Sunday, September 24, 2017

In a world of predictions, some easy calls to make

BY LOUIE OVERSTREET

Louie Overstreet

I am out here on the proverbial limb, with saw in hand, ready to saw off five easy predictions.

• The easiest one to predict: Trump is lying (again) when he says he is going to bring back coal mining jobs. It ain’t gonna happen. Between 1980 and 2015, the number of jobs in the coal industry dropped from 242,000 to 100,000. Natural gas and renewable energy sources like solar and wind will prevent any meaningful resurgence. When the miners get wind of this big lie, no pun intended, will they still support him?

• Second easiest call to make is lie number-two by Trump. Jobs that have been exported overseas will not be returning. The companies that decided to screw American workers by moving plants out of the country — after using tax write-offs to fully recoup their capital investments in new, fully automated plants — are now reaping record profits through reduced labor costs.

• The new stadium to house the Las Vegas Raiders will experience cost overruns beyond the projected cost of $1.9 billion. Worse yet, it will be the same old, same old for minority contractors and vendors. The reason: our community-based groups are all too politically and economically impotent to demand and receive a fair share piece of the action.

• The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) will continue to get away with highway robbery, pun intended, by not empowering its Office of Civil Rights to enforce the spirit and intent of AB151 with regard to participation of minority and female enterprises on highway construction projects. NDOT is spending a billion a year and we don’t receive squat. The NDOT call was as easy to make as the one I made awhile back, when I stated there would be minuscule minority participation on the $1.5 billion NEON project taking place right now in the heart of the Westside. To date, only one Hispanic has received a contract — to provide signage.

• The Nevada State Legislature will again be duped into providing high levels of per-student cost for K-12 education, with no corresponding accountability requirements for improvements in student achievement. We constantly fight it out with Mississippi and D.C. for the bottom of the totem pole. The spending is nearly as ridiculous at the university level — where enrollment figures do not justify the existence of selected major fields of study that produce a low number of graduates.

The expectation for good governance is about as unrealistic as the idea that national and state governments will pass sensible gun laws.

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