Do Spending Cuts Really Hurt Poor?

There has been a lot of talk at both the state and national levels over cutting spending and whether those cuts harm poor people. I just don’t think it is so. One recent writer on the topic is Sen. Pete Campos. His piece which appeared in the Albuquerque Journal asserted that:

“Each dollar that we cut from education reduces a child’s chance of succeeding. Each dollar we cut from social services makes it more difficult for less-fortunate New Mexicans to get the mental and physical health care, food, or housing they need….”

The idea that spending cuts automatically harm the poor is not accurate for a few main reasons:

First and foremost, government is not usually the most efficient provider of said goods and services. For starters, government schools have spent more and more money per-pupil over the years with little to show for it in the way of results. Campos (and others) never question whether government is doing what it does — whether it is education or welfare — at optimal efficiency. In a more efficient system, services could be provided at a far lower cost, but in ways that improve living standards;

Secondly, much of what government does is used to benefit the wealthy, not the poor. The Rail Runner, Spaceport, and film subsidies are just a few of the big government programs enacted in recent years that disproportionately benefit the wealthy. Also, in terms of welfare, middle class government bureaucrats consume 25% or more of welfare spending.

This discussion is primarily focused on the state level, but Canada and New Zealand are just two countries that have dramatically reduced spending and restructured government. These reforms have led to economic growth and improvements for the poor (and all sectors of society). New Mexico (and the US Congress) need to follow their examples.

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4 Replies to “Do Spending Cuts Really Hurt Poor?”

  1. I agree that we need to be wise and for the most part conservative about our spending for education. However, as a rural (non Albq./non hig speed internet school — AKA most of the State) high school teacher I rarley hear anyone talk about the daily needs of schools (all we hear are generalities about “overspending”).

    As said above, I am a classroom high school teacher (social studies) and I see on a daily and yearly basis an uneven spending in our schools. For one example, I do need to have a text book for each student to take and leave at home and a class set for daily use — as our “new” (6 yrs old) school does not have lockers (for a variety of reasons — cost of building and maintaining/security/cleaniness…..). Keep in mind, we as a social studies department have not had approval for this comming year’s REQUIRED purchase of textbooks (a consevative estimate is about $90,000), even though it has been the stipulated 6 yrs. since we last purchased books. Also remember, that by State mandate, in the past all cocial studie departments have been denied this purchase & forced to wait another year or two . Some of the texts weigh over 5lbs. and that is not a healthy weight to carry in a backpack when you consider that this is multiplied by 7 or 8 classes everyday (40-50lbs. of books every day and then notebooks, readers, clothes for athletics, etc…..) Some of the text companies say “oh well, we have the text on 1 disk for every 4 to 5 paper texts paid for to solve that problem”, yet we do not have enough classroom computers (only 1 teacher computer per room) — or even lab space for text based activities, we have only 50 computers in two labs for 900+ students– and considering that many of my students don’t have computers at home (and some of my nativie american students don’t have electricy) — however, you (all of the ‘experts’ outside of the classroom) expect them to test for AYP/graduation as if they do — this is not a viable solution. Yet, we can’t even have an auditorium for music or plays for our “new” school because the State doesn’t help with funding for the arts (if we want an auditorium our school district must pay for it with out State help) but the State paid for a new “basketball gym”. I love basketball, but how is this fair & reasonable State spending??.

    We need people who understand the needs of a classroom participating in edudcational decisions as well as (and not just) the bottom line of spending in education as a whole to help make sure ALL New Mexico students get the best education possible. As a front line person (educator) I can tell you that the desire to achieve the best is there, but the support mechanisms are not.

  2. Campos is just upset that the liberals’ largesse to buy votes is being cut. He doesn’t care about the poor. If he and his ilk cared, they would abandon the Patron system they feed off of and court businesses to come into this state to give the poor jobs instead of fining, taxing and regulating business to death to drive them out of NM so the only money for the poor is from the liberals’ Patron system handouts.

    The reason NM has so many poor is because liberals want it that way. It is a form of top-down dictatorial control that they practice here to keep the people enslaved to liberalism, with no hope of rising above it because of liberal-limited opportunity.

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