NM Needs Real Reform Policies for Economy/Education

Excellent article recently in the Albuquerque Journal by former RGF economist Ken Brown. As a practice, I don’t take the time to rag on other organization’s proposals that would be ineffective or merely nibble around the edges as long as they don’t actively move policy in the wrong direction. Brown’s article is worth a read.

Speaking of ill-informed policy ideas that would actively move New Mexico in the wrong direction, the left-wing NM Center on Law and Poverty is an exemplar. They are suing the state claiming that taxpayers are not shelling out enough money to provide an “adequate” education. The facts could not be more to the contrary, but the term “adequate” is so ill-defined that New Mexico’s liberal courts could easily use some creative thinking to justify forcing taxpayers to pour more money into education.

Debunking NMPLC’s case is pretty simple:

Per-pupil education spending in New Mexico has grown tremendously in recent years.

New Mexico’s education spending is in the middle of the pack (25th out of 50 states) despite poor results.

The problem with education funding is that in socialized systems, resources wind up being poorly-distributed (it’s called the economic calculation problem). In other words, the problem in education is the lack of competition and economic incentives, not too little money. Nothing will change in New Mexico until policymakers move to a more competitive system.

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