Take from the poor and give to the rich
On Sept. 7, a beaming Gov. Brian Sandoval announced that Nevada won the derby to bring Tesla Motors to Northern Nevada. In exchange for the usual tax breaks used to lure specific businesses, Nevada is promised 3,000 construction jobs and then a state of the art automobile battery factory with over 6,000 well paying, permanent jobs. This is definitely a big deal for Northern Nevada, which has been trying to diversify its economy with tech and science jobs for decades.
Forgive an incorrigible libertarian for pointing out that Tesla Motors is a heavily subsidized corporation supported by the very tax dollars that Republicans claim to want to reduce. Their RNC website says they want to “abolish the IRS.” Luring Tesla Motors to Nevada with special tax breaks when the corporation is also drinking at Uncle Sam’s tax tit is a trifle shabby even by Republican Party standards.
Part of the reason Tesla chose Nevada was the promise to modify existing law—the Legislature had to be called into special session—to make it safe for Tesla to market its cars direct to consumers, instead of through car dealerships. In Gov. Chris Christie’s state of New Jersey, the car dealers formed a lobby and got laws passed requiring Tesla to sell through the dealership model. I am proud that Nevada is more libertarian than New Jersey, but that's like saying Las Vegas is superior to Atlantic City—a no-brainer.
In Las Vegas, there is growing opposition to the city’s plans to finance a new soccer stadium with tax dollars. Sports stadiums are a losing proposition for taxpayers with almost all the benefits of the tax subsidies going to billionaire team owners. The realized economic benefits of stadium deals by local government is consistently disappointing. Economic impact studies with a “multiplier effect” claimed for tax dollars spent are consistently biased for public investment that never works out as planned. Good for Bob Beers and other Las Vegas councilmen who at least are putting up a fight.
Always the forgotten man is the ordinary taxpayer, whose money is constantly swiped to support public/private giveaways by the political class he has no interest in. Crony capitalists live in the best houses and drive the best cars because they can persuade a government to rig the market for their benefit. The left complains about CEO salary disparities, but they seldom discuss the role of the state in creating those disparities through its myriad interventions in the economy. Both major parties are composed primarily of representatives of large monied interests who fight each other to a bloody pulp to keep the tax spigots open to their pals.
The immediate environmental benefits of electric cars is negligible. The electricity has to come from somewhere, and coal is still king in most of the country. Battery life is too short, but the big breakthrough is always just around the next corner. Greens have been pushing electric cars as the only best solution to pollution for decades. They are using the state to forcefully guarantee a profit for a non-profitable product, while proclaiming their moral superiority over the subsidizers of Boeing and Haliburton because their tax rip off is more enlightened than the other tax rip off. In politics the ends always seem to justify the means.
No one considers the classical liberal ideal of a state that dispenses justice instead of favors, and attracts investors to it through policies that benefit everyone not just the privileged few. Perhaps that ideal is unattainable. But someone should at least bring it up once in a while.