It’s a bleak Christmas season for Nevada

With Christmas right around the corner, there are many signs that Nevada is feeling the economic hardships in full force. With the Legislature’s special session having just passed us by, things will change around this state in the near future. You don’t need a crystal ball to see the things that are to come in Nevada.

• • •

Not that it needs to be said, but our gambling industry is a very big thing in Nevada. People from all over the country, and all over the world for that matter, come to Nevada to gamble and enjoy a relaxing time. Nevada is more reliant on a tourism economy than other states. We are dependent on the hope that people will spend their money on fun things, such as vacations. But with the state of the economy nationwide, people are becoming more cautious with how they spend their money. This is a problem for Nevada.

In October, casino winnings were down statewide 22.3 percent. There are drastic decreases because people fear spending and losing what money they do have. As reported by the Associated Press in the San Francisco Chronicle, Nevada is reeling from its 10th straight month of decreases in casino winnings this year. We haven’t seen something like this since the 1980s, during the economic crisis of that decade.

This is a problem for Nevada because the best way to boost the economy is to ensure people spend money. If people aren’t spending money in the state then it is hard to prop the economy back up on its feet. This is a downward spiral from which we will have a hard time recovering. And it is not better with other areas of the state economy, either.

• • •

The major trade isn’t the only thing suffering in Nevada. The special session showed us what it will take to maintain some sort of economic stability within the state, and it is very scary. In the special session, they agreed upon massive budget cuts across the state. Spending will decrease drastically in the following year. The Nevada Appeal reports that it will take about $340 million in cuts or income to balance Nevada’s budget. This is by no means a small amount of money.

Gov. Gibbons suggests a freeze on pay raises for state employees, and many others in the legislature believe that it will take lay offs or 10 percent pay decreases to rectify this mess. Many people protested the idea of having more budget cuts, holding signs that said things such as “We have a killer budget already” and “No more budget cuts.” These people fail to see that we are in an economic downturn. Yes, these times are hard for all of us, and people will suffer to make it through this. But something has got to give.

We can’t just keep spending the way we are in state government and expect things to improve. They won’t. With Christmas and the holidays at our doorsteps, it is hard to face the reality of the situation. Life is going to be hard for a while. Money will be tight, and we need to pray that it doesn’t affect our jobs as badly as it may others.

Christmas is a hard time for money to come up short. But it is. And it is not just hitting Nevada, it is nationwide. The markets are down, and state budgets are tightening up. All we can do now is keep spending to boost the economy. But be smart about your money. The reason our country faced a depression in the 1920s was because of a credit boom. And it looks as though history very well may repeat itself.