Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions

All I can say is It’s about time corporate leaders took on the nation’s education problems at their source. With people like Bill Gates throwing money at the schools, Jobs commented that no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.
Jobs went on to say, “I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way,” and “This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy.”
Finally, a business leader who understands that stifling work rules and an abject lack of competition within and outside of the public schools is at the root of our problems. Hopefully, more of our corporate leaders speak out. As I write this on my Dell Compute, I am disappointed by Michael Dell’s lame reasoning.

How Much is Enough?

It’s not every day that we agree with the editorial board over at the Albuquerque Tribune, but their editorial “10 days is enough for legislative session” hit the nail on the head. Legislators are like college students facing their mid-terms: rather than paying attention in class and studying for weeks in advance, they procrastinate — debating extraneous issues like cock fighting and resolutions on impeaching the President — until the last minute and are so rushed that they don’t take the time to carefully look at what they are doing.
Of course, it could be worse, several states like California and New York have year-round legislative sessions…that is the last thing we need here.

Health Care Spending: Are Americans Getting Gipped?

Many Americans mistakenly believe that they are not getting what they pay for relative to health care consumers in nations with socialized medicine. Although there are indeed numerous problems with the provision of and payment for health care in this country, the problem is not that we are not getting our money’s worth, rather it is misaligned incentives. As Investor’s Business Daily points out, other nations also measure their health care outcomes rather differently than the US does, thus downplaying our successes and inflating their results. Given the momentum behind plans that would give government bureaucrats more power than they already have over the health care of New Mexicans and Americans alike, it is more important than ever to use accurate data.

Two Great Articles in Today’s (Feb 12) Journal

The first must-read article is Minority Leader Tom Taylor’s excellent discussion of the need for constitutional spending lmits here in New Mexico. Regular readers and followers of the Foundation are undoubtedly aware that we’ve made tax and spending limits the centerpiece of our long-term strategy for transforming New Mexico from an economic weakling dependant on handouts from Washington into a powerhouse.
The second article involves Sandoval County’s misadventures in government-run broadband. Unfortunately, a subscription is necessary for that article, but here are a few choice quotes:

“The County is more than two years and almost $3 million deep into the project;”

“So far, no links in the network have been proven reliable for long periods;” and

(The group tasked with creating the network) “have not provided a clear picture of where the $2.8 million spent so far on the project has actually gone.”

If Richardson is Serious About Health Care, why not reduce mandates?

Governor Richardson wants to enact some form of universal health coverage in New Mexico by 2008. The justifications for this, latest expansion of government have been discussed ad nauseum in the media and by politicians, but what are the alternatives to socialized medicine?
President Bush’s proposal to alter the tax incentives associated with health care to make it more affordable to those who do not receive health care from their employers would be a good start. How about state reforms? The fact is that if Richardson — or any state politician — were really serious about reforming health care, they would start peeling back mandates. New Mexico mandates 45 different procedures (eight more than the national average) be included in health care coverage, thus driving health care costs up tremendously.
It would be a political challenge to take on the special interests that have fought so hard for their own particular mandate, but if health care costs are ever going to come down, mandates need to be reduced significantly or even eliminated.

Watch Out for Albuquerque’s SWAT Team

The Rio Grande Foundation is not alone in looking out for the interests of limited government and taxpayers. Albuquerque’s grassroots taxpayer advocacy organization — which goes by the moniker SWAT (stop wasting albuquerque taxes — is getting national attention as well.
While there will undoubtedly be battles to fight between now and June, the SWAT activists (and any others who may be interested in learning about the fight for limited government) will be heading to Washington for a “nuts and bolts” conference held by the National Taxpayers Union.
Once the activists get back from Washington with new information and weapons in the fight against higher taxes, Mayor Chavez and the tax-and-spenders on City Council better watch out!

RGF Making Waves in Albuquerque media

Just in case you regularly check our blog and not our website — or the Journal and Tribune — the Rio Grande Foundation took on some of the misperceptions and problems associated with New Mexico’s gross receipts tax on the pages of the Tribune. In a commentary published in the Journal’s Business Outlook section, Dr. Messenheimer tackled some ongoing issues in the oil and gas industry and how New Mexico will have a significant impact on those issues in Congress and with Bill Richardson as Governor.

Cold Weather Threatens Polar Bears

Instead of being threatened by global warming as seems to be the consensus nowadays, polar bears are being threatened by a recent cold snap in Iceland. Apparently, the hapless bears have walked across ice that has made its way to Iceland — an unusual occurance due to recent cold weather — and when they arrive they threaten the townspeople and are often killed. I’m sure global warming has something to do with this recent turn of events.

Index of Economic Freedom

Recently, the Washington-based Heritage Foundation released its 2007 Index of Economic Freedom. This popular study analyzes the freedoms that exist or do not exist in countries around the world and ranks them.
Not surprisingly, the United States fares relatively well (4th worldwide) and freer countries are wealthier than those that restrict freedom. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of this study for New Mexicans is the fact that Hong Kong — an island with few resources, but a great deal of economic freedom — is much wealthier than Cuba, another island nation, but with greater natural resources.
The fact is that economic freedom, not natural resources — Iran, Venezuela, and Nigeria each have rich oil supplies — make countries wealthy. New Mexico, while blessed with natural resources, is not as economically-free as other states and is also poorer.