Heinrich’s legislative double whammy

To say that we at Rio Grande Foundation don’t often agree with Sen. Martin Heinrich would probably be an understatement. More importantly, we don’t think he does a very good job of representing the people of New Mexico. He was recently taken to task by the Albuquerque Journal editorial board (and several letter writers). While we don’t have any particular position on Puerto Rico statehood, like the Democrats’ desire to replace the Electoral College with a National Popular Vote, the impetus behind the proposal has nothing to do with representation or “democracy.” It is 100% political and, if adopted, statehood for Puerto Rico would negatively impact New Mexico, potentially costing us a seat in Congress.

More importantly, what does Puerto Rico bring to the table for the United States (besides more political power for Democrats in Washington)? According to the US Census Bureau “41.7% of Puerto Rico’s population lives in poverty, which is higher than the US rate of 11.5%. Puerto Rico has the highest poverty rate of any US state, with Mississippi being the next highest at 19.7%.” Thanks to our “anti-poverty” programs Puerto Rico would be a massive new burden for US taxpayers and the federal government which already faces a $35 trillion debt. Puerto Rico’s economy is unhealthy and people are leaving the island (even as they pay no US income tax). 

Heinrich’s other bill (equally misguided) would subsidize the cost of home purchases by teachers up to $25,000. Teachers are important, but by no means are they the ONLY important profession. But, why is a heavily-indebted federal government involved in handing out this new subsidy? Shouldn’t local school districts be required to pay teachers adequately? And why just teachers? How about medical workers? Farmhands and agricultural workers? Police/Firemen?

The chart below highlights how administration and management continue to eat up more resources that could otherwise be used to hire teachers: