Ground Zero for ‘No Recovery’

There’s an enormous pile of required reading for legislators making the trip to Santa Fe for the 2017 session. But “No Recovery: An Analysis of Long-Term U.S. Productivity Decline” should be near the top.

“[P]repared by Gallup to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness,” the report argues that “America is dangerously running on empty,” with “productivity growth … in a serious multi-decade-long slump.”

Written by economist Jonathan Rothwell, “No Recovery” finds that the healthcare, housing, and education sectors “account for 36% of national spending and could hold the key to reversing this structural productivity decline and reinvigorating American growth and high-value job creation.” But red tape imposed by state and local governments, not just Washington’s regulatory madness, constrain such a rebound.

For example, 41 states, including New Mexico, have adopted the “implied-contract” doctrine for “almost any employer-employee relationship,” which mandates “termination only for cause.” Land-use control is another villain, with “zoning boards and planning agencies” having “almost complete discretion over what gets built where.” (In 2015, Albuquerque’s planning director told reporter Dan McKay: “Nobody has a true sense of what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. It’s not very predictable. … I had developers calling and saying, ‘I will never do a development in your city again.'”) And occupational-licensing overkill, a New Mexico specialty, boosts “costs for primary healthcare and dental care services.”

While our neighbors are, for the most part, thriving, Big Government is strangling New Mexico’s entrepreneurs, workers, and families. Deregulation of the state’s healthcare, housing, and education sectors is imperative. Legislators, read up.