The water fight between the government-run Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority and the privately owned New Mexico Utilities Inc. is getting ugly. As the Rio Grande Foundation has previously pointed out, a government takeover of a private utility is a foolish step that will only result in higher water rates.
Having listened to Senator Ortiz y Pino discuss water policy at a recent legislative forum and hearing him say that 90% of New Mexico’s water is used for agriculture while only 10% is used for residential purposes, I realize once and for all that the proposed takeover has nothing to do with water or conservation and it has everything to do with power. A sad commentary on the government agencies that are supposedly there to serve us.
In my humble opinion, one of the few bright spots of President Bush’s Presidency has been the tax cuts that have reduced the burdened the federal government places on hard-working Americans. That is why it is very unnerving to hear that the Administration is now talking with Democrats about forcing more taxpayers and small businesses to pay a greater portion of their incomes to the federal government in the form of payroll taxes.
Such a policy would result in the largest tax hike in U.S. history and would do nothing to solve the severe problems assoociated with Social Security. Rather than passing a massive tax hike in the hopes of propping up a system that robs younger workers of their money, President Bush should focus on solutions that give individuals greater control over their financial futures.
In today’s Albuquerque Journal Rick Homans is claiming that he and the Richardson Administration have created new jobs. It is easy to see the results of government action when it creates government favors for particular interests whether they be movies, spaceports or what not. The people who get jobs as a result of the government favors are readily identifiable and happy about it.
But how about the jobs that have gone begging because we do not have a good tax and regulatory climate? Government does not create jobs. Unfortunately our bad economic climate makes it easier to dish out favors and then claim credit. Despite Homan’s claim about our low unemployment, New Mexico remains consistently above the nation and region over time when it comes to the rate of unemployment and the rate of labor force participation and below the nation and region when it comes to per capita personal income. And our situation will not improve relative to other states until we get out of the big-government, dishing-out-of-breaks to favored interests and get into lower tax rates, less regulation and equal tax treatment under the law.
BTW did you happen to notice an irony? While touting governments success on the opinion page, the front page contains news of the difficulty of making jobless claims to the government. A labor department spokesman is quoted as saying: “the call volume has increased dramatically compared to last year, although the number of new claims filed still remains at about 1,400 to 1,600 a week.
While snow slowly melts here in New Mexico, back east there is a heat wave going on and people are talking about global warming. Of course, just like warm winters and large snowstorms are nothing new, neither is talk about global climate change. In fact, as Jeff Jacoby points out, there have been apocalyptic forecasts of global weather change — whether that be heating or cooling — for more than 100 years.
While I am not a climate scientist, it is no coincidence that the people who want to grow government the most have also jumped at the chance to use global warming as a tool to further their agendas.
What is perhaps even more perplexing about the global warming issue is the role that apocalyptic fears have played in human society for thousands of years. There seems to be a desire on the part of many humans to be living in a “special” time, even if it means death and destruction for themselves and their species.
Richard Branson and his company, Virgin, may someday launch spacecraft from the New Mexico desert and yet, he can’t own an airline that flies within the United States because he’s a foreigner. Aside from the fact that such regulations are unfair, they are harmful to American travelers. Competition is reduced and the variety of services provided is constrained. In fact, a study by consulting firm Campbell-Hill Aviation Group argued that Virgin America would save travelers $786 million per year.
So, what special interest might be behind such a misguided policy….why, labor unions of course! How typical of the labor movement. Instead of welcoming competition and the new jobs that would be created by additional airlines, the labor unions would rather stifle competition and stick travelers with the bill. And they wonder why union membership is collapsing.
The Governor’s office sent out a press release this morning, “Governor Bill Richardson Appoints Linda Roebuck as
Behavioral Health Czar” that caught my attention. No, the Rio Grande Foundation hasn’t taken a particular interest in behavioral health and as far as we know, Ms. Roebuck is a fine person…the problem is the job title “Czar.” According to our friends at Wikipedia, Tsar (same meaning as Czar) means “is a contraction of the earlier tsesar, derived from the Roman title Caesar. Great, so now we have an “emperor” of behavioral health. Not only is the name derived from an imperial title, but if you’ve read any history you’d know that Russia’s Czar’s were not exactly a successful bunch and they eventually gave way to the Lenin and the Soviets…not exactly a great track record if you ask me.
My intention here is not to poke fun at Governor Richardson. After all, we have a federal “Drug Czar” and various groups are constantly lobbying for one czar or another. I just hope that before more czar’s are named that more people understand that we shouldn’t want a “czar” in the first place.
It is no secret that Governor Richardson plans to boost education spending dramatically in 2007. But will his big-spending ways have any positive impact on kids’ educational attainment? Not according to a recent study by the American Legislative Exchange Council. As Matt Warner explains “After two decades of failure and almost twice the price, it’s time to give parents the power of choice.”
Hopefully, Governor Richardson will throw his support behind some educational reforms that are likely to have a positive impact, like tax credits.