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by Vice President Knight Allen 
Originally published on December 14, 2017 - reprinted with permission

    The headline in the Las Vegas Review Journal on Oct 27, 2017 read:  "Hit to government budgets from tax incentives detailed."

    It was an article loaded with numbers and with the Master Bean counters on both sides "proving" that it's all a rip-off by crony capitalist corporate welfare queens or a boon to Nevada's economic diversification efforts creating higher wages and new jobs.

    Reading the article, I was reminded of a principle articulated by management guru Peter Drucker decades ago, (I'm paraphrasing here): People always start out with an opinion (usually self-serving) to ask them to search for "facts" that support the opinions they already hold is undesirable be-cause they will simply find the "facts" that support the opinions they already hold. The good executive knows this and distrusts all the numbers - he either knows the people who found them, or he doesn't, in either case he is suspicious.

    In the case of the article most of us probably know both sides. The Nevada Policy Research Institute takes the "it's a rip-off" position while the Governors' Office of Economic Development says this is the greatest program to secure Nevada's future that has ever been put in place.

    I despise crony capitalism. It's a system of reverse Robin Hood in which massive wealth is transferred from the many - the people of Nevada, to the few, actually one - Elon Musk. In the June 2016 Foghorn I reported to you from the Wall Street Journal that Musk sold 2,783,000 shares of Tesla stock at $213.22 a share for $ 593,321,000. Is that all attributable to the 1.25 billion for the gigafactory? Of course not. Don't forget the $7,000 US Taxpayer subsidy including you and I that goes into each car sold.

    Crony capitalism across the whole economic system is, in my opinion the primary fuel feeding the ever-widening gap between the top five percent and everyone else. Itís why the statist professorial elite can teach a whole generation of kids that capitalism with its uneven results is evil and must be destroyed and replaced with -----???

    Speaking of numbers crunching, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting editorial of the subject of state licensing rules and the burden they place on people, mostly minorities and people of color, who are trying to break the circle of poverty by starting a one-person business. A couple of numbers jumped out at me. In the 1950's 1 in 20 jobs needed a license to work. Now it's 1 in 4. It takes 11 times more "education and training" to be a cosmetologist than it takes to be a paramedic.

    The top ten states with the highest burden of occupational licensing requirements: 
1. California - no surprise there. 
2. Nevada - WHAT??!! 
Then in order AK, AZ, HI, LA VA, OR, WA, RI   
   I don't see how Nevada could possibly rank so high when it comes to denying people opportunity. This should be insulting to every elected official in this state, particularly those in the legislature. If you're liberal, denying opportunity to people of color should be outrageous to you. If conservative stifling the entrepreneurial spirit should be an affront to everything you supposedly stand for. 

   I know this doesn't affect us as retirees, but should we pretend we just don't see?

    A quick note on the tax bill. "Barron's" (11/6/17) reports the proposal has breaks mostly for corporations and small businesses. In fact, there are about three times as many cuts (net) for capital as for individuals. Of course, how this thing will look when it's done is anybody's guess but at its core it clearly favors business over the individual.

    No one seems to remember or care that President Reagan's 1986 tax cut heavily favored individuals and unleashed a near unprecedented era of growth.

    President Reagan did it working with Speaker Tip O'Neill. Can you see Trump and Pelosi doing that? The comparison is a great example of how badly the political environment has been poisoned over the decades.

    "Venezuela mutes dissent by passing 'anti-hate' law" (LVRJ - 11/19/17).  Backers of the socialist tyrant Maduro claim the law prevents political parties and individuals from promoting "fascism, intolerance or national hate." How? By ordering prison sentences of up to twenty years for Venezuelans "spreading any message through television, radio or social media that instigates violence or hate." Who decides what qualifies for such draconian punishments? Why government thugs that make up the operational infrastructure of Maduro's or any, oppressive government.

    International human rights organizations criticized the law saying it "cracks down on dissent by criminalizing peaceful protests, the hallmark of a democratic society." And from the NY based Human Rights Watch, "The law seeks to end free speech in social media, a key space for Venezuelans to express themselves in a country with shrinking free speech avenues."

    Why spend time on this? Because it's happening right here and right now on campuses across the country, Donít think so? Check out the code words in Maduro's law: fascism, intolerance and hate. All the words being used to crush the First Amendment by the so-called "snowflakes" a description of these campus gangsters I am finding myself less and less willing to accept. Snowflakes indicates a belief that when they get a little older and are faced with the heat of the real world and reason their ignorance and stupidity will just melt away.

    I don't think so. I think their hatred of free speech is as strong as steel and many of them won't rest until the First Amendment along with the other nine and the Constitution itself have been dumped onto the trash heap of history. Too farfetched? OK, Maybe so. But it wasn't that long-ago Venezuela had a strong, stable Constitutional government. Can't happen here? History through the ages says otherwise. 

    Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays Ė and Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Vice-President Knight Allen can be reached at: