New Mexico’s supercomputer: the latest Richardson boondoggle to go bust

In case you missed it, the media is now reporting that the vaunted $20 million New Mexico Supercomputer is going to be parceled out. Supporters of the project claim that “Encanto’s capacity helped leverage $60 million in federal funding for university research.”

“Helped leverage” is what they call “weasel words” along the lines of the Obama Stimulus which “helped create or save” X number of jobs. Even if it brought $60 million in totally new spending to the state, the project is still a waste of money because what matters when government goes about creating jobs is not money generated, but tax revenue generated. After all, the computer was purchased with 20 million tax dollars. These dollars are the product of some fraction of economic activity generated elsewhere in the marketplace (7% in the case of Albuquerque’s GRT).

So, the only thing this supercomputer “stimulated” is more government spending and higher taxes. Like the film subsidies, Spaceport, RailRunner, and subsidies for Schott Solar and Eclipse Aviation, Richardson’s legacy will be one of boondoggles falling apart. Unfortunately, we have to wait another decade before the true cost of the Rail Runner is fully understood.

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