The country road to serfdom

Patrick Gibbons

West Virginia, not unlike Nevada, relied on one major industry for economic prosperity – mining. Fortunately for Nevada a very free economy and unobtrusive government allowed the state to expand into gambling and entertainment. The result for Nevada has been to hold one of the highest per-capita incomes and lowest poverty rates in the nation.

Unfortunately for West Virginia, its economic climate wasn’t friendly enough to expand and diversify the economy. High taxes in West Virginia force many wealth-producing companies to relocate along the border in lower-tax states. This means few jobs and low incomes thanks to politicians believing they know better than everyone else.

But tourism, like mining, is a captive industry, and that makes politicians keen to raising taxes (it is no accident that tourism-dependent economies end up with high taxes, lots of government intrusion and fairly poor economies in the long run). With a 20 percent tax hike already passed in Nevada and talk of more taxes on the way (from both Republicans and Democrats) one might wonder if Nevada is planning on becoming the next West Virginia – or worse, California.