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?