Useful research, not so great recommendations on financial security from liberal think tank

Over the weekend (Sunday’s paper), the Albuquerque Journal Money section included an article about the large number of New Mexicans living on the edge of financial disaster. The story centered on the Asset & Opportunity Scorecard which was created by the Corporation for Free Enterprise Development based in Washington, DC.

I don’t find too much to argue with in terms of the findings of the organization’s report card (which ranked New Mexico 42nd in terms of outcomes when it comes to New Mexico. It is no surprise that New Mexico performs relatively poorly in terms of financial security. After all, we’re among the poorest states in the nation. It’s hard to be financially-secure if you don’t make much money in the first place.

Unfortunately, the report’s authors’ showed their ignorance of how wealth and financial security are generated in the “policy recommendations” section of its report. Rather than emphasizing wealth generation and economic opportunity, the report’s recommendations focus (in general) on redistribution and expanding government. While a number of the recommendations are benign, there are several that show a left-wing bias. States are given points for:

Having an income tax (I’m not sure how that contributes to overall financial security;
Regulating paid tax preparers;
Having a minimum wage that is higher than the federal rate and indexed to inflation;
Providing taxpayer-financed loans for beginning farmers;
Expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare despite no evidence that Medicaid improves health care outcomes;
Proving taxpayer-financed pre-K, all-day-kindergarten, state-funded Head Start, and higher-than-average spending on K-12 education;

Ultimately, it would appear that the report is just another attempt by a well-funded liberal organization to influence states to adopt misguided economic policies. The fact that New Mexico comes in 26th should be of little comfort when you consider that New Hampshire, a state that outperforms New Mexico in nearly all economic and educational outcomes, nonetheless performs poorly on the group’s policy recommendations.

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