Are the reasons for New Mexico’s high poverty such a mystery?

As I expected when Winthrop Quigley began writing his “Upfront” column for the Albuquerque Journal, his writing is a constant source of material to analyze and criticize. The latest Quigley column notes New Mexico’s high poverty rate and, in an almost childlike fashion, questions why New Mexico is so darn poor.

In true Quigley fashion, he cites several potential reasons for New Mexico’s poverty, but overlooks the single-greatest factor: New Mexico’s low levels of economic freedom. According to the Canada-based Fraser Institute, New Mexico is the least-free state in the USA. And, according to a variety of rankings of “business-friendliness,” (closely-related to economic freedom), New Mexico also performs poorly.

Economic freedom and free markets couldn’t possibly have anything to do with economic prosperity, could it? Of course it could despite Quigley’s obvious efforts to ignore these issues.

Check out the chart below from the Heritage Foundation which puts out annual “Index of Economic Freedom.” Clearly, having greater economic freedom has a positive impact on economic prosperity on a global basis. Is there any reason to believe that this trend does not apply to US states including New Mexico?

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6 Replies to “Are the reasons for New Mexico’s high poverty such a mystery?”

  1. All of the following states :CA;NV;AZ;NM and TX have substantial percentages of their populations living in poverty. All of these states also have substantial numbers of illegal aliens. Coincidence?

    Not at all. The majority of illegal aliens in the Southwest and CA are from Mexico, are poor, have less than a high school education, speak little or no English and continue being poor after moving to the U.S. The poverty statistics never separate out the illegals from the legals.

    The Democrat controlled state legislature actively encourages illegal aliens to come to NM with no restriction driver licenses and in-state tuition for illegals.

  2. The incidence of illegals in the SW has something to do with poverty. However, the constant drumbeat of progressivism in our institutions of learning ( UNM especially) and the constant drumbeat of class warfare by our Socialist Democrat politicians are the main cause of this constant “we are such a poor State” litany. If these problems went away the Progressives would have nothing to get elected on. It is the typical government ploy. Screw something up and then say we need MORE government to fix it. NM politicians are experts in it. Until the traditional American born Hispanics realize the Democrats do not reflect their values anymore, we will be condemned to this cycle. Just because your family has been Democrat for generations does not mean it is smart to vote for them.

  3. We continue to be a “POOR” State because we keep voting for People (Democrats) who keep us poor due to their political ideology of power and control of their voters. “They only know what is best for Us”. When will this cycle be broken? When will New Mexicans wake up?

  4. New Mexicans “expect” to be poor; they’ve been told by the Church since the time of the Viceroy of Spain, it’s government’s role to “take care of them”….i.e. no expectation one can rise above it. This has been reinforced in the modern era by the federal government, who since the 1940’s has been essentially doing the same thing. Tally up all non-procurement (i.e. big cap) federal $$$ monies spent in the state since 1945; in R&D, Bureau of Indian Affairs, BLM, Forest Service, National Parks, DoD outright at the various bases, all kinds of civilian employment, et al…..and the state’s still an economic basket case?

    Jeez, gimmeabreak!

  5. Sorry I cam so late to the game. Love all the republican finger pointers when we have a republican governor that isn’t accomplishing anything either. And BTW she’s the one that approved illegals getting licenses.

    1. We at the Rio Grande Foundation have criticized the governor for expanding Medicaid and not making the case for free market policy reforms. She has been a mixed bag, but at least in most ways she has attempted to slow down the leftists in the Legislature.

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