Nevada Hispanics Deserve Real Choices and Opportunity

Nevadans are looking for new ways to climb the ladder of opportunity, and that’s especially true for the state’s large Hispanic community. Going into the upcoming caucuses, the battle for Hispanics’ hearts and minds has been intense, but often one-sided. Many of the promises made to Hispanics center on big-government policies. What’s missing from those promises is any acknowledgement of their obvious limits, and the real impact on our community.

The truth is these promises are similar to the ones we’ve heard over the last seven years, when we were told that growing the size and power of government would make Hispanics better off. The reality is that the Obama administration’s so-called solutions actually stifled Hispanic opportunity. By many measures, our slow economic recovery has left Hispanics behind.

When it comes to deciding the course of our future, too many of the paths forward are full of more of the same.

On Education:

Some leading policymakers have no new ideas to offer — other than spending huge sums of our money on education — but at the same time refuse to offer us more choice in where our children go to school. Hispanics strongly support school choice, policies that could alleviate our crowded classrooms and give our children the chance to have a brighter future. Yet Hillary Clinton, for example, criticized charter schools in recent months and made false claims that they purposefully exclude underperforming children, at a time when school choice needed a defender — especially in Nevada. Bernie Sanders’ policies similarly put the interests of unions above the children whose futures are on the line.

Both oppose other forms of school choice, such as giving students more access to private schools or allowing parents more control over their tax dollars for their child’s education. These choices could make a huge difference and provide a bright future for many struggling families, and there must be room for them in the vision of anyone seeking to strengthen our community.

On Health-care:

Leading policymakers shouldn’t make the mistake of advocating government-focused visions for the future of our health-care. The cost of insurance premiums is increasing across the county and insurance co-ops like Nevada’s have failed in recent months, showing how flawed government intervention in health-care can be.

Just imagine how much more our health-care would suffer if government managed even more aspects of it. We’d have to pay more in return for more bureaucracy and less reliability. Visiting our doctor would be like a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. And given that Hispanics are a younger population than other groups, we’d bear the brunt of the high-costs healthy, younger people are required to pay to subsidize everyone else.

The big-government trends of the last seven years have resulted in more health-care decisions being made at the federal level, when in fact these decisions are best made locally. Nevada officials and health professionals have the best knowledge about what can be done to resolve the health concerns of those living in the state. Unfortunately, many health-care promises made to Hispanics envision an even larger role for the federal government.

The Economy:

As for the economy, we simply can’t afford the overregulation and mandates we’ve experienced over the last seven years, which have actually driven many Hispanics out of full-time jobs and increasingly into part-time work.

Too many policymakers would seek similar “solutions” to our community’s challenges, such as minimum wage hikes. The Congressional Budget Office recently pointed out while a minimum wage hike may help some wage-earners, it would eliminate hundreds of thousands of job opportunities for others.

A New Vision:

Any vision that repeats policy mistakes from the last seven years will be of no help to our community. Hispanics will never be able to lift themselves out of poverty or achieve prosperity if we’re forced to pay higher taxes every time our incomes grow. Without access to plentiful jobs or the ability to start a business, we’ll never be able to act on our entrepreneurial spirit. And we’re ultimately saddled with the responsibility of paying our nation’s massive debt, which is expected to grow to $20 trillion by 2017, as the next president takes over.

That’s why we must demand that any potential president start by giving us meaningful alternatives to big-government. We deserve policies that harness and unlock opportunities, rewarding us for our entrepreneurial spirt and desire to succeed.

We need options that make vital markets like health-care and education more competitive and innovative, not more government-centered and bureaucratic. Our next president should be willing to do everything possible to roll back the obstacles that make it harder for us to start a business or find work. And they must make sure the reward for hard work is success and further opportunity.

We can only hope that candidates from both parties will offer this much-needed new direction. If all our would-be leaders can focus on creating opportunity and offer a free-market vision that truly strengthens our economy, Hispanics will truly have worthwhile options — and a path to prosperity — to choose from in the weeks ahead.

Daniel Garza is the executive director of The LIBRE Initiative