What’s the point of statehood?

Patrick Gibbons

Graphic by Alex Richards of the Las Vegas Sun

A new report by the left-of-center Brookings Institution says Nevada is last in the nation in federal funds recieved per capita. We get just $742.42 annually per capita, compared to the national average of $1,469.

First, Nevada is actually a fairly wealthy state with a fairly low poverty rate compared to the rest of the nation. So it is to be expected we would have lower federal funds for welfare expenses. Second, sometimes going after federal dollars is more expensive than the money you get. Those dollars don’t come cheap – there are all sorts of strings attached.

Not only do you have to take into account the labor costs associated with recieving Federal grants, you have to take into account the compliance costs of Federal mandates as well.

And with the federal government poised to take over health care and public education, and run the nation into ruinous debt and collapse everyone’s social security “account,” maybe being a state isn’t worth it anymore.

The fact is, we don’t have to participate in many federal programs; we can forgo the money and go our own way, and that may actually save us money! For example, we don’t have to run a massive bureaucratic welfare state the way the Federal government dictates. If we, as a people of Nevada decided a social safety net was a good idea, we could simply use existing funds and give the people the money they need on a debit card. Complying with federal mandates, however, doesn’t allow us to find innovative and smart solutions to social and economic problems – it forces us to find the most expensive and labor intensive solutions.

Unless Nevada’s policymakers stand up to the bullies in Washington, D.C., Nevada might as well be just a territory again.