the discussion regarding gas prices cannot be disputed: the majority of Nevada’s drivers pay a whopping 52.05 cents per gallon in federal, state, and county taxes. Herewith, an examination of Nevada’s gas tax structure.

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