New Mexico’s out-of-control welfare problem

New Mexico politicians have a conflict of interest. Generous welfare benefits get them votes and buy political loyalty, but as the LFC notes (indirectly), these generous benefits also hold our State by reducing workforce participation. The LFC doesn’t come out and say it, but how else do people who don’t work support themselves?

As the chart below from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity highlights (though its purpose is to highlight differences between California and Florida), New Mexico’s welfare spending is higher than any state besides New York (which has a much higher cost of living).

RGF has certainly criticized New Mexico’s failing education system. We stand by that but also note that if there is a culture of welfare dependency backed up by generous welfare benefits, the perceived need to get an education is reduced. 

Reducing the generosity of NM’s welfare benefits is a hard conversation that needs to be had.

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28 Replies to “New Mexico’s out-of-control welfare problem”

  1. We the hard working people should be the ones receiving those benefits that are free to all these lazy, who take advantage people that don’t want to work, and just be supported by the State and our Taxes. Put them to work. 3/4 of these people are young and able. If you cut down on welfare benefits, send them to school, vocational and public schools, put them in a work force program, like they used to do to us 25 years ago enforce this and the State of New Mexico needs to tighten their belt on this Situation. To, then we wouldn’t have all kinds of people on Drugs and living off the Streets. Enough is Enough. Put them thru rehab, those that are addicted to Drugs, spe d our tax money this way instead to get these people Up and out of the System. No More Freebies!

    1. You have a point that we ought to try to reduce the drag on society due to under- employment, but simply eliminating benefits might not improve anything. Are there any actual studies indicating that welfare recipients do not want to work? Do those studies indicate what percentage of recipients would like to work? Are there any studies that reveal what circumstances lead people to apply for benefits? It seems to me that assumptions are being made that are not backed up by real information. I am sure there are problems, but simply blaming people who are likely victims rather than lazy people wouldn’t relieve the burdens on society caused by those problems. Eliminating or reducing benefits might simply shift the burden to other poor folks.

        1. It’s become a generational problem in that work is no longer valued as young people see benefits provided with out accountability. BTW, New Mexico has the second most people on welfare in the country by percentage of population. We are right up there also with the least educated people, again second from the bottom, and we have the second highest violent crime rate per 100,000 in the nation!

          Correlation does not imply causation?

    2. Just so you know, not all families that receive those benefits are lazy, non-working people. I’m retired and still working, even though my doctors didn’t approve of me getting a job, to supplement my income because with out my Medicaid, and the meager $140 SNAP benefits (that about covers one sack of food), I would probably be dead by now. I’m legally blind in one eye, have high blood pressure, arthritis, and stage 3 kidney disease. I work from home and can just barely make it due to the prices being 4 times what they were just a few years ago. I don’t think you can make such a generalized blanket statement about all New Mexicans. I do agree that some people here (that I know personally), take advantage of the system when they are perfectly able to work. And, there are some that have so many kids, well, glue a nickel between your legs after 2. I’ve said my piece, now I’ll relinquish the soap box to others.

      1. Thank you for your note. There are certainly plenty of cases like yours, but statistically New Mexico has WAY too many people on welfare.

  2. Actually New Mexico has had this problem for a real long time it’s been generation after generation living off the food stamps and welfare and they are perfectly fine at working they don’t want to and actually I’m tired of paying their way

  3. You instigate shit, pitting people against each other, show trump and the Republicans how they’re destroying Our Country

    1. Your comment is not real, the truth is everyone needs to work to pay bills and eat. In doing so yourself worth is lifted. Or u can not work, have the state semi supported you and then steal and sale drugs to live.

    2. Gloria open your eyes it’s democratic’s that has destroyed America and the welfare system giving free money with stimulus payments while other Americans work their ass off. Trump didn’t make us poor and pay higher Taxes just to feed our families. This isn’t about politics it’s about the middle class families paying for the government’s free handouts!!!!!!! Maybe let the homeless and addicts live in your house since your not focused on the real problem!!!!!!

  4. Gets liberal Democrats elected and reelected. Welcome to Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Of course there’s no homeless problem. And money grows on trees in New Mexico.

  5. I find it ridiculous that people who receive SNAP benefits can literally purchase incredibly expensive EBT food items that working people cannot afford! Luxury food items should be prohibited using an EBT card. How SNAP benefits can be spent needs a complete overhaul!

  6. I agree. When are we going to stop enabling people that play the system because they know how and do not want to work. And why would they. About time we start holding them and our government politicians with fixing the problem instead of giving the takers more and we ha e to subsidize their ways of getting something for doing g nothing. I understand that many need public assistance. But I can’t make the luncheon menue for the people that just don’t want to do anything to get it.

  7. People need to earn a living for themselves, not be given one there is always a job to be done as you see if you give it to them, they will take a vantage of it. I have. worked for everything I’ve got. Yes I did need help at times but not my whole life and my kids life they draw earned to work for things and it makes them a better person because they care about it if you are just giving it and don’t earn it. Why do you care I will get a new one.

  8. I’m employed, but when I came to New Mexico, I couldn’t get a dime in assistance and didn’t have a job yet. Rent is too expensive for the actual wages here. They say the median wage is 50k a year & that’s far from truth unless 5+ adults are splitting the bills. Let’s take care of basics so people won’t have to rely on govt assistance. If they pay the rent, they can’t afford the food & visa versa.

  9. I’d still like to find a link to the LFC Report with you keep quoting. I agree that New Mexico is inefficient with it’s welfare spending. But you continue to provide opinions based on limited data and a report I can’t access. We could as easily argue that increased welfare spending helps in the development of children and possibly a reduction in
    crime. But you keep banging the drum implying that this spending creates lazy recipients who are unable to pull themselves out of the hole they’re in despite the fact that welfare spending was cut significantly under Bill Clinton. Just using your own logic consistently asserting that we don’t have enough decent jobs why on earth would anyone with real potential want to spend their days in boring grunt work at McDonald’s, Walmart or at call centers?

    1. Interesting take on a state that is one of the worst performing in education. High welfare and a tie to getting votes as a result is just dispicable. Lost of case studies out there that support the facts of the article. People need purpose not handouts.

    2. Because those of us who are finally financially healthy started at places like McDonalds, Walmart and restaurants; sometimes 2-3 jobs at a time! Nobody owes you a good living, you get it thru hard work! Like it or not, that’s the American way, from the start.

  10. I am just retiring , and have worked all my life , but , BUT to say people who are receiving this are just lazy?What’s wrong with you ,? Every single case is different , I will agree there are those that work the system but that is everywhere , This state has very little to offer the layman as far as good pay for hard labor is concerned. More of a retirement state. Don’t put your nose up to those who have to use this , do you think they are proud to have to take handouts? Have you Ever gone without a meal ?, if not then keep your opinion to yourself , I can only imagine what it is like to be in their place . You’d deny Jesus a meal , horrible mean people .

    1. How many people that aren’t US Citizens are receiving aid? I also got a report from a Vietnam Vet who was on assistance that was issued voter registration without any kind of ID. I don’t have faith that NMDHS isn’t issuing voter registration with our i.d. to non-US citizens. The State is in “good financial health” maybe at the bank but not in quality of life. It’s also unfair to compare to NY or CA as the majority of our land is owned by FEDS.

    2. I agree. I don’t even understand this as anyone that receives assistance has to work. So an attack on poor people who are working and getting stamps? Think they are leaving a lot of facts out like the majority of employers here will work you part time and leave a person without benefits. Real looking at #s and not reality. Real disgusting article to read especially after being in the Hermit’s Creek fire zone.. gee. And how many people from where are getting bussed here?

  11. There are ALWAYS two sides of ANY problem. I have been on both sides in California. I had two young children when I divorced my husband. The only family still alive I was my dad and mom. I wanted to work and not be dependent on Welfare. I went to training two and a half hours away, which was the closest. My mom died of cancer, while my dad had to work as a doctor in his own practice. The only job I could get was three hours away. I was forced to get help from my dad, who had spent most of his money on doctor bills, hospital bills, and a lawyer. My own health deteriorated to the point that I had to leave my job and go on Welfare. It was the worst time of my life. My ex ended up with my children. I now have two adult children and grandchildren, but the damage has been mental and physical for our family. None of us have been left unscathed. So see there are ALWAYS two sides of a problem.

  12. In the past, all this could be hidden. Young people went out there in the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s thinking, “Oh wow, what a great place to make a life, has everything: weather, mountains, oil & gas, precious minerals, water, agriculture, technophiles, etc. etc. in abundance. It can’t help but grow & be prosperous”…..HA-HA-HA the joke’s on them.

    Now it can’t hide….why for 2 decades no population growth to speak of. Exactly what the 2 main conspirators (Dimsheviks & Catholics) wanted. I left in ’95. Wrote a piece on it warning Tucson:

  13. I think people work as welfare is a starvation wage. What they do though is work off the books and/or work below their capabilities. I know this woman. She got a raise and was all stressed. “Now I’m going to lose my section 8 housing.” So she turned down the raise. I don’t blame her for economically rationalizing her situation but this is the type of thing I hear people talking about all the time here in Albuquerque. People tell me this stuff or I hear it at the grocery store, etc. constantly. It does lead to underemployment I am confident and likely lowers workforce participation. People make decisions based upon these factors. I am not sure why there is an argument?

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