‘An extreme approach which would have set the state back for decades’

How about that photo on page 3A of Thursday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal, featuring Nevada’s Assembly Speaker, Democrat Barbara Buckley, giving a big horse laugh as she wound down her triumphal 2009 legislative session?

Or the equally shocking image, on page 1B, of Democratic Assemblyman Morse Arberry and supposedly Republican John Carpenter of Elko, trading broad grins and some kind of secret “statist power” handclasp, both obviously pleased with their “job well done”?

This gang just rammed through a tax package — carved out in secret sessions — that will boost Nevadans’ taxes by another billion dollars … in the midst of the worst economic slowdown in decades.

Do they think this is all just “pretend”? Many Nevada small businesses have already closed their doors. More — faced with higher taxes on each sale, on each employee, even on registering their vehicles — will now do so. There will be more layoffs. This is a not a “maybe.” It’s happening before our eyes.

But the lawmakers accomplished their major goal: making sure every government employee stays fat and happy, with their lifetime jobs, their fat paychecks, their fat pension plans, and a set of guaranteed benefit packages that would make the average private-sector worker drool.

That IS what voters had in mind when they elected veto-proof Democratic majorities, accompanied by a gutless gang of “Republicans In Name Only,” rejecting every Libertarian candidate as usual, and dumping modest fiscal conservatives including state Sen. Bob Beers … right? What else can they have had in mind? They voted for cardboard in the windows of half the stores down at the mini-mall. I just wish they would step forward, now, and explain why.

Gov. Jim Gibbons is not my idea of Mister Charisma, but he did present the Legislature with a balanced budget with only one tax hike — on hotel room rentals — last winter. (Yes, he should have omitted that one, as well.)

Instead of passing tax hikes that guarantee sectors of the Nevada economy will remain in recession for years to come, why didn’t the Legislature simply enact the Gibbons budget, which (more’s the pity) didn’t shut down a single major office or program?

This week, Democrat Buckley responded. “The governor chose, in his budget” she said, “an extreme approach which would have set the state back for decades. The probable closure of UNLV and UNR, $690 million cur from K-12, cutting children and pregnant women off health insurance.”

Pardon me for not being an idiot, but let’s do just a brief reality check, here:

1) This is the first time, to my knowledge, that anyone has seriously suggested the Gibbons budget would have resulted in the closure of either of the major state universities, let alone both. Even if we believe the Gibbons budget would have cut college funding by the 20 or 21 percent some claimed — and we must always ask if the clever manipulators weren’t referring to a percentage “below the amount to which we’d like to grow” — a combination of modest tuition hikes and cutbacks of ancillary programs would have kept the universities humming along just fine.

In fact, university administrators now say the amount of money they’re now to get will be just fine … even though the amount they’re now to get is only about 1 percent more than what Gov. Gibbons proposed.

(UNLV President David Ashley could not be reached for comment Wednesday on reports the Board of Regents may be unhappy with his performance. Why? He was en route to graduation ceremonies at UNLV’s campus in Singapore. How many Nevadans even knew UNLV has a campus in Singapore? Nothing they could cut without closing down the whole show, Ms. Buckley?)

2) Most Nevada children and pregnant women receive their health insurance through their employers, or the employers of their parents or spouses. How would reducing the state budget by a few percentage points have “cut off their health insurance”? Does Ms. Buckley mean to imply that, hidden somewhere in Gov. Jim Gibbons’ budget, was a provision that the state would walk into the business offices of private employers and require them to cut off health insurance coverage for children and pregnant women?

That’s ridiculous. After long decades rubbing elbows with the bureaucrats, Ms. Buckley has gotten so enamored of the welfare state that she thinks only of that minority of women and children on the state dole — though of course none of them would have lost access to health care in any case, that being funded for the poor through the federal program known as Medicaid. (The Nevada Legislature, for all its cries of “cutting to the bone,” routinely allows Medicaid funds to flow to those ABOVE the federal poverty line.)

However, employers facing their share of a billion dollar tax hike certainly WILL consider cutting back the health insurance benefits they offer — if they don’t close entirely. Thus, Ms. Buckley’s tax hikes certainly WILL result in modest numbers of children and pregnant women seeing their “health insurance cut.”

At which point, more will go on the dole, requiring more tax hikes in 2011 or 2013. Ain’t it grand?

Which leads to my final point, in the form of a prediction:

3) Because of the irresponsible looting of the struggling Nevada taxpayers by this Legislature, Nevada will eventually follow the example of California, into complete, bureaucrat-induced bankruptcy. At which point, the only choice will be some version of what has been — up till today — just scary, boogie-man talk from the like of Ms. Buckley.

UNLV, at least, will be closed or sold off to a private trust. More and more children will escape the dysfunctional government youth propaganda camps, finding some actual education at private schools. It may not be smooth or pretty, but the whole welfare state will eventually collapse. And the thanks will be not to Gov, Jim Gibbons, but to big-spenders like Barbara Buckley, whose answer to the noise of the fiscal waterfall immediately downstream is to order “Full speed ahead!”

When the smoke clears, will the state have been “set back for decades,” as Ms. Buckley whines?

I hope so. This used to be a free country, where men and women could get ahead by keeping and investing what they earned.

One Comment to “‘An extreme approach which would have set the state back for decades’”

  1. Rob Says:

    I think you’re wrong, Vin. The purpose of your Nevada legislature
    is the same as the one we unfortunates have here in the state of
    Kalifornia, and that is to backrupt itself so that we can get a federal
    bailout from that well known international banker, Barry “Deep
    Pockets” Obama!!