Small government requires big pensions

To the editor:

Regarding the Dec. 2 commentary by Thom Reilly on the Nevada PERS system:

Mr. Reilly writes, “More than 40 states have passed some type of pension reform over the past several years,” and then, curiously, he neglects to mention that Nevada is one of those 40 states. Maybe we didn’t go as far as Mr. Reilly wishes, but the Nevada Legislature passed SB427 in 2009, which addressed most of the issues raised by Mr. Reilly.

The details of PERS aside, it is important to remember this: Nevada has by a very large margin the smallest public-sector workforce in the nation. We have for a quarter of a century been reducing the size of government and, by extension, asking each public-sector employee to do ever more.

The point is this: Because of the radical smallness of our government in Nevada, we need the very best in public employees. If we degrade the benefits of working for the government in Nevada, we will not be able to attract high-caliber employees. Nevada can’t afford such short-sightedness.

Peggy Pierce

Las Vegas

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 3 in the Nevada Assembly.

Marathon traffic

To the editor:

Visiting from the Boston area last weekend, I got a chance to observe how traffic was (or wasn’t) handled by local law enforcement during Sunday’s Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon. It wasn’t pretty.

Some 9½ hours after the start of the race, the city was still cut in half by traffic diversions. By 11 p.m. there wasn’t a runner in sight, yet traffic closures were still unbendingly in force.

You may have heard that we have a marathon in Boston, too. Ours is quite large and also cuts a much larger city in half. Typically, four hours after the start, when the truly competitive runners have passed, police control intersections and allow traffic movement.

I suggest that Las Vegas send a team of observers to Boston next year to see how it’s done.

Jim Mesthene

Waltham, Mass.

Pension politics

To the editor:

In response to your Dec. 3 story on outgoing Rep. Shelley Berkley’s $37,000-per-year congressional pension:

In the interest of fair reporting, please provide the pension amounts for former U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and the past three federal retirees from our state.

Carol Przybycien

Las Vegas

Tax to the max

To the editor:

We need to institute a 100 percent tax rate on all income in excess of $250,000 per year, and we need to do it quickly.

Now, let me be perfectly clear: This will not work. This will put an end to any and all private investment and will cripple the economy. But it has to be done.

Fiscal conservatives have tried to explain how lower tax rates benefit the economy. They have shown, mathematically, how lower tax rates actually lead to greater tax revenue. They have used logic and reason to explain their argument, to no avail. All we hear about is the rich “paying their fair share” and how $250,000 is more than enough to live on, and that any more is just greedy.

There comes a time when you must stop hypothesizing and start experimenting. And that time is now. The Democrats will tell you, often, “We won, you lost. We get to do it our way.” So we will do it their way. The only way we can make them understand that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem is to exhaust their revenue source, which will still leave us in the hole.

Then what? What will we do when we have taken all the money away from the “rich” and there still isn’t enough money to pay for all the spending?

This would be extremely painful in the short-term. But, unfortunately, it seems to be the only way we can move toward strengthening the economy.

I am sure at some point in time two doctors disagreed about the effect of ripping a person’s heart out of the chest. While it didn’t work out that well for the unfortunate person who was used to settle the debate, it ended the argument.

Brandon Taylor

Las Vegas

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