NM’s economic woes: the blind leading the blind

Exodus: NM's population stagnant as people leave in unprecedented numbers

The Albuquerque Journal had another useful and depressing article about the sorry state of the New Mexico economy in Sunday’s paper.  There were several interesting aspects to the story. For starters, I know Michael Coleman is the Journal’s DC reporter, but talking to the Congressional delegation about the State of New Mexico’s economy is like talking to the average New Mexico legislator about relations with Russia or Egypt. It’s simply not in their wheel house (and it showed).

Gov. Martinez’s spokesman at least provided a reasonable analysis: basically, the Gov.’s spokesman noted that NM has always relied on DC and oil/gas prices and that those have not been as reliable as in the past. The argument that sequestration is to blame for NM’s woes is somewhat laughable, but other than that it is close to the truth. I truly wonder where was this line of argument was during the 2016 election when Martinez lost her majority in the NM House and saw Republicans lose several seats in the Senate.

But, when compared to Sen. Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Gov. Martinez’ response looks positively brilliant.

Udall who trotted out the usual liberal hobby-horses: early childhood education, improved health care (he must have forgotten that nearly 50% of NM’s population is on Medicaid thanks to Medicaid expansion), and economic diversification (whatever that means). All I can say is that he should definitely stay in Washington and not run for Governor where he could do real damage.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan claims high-speed internet access, job training, and education are the keys to success. No data supports his or Udall’s statements, but that’s the point. These guys are clueless.

One thing that would help is for New Mexico to embrace a “right to work” law as 27 states have now done, but they oppose this reform for reasons of ideology and self-interest.

Alas, given the current political situation in the Legislature, New Mexico will continue to hemorrhage people and will continue to send economic illiterates to Washington. If we keep losing population, perhaps we’ll someday send one less economic illiterate to Washington.