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How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness crisis in a generation

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 15 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.

  1. By trying to force working folks out of their jobs driving ice cream trucks, since it is far more important that a handful of bellyaching neighborhood grouches can avoid hearing Turkey in the Straw for 30 seconds around 8:00pm, than that working folks actually be left alone to make an honest living, using a few fittings to trick out a truck they may already own, by providing a cold treat to willing customers and a little bit of happiness to neighborhood children in the midst of a sweltering summer. (The Las Vegas Sun, apparently with a straight face, describes briefly hearing an ice cream truck pass by is akin to aural torture. If so, it may be the only form of torture that you can avoid by turning up your damned hi-fi for a minute or two.)

  2. By forcing working folks out of jobs driving taxis, by artificially limiting the number of taxicabs that can legally operate in Las Vegas, thus limiting the legal cab market to only 16 companies, cartelized into a controlled oligarchy protected from outside competition — notably from any possibility outside competition by independent cabbies, who might otherwise be able to set themselves up in one of the largest and most lucrative tourist markets in the world, with nothing more than a car they already own. As a result of all this, anyone who does manage to get work as a taxicab driver is forced to work at somewhere around minimum wage for one of the 16 government-approved taxicab companies; while lots of people who could otherwise make a living driving a taxi are forced out of work because, thanks to the arbitrary fiat of the Nevada Taxicab Authority, based on sheer guesswork about how many cabs Las Vegas needs, the only legal way to drive a taxi in Vegas is to rent yourself out to one of these big taxi companies — and the Authority, again based on absolutely nothing other than pure guesswork, tourist-industry gossip, and impressionistic first-hand observations about how many cabs Vegas needs, won’t even let those companies hire on any new cabs this year.

  3. And finally, rather than just getting the hell out of the way and let working folks make an honest living with resources the already own, by shutting them down at every turn, running them out of business for the benefit of neighborhood power games or established insider companies, and then, to crown all, by sticking their hands into working folks’ increasingly empty pockets, and grabbing out a million dollars while they still can, to hand over to the tax-funded Las VegasConvention and Visitors Authority, in order to run a bunch of ads on behalf of big casinos to beg other big businesses to send their executives on more trips out to Vegas, apparently on the theory that those poor ol’ casinos just can’t be expected to pay for their own damned advertising.

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18 replies to How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness crisis in a generation Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Nick Manley

    Rock on! Charles.

    Why should one be disturbed by an ice cream truck sound? I’d be excited at the prospect of buying ice cream ( :

    And do we get to tell the cops they can’t have loud high speed chases through city streets or anything? They make annoying noises whilist likely doing nothing of importance — running down pot smokers and other such modern day “scum”.

  2. Gabriel

    Somebody please explain to me why statist leftists harp about “helping the poor” and react with horror at the prospect of working people starting their own business to get themselves out of poverty?

  3. Mantar

    I think it’s because statist leftists feel there’s something vaguely distasteful about money in general. That’s why they want candidates to try to campaign without it, and their political activists to work for free, and all that kind of weirdness.

    Besides, starting your own business means you’re probably some kind of antisocial weirdo. I mean, why couldn’t you hang out at the watercooler with the other nice people? (Heh.)

  4. Laura J.

    I LIKE Turkey in the Straw, dammit! It reminds me of childhood and summertime and joy!

  5. Gabriel

    Leftists want their activists to campaign for nothing? Not even a hug or a pat on the back? That makes Obama’s victory seem that much more creepier…

  6. Bob Kaercher

    I don’t how things work out in Vegas, but if you want the privilege of entering the taxi business here in Chicago, the license (called a “medallion”) costs upwards of $150,000 or so. This of course means submitting oneself to debt slavery to one of the local banking cartel. I think I’ve read somewhere that a taxi medallion costs over $250,000 in NYC.

    That’s what I’ve always loved about America. You know, the free enterprise system.

  7. Nick Manley

    “Somebody please explain to me why statist leftists harp about “helping the poor” and react with horror at the prospect of working people starting their own business to get themselves out of poverty?”

    My mom is a liberal statist Progressive Catholic who teaches business to low-moderate income people. It’s important not to generalize too much.

  8. Aster

    I agree with Nick on his objection.

    A very good friend is an ex-hippieish liberal Buddhist who has identified to me as a social democrat- she’s employed by the state, or close enough. She’s encouraged me a great deal in setting up my own small business- she’s a ‘harm reduction’ type by ideology, and extremely noninterfering. She does have a very unique code of personal honour regarding the profit motive which I’ve not entirely figured out as yet.

    I have differences with the kind of left which is statist by conviction, but there’s too much fashionable demonisation of this relatively well-intentioned political perspective. And some of those who wish us to hate and fear establishment liberals are themselves far more plausably demonic.

  9. Nick Manley

    To add a bit more to my original comment: my father is a nationally renowned labor lawyer. Our basement library has plenty of books on labor history, Chomsky, general New Leftist stuff, Marxism, and other such material. He’s not against businesses per se. I got him to read Marx, Hayek, and Utopia. He even took notes on it ( :

    I’d say he sees his work in promoting unionization as countering corporate and employer coercion. In that sense, he’s kind of a Libertarianish social democrat. He’d probably be happy to organize the equality minded social welfare stuff in a New Leftist fashion. His concerns with taxation and welfarism are basically summed up as “people shouldn’t starve on the streets”.

    My stepmom, stepsister, and stepcousin are similar. I find their Progressivism to be generally tolerant. I know I’ve provided a snapshot of a tension filled moment with my dad on here, but I actually get along quite well with my family here. If I hadn’t been born with a left-liberal or Progressive father, then my circumstances right now may have been drastically different. Some of my forays into illicit politics and culture could have been severely constrained or even prevented by my parents. I get annoyed at some of the paradoxes of this type of leftism, but a lot of my good friends in MO are left-liberal-Progressive or even lefty anarchist. There was no greater time in KC then when I was at an unfamily Thanksgiving party in KC — create your own family ( :

    Pretty sure a young gay guy was hitting on me. If only I were confidently bisexual still…

    Anyhow, the point is that I can breath with these people — something I couldn’t do with more stuffy conservatives.

  10. Soviet Onion

    His concerns with taxation and welfarism are basically summed up as “people shouldn’t starve on the streets”.

    What kind of Commie traitor wants that!? I’m sorry Nick, but neither you or your family will ever be TRUE libertarians, unless perhaps you stumble onto some prime real estate in Galt’s Gulch.

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever heard of Bioshock, the Randian-themed (aesthetically, at least) video game? It’s essentially a haunted house version Atlas Shrugged wherein the Gulch is overrun with nanotech zombies.

  11. Nick Manley

    Yeah! I remember still reading PC Gamer when it came out. They mentioned the Randian influence.

    Yes, I’ve ALWAYS been a nerd ( : ( :

    Everyone knows poor people should starve….snickers It’s the Alan Greenspan take on Rand:

    Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.


  12. Aster


    I would very much like to see a reformulation of Randian ideals purged of the their distorting taint of classism. But this piece is more spiritually vile than Rand in her most narrow moments. What I read here is bitter age denouncing youthful passion- with self-interest as the official topic of denunciation, and sexuality the primary obsession. I’ll agree that Rand’s concept of sexuality as a manifested idealism is only part of the truth, but it is far spiritually healthier than this knowing, sneering condescension towards animal hormones. The author is supposedly a progressive, but he sounds like any conservative parent: ‘I grew up and overgrew my hopes and dreams and desire, and now I’m going to make sure you never have a chance to find what I did not- for your own good, of course.’ The jealous ressentiment of the egalitarian synthesises well with the jealous ressentiment of the Puritan. ‘I cannot have this, so that those who can are the archetype of evil’. Slave morality at its most consistent.

    Yes, the Christian element of the Western heritage does locate evil in precisely the thrill of selfhood of which adolescent sexuality is a beautiful symbol (and which the wealth of Babylon is a primary external manifestation)- and yes, this world allows it to flourish very rarely, and as a rule at others’ expense. What we need is a social order which allows that adolescent spirit to preserve its essence into rational maturity, and extends this possibility to as many human beings as possible, and organises social life in a way that harmonises rather than abolishes egoisms or sets them in expolitive conflict. Conservative morality must see this as madness and an impossible attempt to rationally universalise the root of evil. It is this moral intuition whose persistence makes it impossible to divert the American drift to dictatorship.

    I used to believe that it was more-or-less inevitable that the majority of people would be cowed into the kind of morality that preserved the social group, and thus an ethics which subordinated the living individual to the preservation of the tribe was inevitable. What I now find it almost impossible to communicate is what it is like to live in an environment where the average person pretty much does live for their own happiness, largely considers authority an inconvenience to work around, and more-or-less leaves people alone to live their own lives. Yes, it is possible- even if history suggests that it doesn’t emerge very often and doesn’t last very long.

    I read Naomi Klein’s book, or tried to. It felt like a churning of floating facts anchored to each other by arbitrary bromides and a suspicious sense of social causality. Some of the facts were important, but the picture blurred before the eyes and wouldn’t stay together in the mind. It was the kind of book you finish and then wish you’d spent the time drinking- if you are going to have a hangover, then you might as well have had the pleasure of intoxication first.

· March 2009 ·

  1. Nick Manley

    “Just so you have a short list of what’s at stake if Washington DC doesn’t change policy here and now (which means before the collapse in equities comes, which could start as soon as today, if the indicators I watch have any validity at all. For what its worth, those indicators are painting a picture of the Apocalypse that I simply can’t believe, and they’re showing it as an imminent event – like perhaps today imminent.)

    • All pension funds, private and public, are done. If you are receiving one, you won’t be. If you think you will in the future, you won’t be. PBGC will fail as well. Pension funds will be forced to start eating their “seed corn” within the next 12 months and once that begins there is no way to recover.
    • All annuities will be defaulted to the state insurance protection (if any) on them. The state insurance funds will be bankrupted and unable to be replenished. Essentially, all annuities are toast. Expect zero, be ecstatic if you do better. All insurance companies with material exposure to these obligations will go bankrupt, without exception. Some of these firms are dangerously close to this happening right here and now; the rest will die within the next 6-12 months. If you have other insured interests with these firms, be prepared to pay a LOT more with a new company that can’t earn anything off investments, and if you have a claim in process at the time it happens, it won’t get paid. The probability of you getting “boned” on any transaction with an insurance company is extremely high – I rate this risk in excess of 90%.
    • The FDIC will be unable to cover bank failure obligations. They will attempt to do more of what they’re doing now (raising insurance rates and doing special assessments) but will fail; the current path has no chance of success. Congress will backstop them (because they must lest shotguns come out) with disastrous results. In short, FDIC backstops will take precedence even over Social Security and Medicare.
    • Government debt costs will ramp. This warning has already been issued and is being ignored by President Obama. When (not if) it happens debt-based Federal Funding will disappear. This leads to….
    • Tax receipts are cratering and will continue to. I expect total tax receipts to fall to under $1 trillion within the next 12 months. Combined with the impossibility of continued debt issue (rollover will only remain possible at the short duration Treasury has committed to over the last ten years if they cease new issue) a 66% cut in the Federal Budget will become necessary. This will require a complete repudiation of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, a 50% cut in the military budget and a 50% across-the-board cut in all other federal programs. That will likely get close.
    • Tax-deferred accounts will be seized to fund rollovers of Treasury debt at essentially zero coupon (interest). If you have a 401k, or what’s left of it, or an IRA, consider it locked up in Treasuries; it’s not yours any more. Count on this happening – it is essentially a certainty.
    • Any firm with debt outstanding is currently presumed dead as the street presumption is that they have lied in some way. Expect at least 20% of the S&P 500 to fail within 12 months as a consequence of the complete and total lockup of all credit markets which The Fed will be unable to unlock or backstop. This will in turn lead to….
    • The unemployed will have 5-10 million in direct layoffs added within the next 12 months. Collateral damage (suppliers, customers, etc) will add at least another 5-10 million workers to that, perhaps double that many. U-3 (official unemployment rate) will go beyond 15%, U-6 (broad form) will reach 30%.
    • Civil unrest will break out before the end of the year. The Military and Guard will be called up to try to stop it. They won’t be able to. Big cities are at risk of becoming a free-fire death zone. If you live in one, figure out how you can get out and live somewhere else if you detect signs that yours is starting to go “feral”; witness New Orleans after Katrina for how fast, and how bad, it can get.

    The good news is that this process will clear The Bezzle out of the system.

    The bad news is that you won’t have a job, pension, annuity, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and, quite possibly, your life.

    It really is that bleak folks, and it all goes back to Washington DC being unwilling to lock up the crooks, putting the market in the role it has always played – that of truth-finder, no matter how destructive that process is.

    Only immediate action from Washington DC, taking the market’s place, can stop this, and as I get ready to hit “send” I see the market rolling over again, now down more than 3% and flashing “crash imminent” warnings. You may be reading this too late for it to matter.

    In 3 minutes, what’s coming…..


    Speaking of class…

  2. Nick Manley

    Another thing about so called statist “Progressives”: the public schooling system is NOT a guard against mindless Christianist ideology. It was designed to destroy the capacity to think. There is irrefutable evidence for this in the statements made by the people who designed it. John Gatto did vital and original historical work in uncovering the real story of compulsory schooling. Those who sanction compulsory schooling and its institutions against the bogey of Christianist homeschooling do a great injustice to children.

    The only alternative is a move away from both church and state establishments.

  3. Nick Manley

    It’s also arguable that motivated people could design an alternative educational experience costing much less. This resolves the socioeconomic issue. When I thought about starting my own private alternative “school” or learning center, I planned to charge on a sliding scale — for reasons of access for children in lower socio-economic brackets. I also toyed with the idea of letting people subsititue volunteer labor of their choosing to allow those near the very bottom greater access. If anyone wants to help me ponder this project further, then please email me at chessanarch@gmail.com.

· April 2009 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-04-11 – In twenty words or fewer: Comparative Politics edition:

    […] GT 2009-02-19: How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness c… […]

— 2013 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2013-03-07 – War on the Informal Sector (Cont’d):

    […] GT 2009-02-19: How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness c… […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2013-08-17 – Pigs as a Paradigm:

    […] of colonizing governments. See, for example, Scratching By, Enclosure Comes to Los Angeles, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, etc. etc. […]

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