Mercatus scholar: Take Sandoval’s economic development plan and do the opposite

Victor Joecks

A great critique of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s economic development plan by Antony Davies, an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and a senior scholar at the free market Mercatus Center.

The [governor’s] plan calls for the creation of 50,000 jobs by the end of 2014 — or 16,700 jobs per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the past six months, Nevada created 10,000 jobs. That’s 20,000 jobs a year. In other words, the governor’s plan calls for the state government to intervene and reduce the amount of job creation that is going on in the absence of state intervention.

In this, the plan is sure to be a roaring success. …

Gov. Sandoval’s plan for resurrecting Nevada’s economy is a valuable document. Nevada should study it carefully and do exactly the opposite of what it proposes.

Major props to Davies for catching that Sandoval’s plan is to produce fewer jobs than individuals in the market (even with the many hindrances put on them by government) are already creating! This is stunning and something that should make Nevadans reject the governor’s plan, even if the plan wasn’t a roadmap for crony capitalism and collectivizing the state’s economy.

Davies also points out something Nevada’s statists and liberals don’t want you to realize. Over the last dozen years, government in Nevada has grown, not shrunk.

One black mark on Nevada’s economic freedom ranking is the size of the government’s footprint. In 2000, government spending at all levels comprised about 25 percent of Nevada’s economy. By 2009, government spending in Nevada had risen to 33 percent of Nevada’s economy.

Aside from the (negative) practical implications of Sandoval’s plan, let me leave you with the words of Frederic Bastiat, a nineteenth-century political philosopher and eloquent defender of liberty, who shows what’s wrong with the very idea of a government-directed economy.

If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? …

When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices.

Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.