This story originally appeared in The Reno Gazette Journal
From a young age, we innately want to make our own choices. Even toddlers start to have their own preferences that are unique to their happiness. The ability to choose is such a paramount foundation for freedom that our founding fathers recognized this in the Declaration of Independence as unalienable rights to pursue life, liberty, and property. The only way this can be accomplished is through freedom of choice.
The problem is that choice is becoming more extinct as special interest groups and political actors motivated by self interest control markets. This was witnessed in full view during the 2017 Nevada legislative session. Nevada elected officials are utilizing their power to determine what we should have choice over. This elite group of individuals has taken a paternal role over millions of citizens in Nevada, the message is loud and clear that they know what is best for the individual.
There is no greater issue than education when it comes to free choice. Even though comprehensive survey data illustrated a majority in favor of the school choice ESA program the legislature took that choice away from parents. The fall of ESA this year illustrates that Nevada law makers would rather subject parents and children to one of the worst education systems in the country then give additional choices to families. This is identity politics at its finest.
There is a long list of bills to choose from this session that illustrate the choices our government is attempting to take away. Senate Bill 226 was an attempt to eliminate the ride share industry with over zealous standards and regulations. A service that has safely transported hundreds of thousands of customers and produced millions in income for local drivers. After a long drawn out battle with legislators backed by big beer distributors, Assembly Bill 431 increased production but still limited long term growth for craft beer, the fastest growing segment of beer. However, when it came to Assembly Bill 405 for solar energy net metering the legislators had no problem fighting for free choice.
There seems to be absolutely no philosophical basis for the decisions being made nor a foundation for freedom of choice. When choice is impacted by a select few then valuation moves away from the individual to a centralized authority. The problem is that centralized authorities do not have the information nor expertise to set value and price. Carl Menger, the famous Austrian economist, discovered that value is subjective to an individual. Only an individual can set precedence of what is valuable or not to the individual in an exchange. This is how price is fairly set, through two parties making free choice and setting their respective value.
Markets and economies become inefficient when choice is limited and it is no surprise the loss of choice is correlating with worst economic recovery since WWII. Everyone loses long term when our law makers want to tell us what type of beer to drink, the type of transportation to take, what to charge on our capital, and what schools our children should go to.