Dennis Schiffel

Recent Work

Weak arguments against TASC

History shows that putting some limit on the growth of government bureaucracies, government spending, and government taxes is not unreasonable.

January 16, 2006

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 primary purpose of constitutions. In this case, the initiative simply limits the amount by which taxes and spending can increase. The average annual limit to increases in taxes and spending under the initiative based on historic population and inflation as well as projections would be in the neighborhood of 5 to 6 per cent—still a greater increase than most Nevadans will see in their incomes.

Social Security & Partisanship

Our politicians need to get past their partisanship, to achieve needed reforms.

January 24, 2005

The silly season with respect to reforming the Social Security retirement program is in full swing. Democrats and liberals claim there is at worst a minor financial problem that can be fixed. Republicans and libertarians think the system is broken financially and offers perverse incentives to participants and politicians.

Taxes and Spending—No Limits?

June 21, 2004

Amid much acrimony and embarrassing bureaucratic maneuvering the Nevada legislature in its last session passed the biggest spending and tax plan in state history. The public was not pleased. Grumbling and legal wrangling in the courts continue.

Econ 101 vs. the Politicians

June 14, 2004

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.

Drain the Swamp

May 17, 2004

In a recent letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal a retired teacher noted that a national study ranked Nevada 39th among states in high school graduation rates and 49th in college freshmen dropouts.