SOUTHERN NEVADA VERSUS THE UNITED STATES
Few regions of the United States are at the same time so dependent on, so suspicious of, and so hostile to the federal government as the extensive, largely barren counties of southern Nevada.
The more one talks to southern Nevadans--whether natives, residents of long standing, or relative newcomers--the more one hears of a proud, defiant self-image: to be a Nevadan is, even today, to be a kind of freelance homesteader, a don't-tread-on-me entrepreneur. The long legacy of liberal codes unlike those of other states--relaxed requirements for marriage and divorce, legalized prostitution and gambling, freedom from taxes and speed limits--has become a part of the state's self-definition and claim to uniqueness. By now corporate, environmentalist, and other pressures have just about killed the actuality of the truly independent pioneer. But the gambling mentality, the hostility to regulation and taxation, and the remaining wide-open spaces of southern Nevada foster its perpetuation as an ideal.
In the case of Clark County, it was the federal government that first widened and paved the highway to Los Angeles, making Las Vegas accessible to its primary source of investors, tourists, and new residents. During the 1930s, the federal government spent more than $70 million (ten times that in current dollars) in the area, building Hoover Dam and Boulder