Does #50 Have Anything to Learn from #1?

The Family Prosperity Initiative has released the 2018 Family Prosperity Index, and its findings are hardly surprising.

Utah retained its “status as the #1 state in the U.S. for family well-being, earning top scores for its young population, low dependence on government, and strong family culture.” Coming in dead last — down from #49 last year — was the Land of Enchantment, “scoring the worst in the Index’s family self-sufficiency, family structure, and family culture categories.”

It’s sacrilege to say it in the Land of Enchantment — especially in an election year — but New Mexico is not a poor state. New Mexico is a self-destructive state. There’s a big difference. The state is rich in energy resources, has a fabulous climate, gorgeous scenery, a rich history/culture, and oodles of cool cachet. It has three interstates running through it, a respectable (okay, not major) airport, and a long border with one of America’s leading trading partners. It is situated in a portion of the country that is booming.

“Poverty” here is not as severe as New Mexicans are told. The federal government conducts an alternative measure of “poverty,” which differs substantially from the standard (and deeply flawed) metric used by bureaucrats and policy analysts. (And slavishly transmitted by the media.) After adjustment for household size, the cost of living, welfare payments, taxes, and other significant factors, the “poverty rate” in New Mexico drops from 19.2 percent to 15.7 — the second-largest decline in percentage points in the nation. By the Supplemental Poverty Measure, New Mexico is “wealthier” than Arizona, California, New York, Georgia, and Florida.

The Family Prosperity Index shows that New Mexico is plagued by Big Government, far too many out-of-wedlock births, rampant welfare dependency, pervasive crime, and a failure to cultivate marketable skills. It’s a reality that “public servants” in the state seek to ignore — or enhance, through the proposition of new rounds of destructive public policies.

As Errors of Enchantment has recommended before, it’s a cruel irony that downward-spiraling New Mexico borders virtuous-circling Utah. Blue-state personal conduct with red-state laws and regulations — the Beehive State gets it right. In time, New Mexico could, too, with the proper shifts in culture and policy.

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7 Replies to “Does #50 Have Anything to Learn from #1?”

  1. Great synopsis; best one to date. I am certain the Trump Administration’s new DOE execs are completely on-board with this assessment.

    1. Thanks, Bill. In the 3+ years I’ve been with the Foundation, your comments have shaped my understanding of the true condition of New Mexico in a major way. Always glad when you weigh in.

  2. Your comment about changing our culture, couldn’t be more spot on.

    We have to stop worshipping “The Thug Life” and promote virtuous people and ideas again.

    Policy has to change for NM to be saved.

    We are working on it daily!

    Live Free Mr. Swanson!

    1. Not sure what you mean. They are relatively poor states with more than their share of cultural challenges. That said, Alabama in particular appears to be making some decent progress on the economic front.

  3. I think New Mexico could be so much better if we stopped listening to the “progressive” (socialist) agenda being pushed by the Democrats and return the the conservative values we once had.

    1. Correct Pete. Nobody 50 years ago took a gun or knife to school to kill someone. It all comes down to the change to liberal values and no personal responsibility. It will continue to get worse in this State. I see no change coming.

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