We broadcast from Las Vegas, Nevada, the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation. The official jobless rate in Nevada set an all-time high of 14.2 percent in June, according to a state report released on Monday. Nevada also leads the nation in foreclosures and bankruptcies. We speak with Launce Rake of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We’re on the road in Las Vegas, Nevada. When we flew in last night, the pilot said, “Welcome to Lost Wages, Las Vegas.” That’s right, Las Vegas, Nevada, the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation. The official jobless rate in Nevada set an all-time high of 14.2 percent in June, according to a state report released on Monday. Michigan had previously held the highest state jobless rate for four years running. But that changed in May, when Nevada overtook it. The new record unemployment figures for Nevada comes despite the fact that unemployment went down in forty-four states in June, that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nevada also leads the nation in foreclosures and bankruptcies.
For more, we’re joined by Launce Rake, communications director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
Welcome to Democracy Now! Lay out the economic landscape here, the tremendous pressure on people in Nevada.
LAUNCE RAKE: Well, it’s a catastrophe. It’s a rolling catastrophe. And, unfortunately, what happens in Las Vegas rarely stays in Las Vegas. And I think we can take a — we can look at what’s happening here and export it to the rest of the country. Certainly the collapse, the economic collapse that start with the foreclosure issues, began here in Las Vegas and has spread to the rest of the world. I’m afraid that this unemployment situation that’s getting worse here in Nevada may be a harbinger of what’s going happen to the rest of the country.
AMY GOODMAN: Why here?
LAUNCE RAKE: Well, you know, we know that we need to do some investment. We need to invest in the infrastructure and the social infrastructure, the schools, the things that we need to keep this economy uplifted to try to keep it rolling a bit. And that’s just not happening. In fact, what we’ve seen in state after state, and particularly here in Nevada, is that we’re slashing government funding at the very time we should be investing in people and investing in infrastructure.
AMY GOODMAN: What does that mean? What should be done in Nevada?
LAUNCE RAKE: Well, you know, we have one of the most unstable sources of income for government revenue in the country. It’s almost all sales and gambling taxes, entertainment taxes. It turns out that’s not a very sound fiscal policy. And what we need to do is have something countercyclical to pump revenue into the government. I’d like to go after a little bit of the gold mining industry, which is the second-biggest fundamental core industry here in the state of Nevada, but, you know, the money boys push back. And we have not been able to get significant sources of revenue from this gold mining profits that are being exported out of the country.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “the money boys”?
LAUNCE RAKE: The money boys that have — you know, Nevada is 150 years old, and it’s always been about exporting or squeezing as much profit from the human and natural resources of the state as possible. That continues. A lot of billionaires are taking money out of the state, in one way or the other. And the gold mining companies are not only taking money out of the state, they’re taking money out of the country.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Final words for our global audience here about what we should understand about the state with the highsest foreclosures, the highest bankruptcies, the highest unemployment rate in the country?
LAUNCE RAKE: You know, when you’re thinking — when you’re out there and you’re thinking it can’t get worse, let me tell you from this position in Las Vegas, it can get worse, it will get worse, unless we take aggressive action to stop the slide.
AMY GOODMAN: Launce Rake, thank you so much, communications director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.