Op-Ed

Op Ed: A Jobs Plan For NM That Might Actually Work

Feb 13, 2013

 

There’s been lots of talk about economic recovery lately, but there’s no good news on the jobs front in New Mexico. Again and again, the business community pushes for corporate income tax cuts and job creation credits.  But there’s no evidence that either does anything but drain the treasury.  So far, we’ve been kissing out tax revenue goodbye, along with the jobs that Hewlett Packard moved to Mexico and the 200 we lost when Schott Solar shut down.

Op Ed: 70% Of NM Children Born Into Welfare

Feb 6, 2013

It was reported recently that 7 out of 10 live births in New Mexico are on Medicaid.

Astonishing, troubling…arguably, the most painful statistic of all for New Mexicans wondering whether their state truly is in a “death spiral” as some national media have reported.

Op Ed: "Linked-In" Brings Unwelcome Blast From The Past

Jan 30, 2013

The other day, when I was supposed to be doing something else, I was casually reviewing my own profile on Linked In -- the online network for professionals, a sort of serious version of Facebook -- when Linked asked – oh, so innocently! -- if I’d like to add more people to my list of professional contacts.

Sure, why not?  I hit the Yes button.

Minutes later I got an unexpected email. The name was vaguely familiar. Oh yeah, that guy. Somebody I’d quoted in a news story, what, 10 years ago?

Opening day in the NM Senate is always filled with high drama. This year was no exception.  The tension centers on who will be elected President Pro Tem, a position elected by both Republicans and Democrats to lead, to appoint committees and their important chairs.

It’s time to stop the minimum wage madness in New Mexico! Setting price floors for human labor is both bad economics and unfair to the very workers it is supposed to help. Already, Santa Fe has among the highest mandated wages in the nation at $10.29 an hour. Only wealth San Francisco currently has a higher wage.

Albuquerque recently enacted a wage of $8.50 an hour. Now, Bernalillo County may get into the act by adopting legislation that would match Albuquerque’s rate.

It had to be my imagination.

I thought cigarette smoking was a dying pastime—no pun intended.

But all around us—young smokers. Lots and lots of them. Teens and young adults, and college kids.

At sidewalk cafes near any university, including UNM. In hookah bars, puffing away. Environmentally conscious alterna-kids in Rage Against the Machine t-shirts— the last ones you’d expect to support Big Tobacco.

A whole new, wholly unexpected generation of addicts.

Op Ed: Taking A Bullet For The NRA

Jan 2, 2013

The tragic shooting in Connecticut has set me thinking about our own state’s gun laws, and what the legislature has done to expand gun ownership-- even though New Mexico ranks 6th in gun deaths, and even higher in youth suicide. Thanks to Santa Fe’s total abdication to everything NRA—you can openly carry any kind of loaded gun here as long as you’re not a felon, and over 19 years old.

Op-Ed: Expand School Choice in New Mexico

Dec 19, 2012

K-12 education reform is direly needed in New Mexico. The latest evidence for that is a report from the US Department of Education which studied and ranked 47 of the 50 states’ education systems and found that just 63 percent of New Mexico students in the 2010-2011 school year finished secondary school and the percentages for Hispanic students and Native Americans were 59 and 56 percent respectively.

Those rates earned the Land of Enchantment a ranking of 46th out of 47.

Op-Ed: in New Mexico, SuperPacs Are the New Normal

Dec 12, 2012

New Mexico may not have been a swing state this year in the presidential election, but someone upped the ante when it came to the legislature. SuperPacs poured almost $4 million into roundhouse races, most of it for TV ads and hate mail asking questions like… “Should we stand with the Victims… or the Child Killers?.... The Governor’s PAC, Reform New Mexico Now, spent almost $2 million to take out Senate leaders and win back the House with ads like these.

Op Ed: A Troubling Shortage Of Lawyers

Dec 5, 2012

People often complain there are too many lawyers in the world, and you may think they have a point. After all, an astonishing 40,000 students graduate from American law schools each year, and there are already well over a million lawyers in the U.S.

But whether you believe there are too many lawyers may depend on who you are.  If you’re Hispanic, and you prefer to hire a lawyer who shares your cultural background, or speaks Spanish—you’re going to wonder where all the lawyers are.

Washington’s “fiscal cliff” has been the topic of much discussion. After more than a decade of out-of-control spending, politicians are finally coming to grips with the need to cut back.

The problem for us in the Land of Enchantment is that our economy has long relied on Washington as a source of income and investment. With the government running trillion dollar-plus annual deficits and having piled up an astonishing $16 trillion in debt, simple math, not ideology, makes cutbacks inevitable.

This could mean tough times ahead for New Mexico’s economy.