In case you missed it...


The Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in NPRI’s lawsuit against the Nevada Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The Institute was forced to sue in 2015 after PERS refused to disclose public-record information — just the most recent attempt by the agency to circumvent the letter and spirit of Nevada’s public record laws. NPRI Transparency Director Robert Fellner, at the hearing, said the court seemed to be receptive to the argument that the public is entitled to the information PERS has tried so hard to conceal. (Read more)


Fiscal and taxes

Ignoring objections from his own party, libertarian groups and the overwhelming majority of economists, President Donald Trump has decided to go forward with punitive tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The unilateral executive action is being done under the color of “national security” — a precedent that some have not only questioned, but worry could prove to be a very slippery slope. Already, free-market proponents in Congress are trying to evaluate what, if anything, they might be able to do to undo Trump’s ill-advised tariffs. (Read more)



In a move that is not too distanced from satire, cities and states have fallen over themselves in the last year in an effort to lure Internet retailing giant Amazon into their respective communities. (Watch this video for Reason’s humorous take on the issue.) Las Vegas, eventually cut out of the running, was apparently no exception. According to public records, Vegas was willing to grant Amazon 84 acres in the city’s downtown, along with a slew of other goodies. (Read more)


Criminal justice

Bipartisanship is not dead. In Connecticut, at least one good policy proposal won widespread approval: A bill ending the use of civil asset forfeiture unless accompanied by a criminal conviction. Civil asset forfeiture is the practice in which law enforcement agencies are able to confiscate property they argue may be tied to a crime — even if no criminal charges are levied against the owner. Connecticut’s law — which won unanimous support in the House and Senate — is a major step toward ensuring due process rights for property owners. (Read more)


Labor unions

Why should employees have the right to opt-out of a union? Well, in short, it’s because public sector unions are inherently political, and no American should be forced to support a cause with which they disagree. (Watch the video)


Continuing series on special education

Don’t miss the latest installment of Fixing Special Ed, NPRI Senior VP Steve Miller’s in-depth series documenting the abuse, law-breaking and deception that too frequently now characterizes public school districts’ administration of special education. Part 4 reveals the record tampering, state and federal law violations and illegal actions the Clark County School District resorted to, in an effort to avoid accountability to parents and students.  (Read the series here)



In case you missed it...


The Nevada Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week in NPRI’s lawsuit against the Nevada Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The core of the case concerns the repeated and ongoing attempts by PERS to conceal its pension payout amounts from public scrutiny. A recent case in New York shows why transparency is critical if government insiders are to be held accountable: Turns out a sanitation worker there was pocketing an annual pension approaching $300 grand — more than twice the amount of his former salary. (Read more)


Fiscal and taxes

Thursday, President Trump announced new punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as the centerpiece of his protectionist trade policies. In addition to potentially damaging the beer industry (no, seriously…) the tariffs are expected to greatly increase the costs consumers will pay for goods made with aluminum and steel. Ostensibly, the 25 percent tariff on steel is supposed to increase domestic production of steel — by increasing the cost of imports — and so create domestic steel-working jobs. That outcome, however, is unlikely: Not only will higher prices cost jobs in other sectors of the economy, but most employment losses in the U.S. steel industry reflect its modernization through improved efficiency and technological advancements — not foreign imports. (Read more)


Labor unions

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME — a case that could restore First Amendment rights for millions of state and local government workers across America. Mark Janus, a child-support specialist for the State of Illinois, is suing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in an effort to end a practice that requires workers to pay money to a union as a condition of employment. Mark Janus explained his position in a USA Today opinion piece, stating simply “AFSCME uses my monthly fees to promote an agenda I don’t support.” (Read more)


Individual responsibility

Curling isn’t exactly the most exciting Olympic sport, but it is unique in one important regard: Its rules are almost entirely enforced not by judges or referees, but by the players themselves. There are no referees blowing whistles, no instant replays, no slow-motion analysis and no forced penalties by any “neutral” authority. Instead, players accept personal responsibility and voluntarily hold each other accountable for a fair game. In other words, as Eric Boehm at put it, “curling is a sport that, more so than almost any other, is played in a state of anarchy.” No doubt the late Murray Rothbard would love it — and point out the lessons in there for the rest of us. (Read more)


Continuing series on special education

Don’t miss the latest installment of Fixing Special Ed, NPRI Senior VP Steve Miller’s in-depth series documenting the abuse, law-breaking and deception that for decades has too frequently characterized public school districts’ administration of special education. If you’ve ever doubted that special-needs families face grudging resistance and outright lawbreaking in America’s school districts, the LA school district’s court-appoint monitor, David Rostetter, can quickly destroy any illusions you may have. Rostetter has acknowledged what many parents of special-needs children have long believed — that systemic flouting of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is conscious school-district policy in many locales across the U.S.  (Read the series here)



In case you missed it...


Mike Rowe, famous for hosting the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” series, has become known in recent years as a rare voice of reason in an otherwise hyper-partisan world of celebrities. When asked about his reaction to the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Rowe once again extended his unique brand of rational thinking to the conversation. “Should we discuss the impact of video games, accessible firearms, single-parents, no parents, powerful medications, social media, mental illness, bullying, or anything else we think might have encouraged [the shooter] to choose evil over good? Without question,” explained Rowe, “but we should also stop confusing the influence of such things, with the root cause.” (Read more)



Hosting the Olympics has proven to be a budget-busting “privilege” for cities and their taxpayers. For example, it took Montréal 30 years to pay back the money it borrowed for hosting the 1976 games. The decaying ruins of the elaborate venues built specifically for the games often serve as visual reminders of the massive waste involved in hosting. The facilities in Athens already looks like a landscape from an apocalyptic future. Sochi’s Olympic village was described as a $50 billion “ghetto” just one year after the games ended. The 1984 games, however, were different. Far from leaving behind massive debts and abandoned ruins, the 1984 Olympics actually turned a profit! So, how did they do it? Well, let’s just say it wasn’t government’s doing. (Read more)


Educational choice

A top public school administrator in Washington D.C. was forced out of office this week, after it was discovered that he had conspired with other administrators to illegally place his daughter in the district’s highest-performing public school. As explained, “At the end of the day, these self-dealing bureaucrats were trying to get what libertarians have long argued all parents deserve: meaningful choices about where to educate their kids.” (Read more)


Economic development

Nevada’s “economic development” officials are fighting to keep the crony handouts alive in the Silver State, through incentive packages like the one given Tesla to build a big factory in Storey County. Not all policy experts are on board, however. Pew Charitable Trust — hardly a libertarian or limited-government organization — has criticized Nevada’s tax incentive packages, pointing out the lack of accountability. NPRI Communication Director Michael Schaus went even further, pointing out that since low property taxes worked to attract a business such as Tesla, lawmakers should offer low taxes to all businesses — not just those with political clout. (Read more)


Minimum wage

A “progressive” Nevada group is once again pushing for a government-mandated $15 minimum wage — and it’s doing so while depending on the efforts of unpaid interns. As Victor Joecks points out in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, all political and advocacy campaigns depend on volunteers, but these interns are much more than that. According to the job description, interns must work 10 to 15 hours a week for a minimum of 15 weeks, commit to the internship “as they would a work schedule” and attend at least five events that are “often” held outside of regular work hours. Apparently, a $15 minimum wage only sounds good, so long as these progressives don’t actually have to pay their workforce. (Read more)


Continuing series on special education

Don’t miss the latest installment of Fixing Special Ed, NPRI Senior VP Steve Miller’s in-depth series documenting the abuse, law-breaking and deception that too frequently now characterizes public school districts’ administration of special education. Part Two, released this week, details the clear message sent by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit — where Nevada appeals must be heard. Not only did the justices of the Ninth oh-so-dispassionately hammer a California school district for its repeatedly attempted deceptions, but the lower district court and its hearing officer got clear reprimands as well. So, is the jig is really up for school districts that attempt to save money by misleading parents? (Read the series here)



In case you missed it...


Educational choice

Don’t miss Fixing Special Ed, NPRI Senior Vice President Steven Miller’s latest series on education — this one documenting the slow-moving, budget-busting tsunami of special-education costs soon to slam into the State of Nevada and its 17 school districts. The new 11-part series reveals why the existing federal-state system is breaking down, all across the U.S. — but also, the new solutions becoming available: Educational-choice options at the state level not only help special-needs students and their families with genuine customized education for the students, but also yield important savings for state budgets and taxpayers. (Read the series here)


Education spending

The education establishment is, once again, wailing that it lacks “enough” money for Nevada’s public schools. The argument, however, falls apart upon further inspection. Not only has Nevada nearly tripled its inflation-adjusted per pupil spending, but more and more evidence nationally indicates that there’s virtually no correlation between education spending and student performance. Some systems that spend vastly more than Nevadasuch as the states of Alaska, West Virginia and the District of Columbiarank significantly worse. By contrast, states that spend less than Nevadalike Arizona, Idaho and Utahall rank significantly higher. (Read more)


Criminal justice

On a neighborhood street in Coachella Valley, California, a city code enforcement officer sent a written warning to a landlord after spotting a few chickens in the backyard of a tenant’s home. That was three years ago, and 79-year-old Ramona Moralesthe landlordthought the issue was resolved after she had her tenant get rid of the chickens. Now, however, Morales faces nearly $6,000 in fees, thanks to a law firm handling the city’s prosecutions. “If you combine capacious and vague code, where almost anything can be a violation, and you let the person who is going to enforce the code make money off of it, then the potential for abuse is just tremendous,” explained Morales’ lawyer. (Read more)


Labor unions

Labor unions are panicked about an upcoming Supreme Court case that pits an Illinois man named Mark Janus against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Janus has sued AFSCME over being forced to pay union dues, even though he does not want to be a part of the union. More interestingly, union leaders are claiming that if the court rules against the union, minorities wouldsomehowbe disproportionately hurt if they and other workers suddenly had the freedom to exit union membership. (Read more)



President Trump’s administration has started pushing to actually impose protectionist-style tariffs on various industries and imports. Not everyone, however, is on board with this idea. When Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) pointed out that past import restrictions and tariffs have caused serious damage to American consumers, the President shrugged off the concerns. The evidence, however, speaks for itself: Just like other increased taxes, tariffs are indirect taxes paid for by consumers not bugaboo foreign interests or faceless corporations. (Read more)



In case you missed it...


Minimum wage

It’s worth repeating: Minimum wage increases cost jobs. When Ontario raised its minimum wage by roughly 20 percent, politicians certainly patted themselves on the back for “helping” low-wage workers. The result of their policy, however, has been quite a different story. Some 59,300 part time jobs have been lost as a result of the higher wage — and many companies are cutting back on costs in other ways, such as reducing benefits, ending paid breaks and hiking prices. As Ontario is quickly learning, there still is no such thing as a free lunch. (Read more)


Civil rights

What is the greatest libertarian accomplishment? According to David Boaz at the Cato Institute, it’s the abolition of slavery. In an article about Black History Month, Boaz explains that “Much of the progress we have made in the United States has involved extending the promises of the Declaration of Independencelife, liberty and the pursuit of happinessto more and more people.” And he’s right. The abolition of slavery, and the 20th century’s civil rights movement, was a quintessentially libertarian moment. After all, it was a movement that prioritized the rights of individuals over the oppressive nature of government. (Read more)



Every four years, the American people have the opportunity to vote for the President of the United States. Indeed, all of our elected representatives must win the approval of their constituency to remain in power. It’s such a basic feature of our representative government, most people never give it a second thought. It is simply a given that voters should have a say over who represents their interests in government. And yet, millions of workers across America are never given the opportunity to vote on who will represent their interests in labor agreements. In fact, unions are actively fighting the conceptarguing instead that once a union gains power in a workplace, workers should never again have the opportunity to vote on representation. Would we tolerate such an anti-democratic arrangement in any other aspect of daily life? (Read more)


Climate change

When governments in California sue energy producerssuch as Exxon Mobilefor contributing to climate change, they insist that local damage from global warming will cost billions of dollars to mitigate. When those same governments talk to investors, however, they sing a different tuneessentially shrugging off concerns that apocalyptic climate change will have an impact on the government’s finances. So which is it? (Read more)


Free markets

As it turns out, capitalism is awfully persistent. Whether it is a cultural upheaval, economic depression or any other “bad news,” capitalism faces the challenges and then goes right back to generating widespread prosperity. As Nick Gillespie explains it at, “Capitalism's genius, it turns out, is a form of repressive tolerance that, as economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, brought more and more stuff to more and more people. (Read more)





In case you missed it...



Groundhog Day

It’s Friday, February 2nd, Groundhog Day. I am always a bit confused by what it means for Punxsutawney Phil to see his shadow and how that can possibly translate to the length of the winter season.

Does it have something to do with Global Warming?

Regardless, on this day I can’t help but think of the film in which Bill Murray is trapped repeating the same miserable day, over and over, until he gets it right.

Well, here in Nevada we have our own version of Groundhog Day when it comes to the performance of our (government run) public school system.

How long must these children have to be stuck in the same terrible schools, receiving an education that leaves them ill-prepared for success? The sad part is, they can’t do anything about it. They are not the ones who can get it right.

We are. The adults. The citizens of Nevada. The voters.

When will the school district administrations, unions and our elected officials make real change? When will the parents rise up and demand better options for their children?

When the voters put enough pressure on the system — that’s when.

NPRI is here to create that pressure. Pressure, discomfort, guilt in the conscience of those who have the ability to implement change. Conscience over the thousands of opportunities for Nevada children lost, followed by real ideas for school reform.

In the movie, Bill Murray grows tired of waking up every morning to the alarm clock playing Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe”. Well, I’m tired of waking up each morning and reading about how the schools in Nevada are terrible.

Let’s not keep repeating the same mistakes. Let’s get it right this time!


In case you missed it…


Tax reform/ global apocalypse

According to Nancy Pelosi, passage of the GOP tax reform bill “literally” marked “the end of the world.” So, the apocalypse is now upon us. But as NPRI Communications Director Michael Schaus points out: At least the end of the world comes with a bump in pay! Workers and businesses are already seeing the benefits from the reduction in tax rates and starting this month, workers will see an increase in their take-home pay, thanks to lower withholding. In other words, despite the apocalyptic rhetoric from the reform’s opponents, Americans in every income bracket are about to see their financial situation improve. What a way for the world to end. (Read more)


Civil Asset Forfeiture

While many states have implemented new limits on the policing practice known as “Civil Asset Forfeiture,” Nevada has not. In fact, law enforcement agencies in Nevada are exploiting the practice even more than in years prior. This alone should be enough to concern civil libertarians, but it actually gets worse: The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is using a legally


dubious argument to keep the public in the dark when it comes to how, exactly, it uses the practice. (Read more)


Big Government

One of the policy proposals floated by President Trump in the State of the Union Address this week was the concept of federally-implemented “paid family leave.” Some libertarian and conservative policy wonks have tried to outline ways such a policy could be done without creating a new entitlement program on the federal level. One idea is to allow individuals the ability to receive paid leave through Social Security but such concepts still have one major flaw: It’s still a new entitlement, being funded by a federal government that already overspends on social welfare programs with little regard for future fiscal restraint. (Read more)



Why is it that progressives constantly complain about the corruption that stems from “money in politics,” but then trust the very politicians who are supposedly corrupted by all that money to fix that problem? Indeed, on many issues, the liberal left is plagued by cognitive dissonance. But they aren’t alone. In fact, conservatives and libertarians suffer from the same phenomenon in many cases. How, exactly, are we supposed to have honest and open debate about policies, if we can’t even be honest and open with ourselves? (Read more)



Every time we turn around, it seems as theres another tax being levied against businesses, another regulation being implemented or more talk about raising the minimum wage. Unfortunately, these anti-business proposals are often supported by large portions of the voting public and there’s a good reason why that is the case: Most people are under the impression that businesses have far higher profit margins than they actually do. This explains why so many voters are quick to support such policies, and dismissive of warnings that doing so will drive up prices. (Read more)


Second Amendment

Very few things about so-called “commonsense” gun-control are actually grounded in anything resembling common sense. New York’s most recent gun-control attempt is a perfect example. Empire-State residents now must first obtain a permit to purchase or even possess a handgun. The permit is supposed to be issued on a lifetime basis, but thanks to the state’s anti-gun “SAFE” act, permit holders were required to renew their lifetime permits by January 31, 2018. The requirement has caused confusion, civil disobedience and outright refusal to comply. So far, anywhere between 20 and 50 percent of the state’s lawful firearm owners have failed renew their permits, creating a headache for law enforcement tasked with ensuring compliance. (Read more)






In case you missed it...

School Choice

Happy National School Choice Week! Despite the fact that Nevada failed to fund and implement the nation’s first-ever universal school choice program in 2017 — Education Savings Accounts — the landscape for increased choice in education continues to be promising both nationally and locally. Underreported, however, is the fact that the recently passed GOP tax reform plan is, in fact, a step toward greater school choice for many middle-income families. With the Child Tax Credit being increased, many families might soon find themselves in a better financial position to seek out educational options such as extra-curricular lessons, tutoring or even private school. (Read more)


Tax reform

It seems like every week since the passage of the GOP tax plan, we’ve seen multiple stories about businesses giving their workers raises, shelling out bonuses or bringing more money back to the United States — and this last week was no exception. FedEx is the latest company to announce it will be using tax savings to reinvest in its workforce. According to the announcement, employees will see more than $3 billion in raises and wage increases, thanks to the reform. Opponents of the tax plan, however, aren’t letting up. They continue to insist — despite the boosted paychecks and larger take-home pay for most Americans — that the reform is nothing but bad news. (Watch here)


Individual privacy

Do you own your information if it’s digitally held by a software company? What if that information is stored outside of the United States? Where, exactly, is the line that allows the federal government to treat digital property differently than other types of property? These are a few of the questions that are likely to be answered by a pending U.S. Supreme Court case. In short, the U.S. government is seeking access to electronic communications that Microsoft has stored in Ireland — but the software giant is arguing that users, not Microsoft, owns that data, and therefore the government should follow the process for pursuing foreign investigations. The government, unsurprisingly, disagrees. As Ilya Shapiro writes at The Federalist, “The online world relies on trust. If consumers cannot trust that their data is secure and private, they will be far less likely to engage in e-commerce or even to send email.” (Read more)



Nevada Policy Research Institute’s recent paper highlighting the possibility of work-requirements for able-bodied Medicaid enrollees is already making noise throughout the state. The Nevada Independent reported that, unsurprisingly, “progressive” groups and politicians are largely opposed to the idea — an idea that is conceptually similar to the welfare work-requirements implemented by the Clinton administration in the 1990s. But, as NPRI Policy Analyst Daniel Honchariw points out, “Unfortunately, as the system currently works, it actually encourages many able-bodied adults to stay out of the workforce. As a result, the program isn’t just draining public finances, it’s eroding the self-sufficiency of those it’s purportedly supposed to be trying to help.” (Read more)



Amazon is still pitting cities against each other, shopping around for the “best” crony deal politicians are willing to offer. Maryland's Republican governor, Larry Hogan, is pulling out all the stops in an effort to woo the corporation into his backyard. Hogan’s proposal includes $150 million in direct grants, as well as infrastructure upgrades, transit projects and tax abatements totaling roughly $5 billion. Maybe, rather than shelling out $5 billion to a private company, politicians in Maryland should focus on improving the state’s business climate for the entrepreneurs and corporations already in its backyard. (Read more and watch the video)


Fiscal and economic

Truth In Accounting has released its most recent evaluation of the finances of major cities — and the news isn’t great for Las Vegas. The City’s debt burden is roughly $241 million, or $1,200 for every Las Vegas taxpayer. Additionally, the city has more than $535 million in unfunded pension promises and almost $74 million in unfunded retiree healthcare benefits. But, there is a bright side: Las Vegas was transparent about some of its liabilities, which is more than we can say for many big cities. (Read more here — Las Vegas information is on page 62 of the study.)  




In case you missed it...


Health care

Medicaid has transformed from a critical safety net for the most vulnerable members of society into a program that encourages dependency and erodes self-sufficiency. More than half of Medicaid enrollees didn’t work at all in 2015, and roughly 60 percent of Nevadans who gained Medicaid coverage — thanks to the program’s expansion under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) — didn’t work at all during 2015. It’s for this reason, NPRI Policy Analyst Daniel Honchariw says Nevada lawmakers must look at the possibility of implementing work requirements for able-bodied enrollees. (Read Honchariw’s op-ed here) Such a policy is just one of many policy initiatives Nevada could take, despite federal inaction on health care, according to NPRI’s newly-released study on state-based health care policy options. (Read more)


Tax reform

The benefits of the GOP tax plan just keep showing up. Over 2 million workers have already benefitted thanks to the reform — and virtually all American workers are likely to see a boost to their take-home pay next month. But that’s just the beginning. In recent years, numerous corporations had moved their operations (and their money) off-shore in an effort to avoid America’s punitively high tax rates — but that’s now changing. Apple announced this week that it plans to pay $38 billion in taxes to repatriate hundreds of billions of dollars back to the states. The company has also pledged to invest $350 billion in American operations in the next five years and hire more than 20,000 American workers. (Read more)



State Senator Tick Segerblom has a plan to increase funding for government-run education: Increase Clark County’s sales tax. It’s bad enough that Sen. Segerblom is pushing to hike a regressive and punitive sales tax just years after the state raised $1.4 billion in new taxes. What’s even worse, however, is that he hopes to establish a legal loophole that would allow state lawmakers to do so without Nevada’s constitutionally required threshold of two-thirds approval within each legislative chamber. (Read more)


Minimum wage

While cuts to federal tax rates are putting more dollars in the pockets of workers and spurring economic growth, government-mandated minimum-wage increases are having the opposite effect across the nation. The restaurant chain Red Robin recently announced it would be eliminating bus-boys at 570 locations due to “rising labor costs.” The cause of those rising labor costs? Well, in most cases, it’s the increased minimum wage that took place in 18 states and 20 cities just this month. (Read more)



There has recently been talk about bringing back earmarks — those special-interest spending provisions that used to be attached to bills, encouraging lawmakers to vote “yea” on bills they would otherwise oppose. Even President Trump has floated the idea of bringing back the practice, claiming that doing so might encourage some partisan lawmakers to once again consider working with the opposing party. But not everyone is on board. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) reminds us that earmarks were banned in 2010 for one very simple (and important) reason: They encourage cronyism, abuse and government waste. “Who can forget pork-barrel embarrassments like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ the ‘Monuments to Me’ projects that members got named after themselves, or the turtle tunnel in Florida (yes, it’s a tunnel for turtles) — ? Earmarks were everything Americans couldn’t stand about Washington — corrupt, wasteful, entitled, and out of touch,” writes Sen. Lee. (Read more)


War on poverty

California officially has the highest poverty rate in the nation, as the LA Times reported this week. The revelation isn’t that surprising, given the skyrocketing cost of living in California and the complete disregard for entitlement reform within state government. In short, the state’s burdensome regulations, taxes and massive welfare state are actually contributing to the poverty crisis within its borders, rather than mitigating it. And while plenty of “red” states also ranked fairly high, one thing is certain: California’s indifference to sound policy is making it increasingly harder for over a fifth of the state’s population to climb the economic ladder. (Read more)




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Madera, California is in dire financial straits. The city’s general-fund deficit is projected to rise from $1.7 million in 2018 to almost $4 million by 2023. Making the situation even worse, however, is the fact that Madera’s public sector workers recently pocketed a massive compensation increase. (The full analysis can be found on Residents of this largely low and middle-income community were rightly outraged by the massive pay raises at their expense but wouldn’t have even known about them had it not been for Nevada Policy Research Institute’s multi-state transparency projects: and (Watch the video here.)


Federal tax reform

In late 2017, a tax reform package was passed by Congress and signed by the President that not only lowered the personal federal income tax for all income brackets, but lowered the corporate tax rate as well. And the resulting benefit for workers has been a wave of wage increases, bonuses and new opportunities. (Here’s a fairly comprehensive list of businesses that have done so, impacting more than 2 million workers.) Even here in Nevada, workers are seeing the impact of tax reform. Last week, the owner of South Point, Michael Gaughan, announced he’ll be routing an extra $1 million to employees this year because of tax reform. (Read more)


Government waste

It’s no wonder government enterprises always overspend. The IRS, in the last fiscal year, spent $20 million to collect a mere $6.7 million in back taxes using private collectors. The overspending should be seen as a prime example of government’s inability to balance cost and benefit, but is instead being presented by the New York Times as an argument against spending cuts and “privatization” of government services. (Read more)



Not all health-care reform has to occur at the federal level — a point that the Trump administration seems to be embracing as federal reform efforts stall in Washington. Trump has recently signaled that hes willing to grant Medicaid waivers to states that want to implement work requirements on the government-funded healthcare program. Such waivers are a significant step toward healthcare reform, given the inaction on the federal level. In fact, it could be “yuuuge.” (Read more)


Government overreach

In recent years, it has been uncovered that government agents have spied on journalists, members of Congress, citizen activists and even a presidential campaign. It’s therefore not too surprising that many Americans are apprehensive about government’s ability to monitor, collect and comb through our personal data without due-process protections. Unfortunately, this week, the House voted to expand that abuse, increasing the likelihood for potential abuse by federal intelligence agencies. (Read more)



Constitutional law

Two women recently tried to challenge a licensure law in Missouri, which required them to take thousands of hours of training and get government permission before braiding hair professionally. Unfortunately, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the burdensome regulations, using a legal concept known as a “rational basis standard.” Essentially, the standard means that challengers to a regulation must not only refute any justifications advanced by the state, but also must refute “every conceivable basis which might support” the statute or regulation. As Ilya Shapiro and Aaron Barnes pondered at Cato, “What are the actual limits of this amorphous standard? Could a court rationalize requiring a hair braider to obtain a degree in economics to properly price her services? A medical degree with experience in pain management in order to protect the tender-headed? Mandatory viewing of 80’s hair-metal videos in order to warn against the dangers of hair styling gone terribly wrong?(Read more)




In case you missed it...



One of the primary reasons school choice policies — such as Education Savings Accounts or Nevada’s Tax Scholarship program — are so important is that, for students who start life out with educational disadvantages, the current public school system tends to trap them in its own programmatic failures. As House Speaker Paul Ryan has put it, the current system effectively quarantines poor and minority children in “failure factories.” Not only does the public-education status quo thus perpetrate injustice, but it also assaults the entire spirit of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, that education is “a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” (Read more)


Free Markets

Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” was declared during an address to Congress 54 years ago this month. By its 50th anniversary, the war had consumed more than $22 trillion in federal spending — while doing effectively zip to lower the U.S. poverty rate. Despite the war’s utter failure to achieve any tangible result, self-described progressives continue to push for its perpetual expansion. They seem far more interested in the cheap applause their initiatives receive, than actually solving the real problems that exist. (Read more)


Prevailing wage

For many reasons, government projects regularly run over budget and fail to meet deadlines, and silly bureaucratic burdens are front and center. Clark County commissioners, for example, have postponed a contract to install steel post barriers along the Strip — an important safety feature that authorities say should be done immediately to protect pedestrians — because a past contract might not have paid workers the “prevailing wage” required by a bad law beloved by unions. (Read more)



Socialized medicine might be sold to the public as “free” healthcare, but in the end patients pay plenty for the substandard care they receive. The British government ordered every hospital in England to cancel all non-urgent surgeries this week to deal with a shortage of resources. The order from the National Health Service will result in around 50,000 operations being postponed, as hospitals struggle with what is being described as “third-world” conditions thanks to a winter flu outbreak straining limited NHS resources. (Read more)


Federal tax reform

The federal tax reform bill just recently signed into law is having an interesting side-effect on tax policy in high-tax states such as California and New York. Thanks to a provision in the federal tax plan that lowers the amount of allowable deductions for state and local taxes, some wealthy residents in high-tax states could face higher overall tax burdens in certain circumstances. As a result, both New York and California are toying with ways to protect high-income residents from the change. It’s an ironic twist, given that both states have traditionally been run by lawmakers who claim they want to raise taxes on the wealthy. (Read more)


Individual freedom

Venezuela was once among the richest nations in the world. Today, however, Venezuela is ranked as the second poorest nation in the world, only slightly better off than North Korea. The nation’s socialist “reforms” plundered the wealth of the Venezuelan people in less than a generation, leaving citizens impoverished, enslaved and oppressed. Jorge Jraissati is a student leader in Venezuela who is risking his life to restore freedom to his country. His story serves as a warning to the rest of us to take care that we never take our freedoms for granted. (Watch the video)



Total Records: 2090

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