In case you missed it...

Civil Asset Forfeiture

This week, the Nevada Policy Research Institute released the first-ever geographical analysis of how the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department uses the controversial practice of civil-asset forfeiture. And the results are disturbing. About two-thirds of forfeitures were made in low-income and minority neighborhoods. Moreover, the assets seized were often relatively small amounts, meaning the cost to fight such seizures are largely cost-prohibitive to those impacted by the seizures. “These are people that can least afford to fight back against the government in a court of law,” NPRI policy analyst Daniel Honchariw said. “It perpetuates this cycle of urban poverty.” (Read more)


Educational choice

This week would have marked Milton Friedman’s 105th birthday. The 1976 Nobel-prize winning economist was widely considered one of the most influential free-market advocates of the 20th century, and a staunch supporter of educational choice. It’s no surprise then, that the anti-choice journalist Katherine Stewart marked the occasion by attacking Friedman’s use of the phrase “government schools” to describe the taxpayer-funded education monopoly. She claims the phrase is loaded with racist and anti-democratic meaning. Kerry McDonald with the Foundation of Economic Education, however, easily refuted Stewart’s argument. “Freedom from a government-controlled, compulsory institution is a fully democratic expression,” explained McDonald. (Read more)


Labor and pension

About 700 Nevada state employees have taken advantage of a little-known law that allows retirees to “double dip” in the public pension system by returning to the workforce. The practice is not only expensive for taxpayers — costing as much as $23 million annually by some estimates — but it also limits the ability for younger workers to enter the system. As these younger workers are necessary for the pension system to continue funding existing retiree pensions, the practice compounds the problems already facing the pension system in Nevada. Additionally, “because of our pension system’s hostility to transparency, we don’t really know the scope of what’s going on,” explained NPRI Transparency Director Robert Fellner. (Read more)


Government waste

Government is virtually incapable of doing anything efficiently. John Stossel points out that a simple bathroom built in a public park in New York City cost the city a staggering $2 million! And, despite city officials bragging about how quickly such projects seem to be moving, the simple restroom project still took longer to build than the private sector took to construct the entire Empire State Building. So why the large price tag and slow-motion pace of construction? Stossel asked city officials for some answers. (Watch the video)


Federal land

This story could have easily gone under “government waste” as well. According to a new Inspector General report, Interior Department officials have no idea how much land they purchased for at least $815 million in grants. According to the report, the Department doesn’t track how much grant money has been used to purchase land, how much land has actually been purchased and whether that land is even being used for its intended purpose!   (Read more)


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