COMMENTARY: Private enterprise will lead us out of this mess

Ravaged by the bursting of the real estate bubble, Nevada is among the states with the deepest wounds.

Historically, our state has been in the top or bottom five of the most-unappealing statistically compiled lists. Unfavorable, sure, but we all choose to live here for one good reason or another. For instance, our tax structure keeps Nevada among the most business-friendly states in the country.

For this reason, we have highly competitive local markets, and capitalism thrives here. Our state officials are somewhat handcuffed because of our demand to keep government out of our businesses as much as possible. By adopting and supporting this system, Nevadans have agreed to take on more personal responsibility when it comes to providing our own financial security - and we are now being put to the test.

Across our country, state officials are scrambling for ideas that will simultaneously better their state's situation and put them in the position of being quality leaders. In Nevada, our elected officials have considered bringing in a pricey third-party consultant to advise them on how to progress the state.

This means not only are the individuals we put in office to make vital decisions not carrying out their duty, but now we will also foot the bill for a new position. We elected these authorities to represent us - not lead us, by way of expensive consultation, in an undesirable direction. With that said, when we elect them we do not, in turn, remove ourselves from the equation. We are not reduced to waiting on our state leaders to be proactive.

These are extremely trying times for our country. The recovery is going to be led by us via our private capital and our private enterprise. The government does not have a weapon in its repertoire that comes close to matching the power of our collective private resources.

Across the U.S., and particularly in our state, there is an abundant supply of quality projects that have been postponed due to insufficient capital. Because success requires both money and knowledge, every successful idea struggles with acquiring adequate funding at least once throughout the process. Every successful venture has to be properly backed and the majority of the backing comes from private capital.

At the end of the day we, the people, are the engine that runs our country.

Nevada is riddled with quality projects that could be going forward with proper capital and qualified management. We now have to be proactive in matching the two.

Being among the top five states in the country in foreclosures, troubled institutions and bank closures does not mean we cannot also be among the top five states to emerge from this recession.

• Thomas J. Powell of Reno is chief executive officer at ELP Capital and chief investment officer for ELP Capital Advisors.


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