No surprise that, despite poor results, the US ranks near the top of this survey. So much for more money being the answer to education woes in the US or in New Mexico. Thanks to the folks at the Mercatus Center for this useful information.
There are lots of reasons to love freedom and liberty. One good one that is not talked about enough is that, contrary to popular belief, markets lend themselves to helping our fellow humans. Don’t believe me?
Check out this story and contrast the “compassion and understanding” of the nameless, faceless bureaucrats at the TSA with the courageous and loving actions of the pilot of the Southwest Airlines jet. I’ve always enjoyed flying Southwest and do so now more than ever with a little one and the need to check luggage on most trips.
Thank you to Southwest Airlines for showing the world that having the freedom to be compassionate is what freedom is all about!
Surprise, surprise! The heavily-subsidized RailRunner continues to bleed riders. As Kate Nash at The New Mexican reports, traffic on the train declined 11% from the second part of 2009 to the second part of 2010.
The train’s advocates claim that not running the train for Balloon Fiesta had a major impact (and for one month it did have an impact), but ridership declined every single month. Besides, the decision to not run the train for Fiesta was due to budget constraints and the fact that the train loses money with every passenger it carries. If this were not the case, then the train should have run for Governor Martinez’s inauguration.
Gov. Martinez remains non-committal on whether or not to continue the train in the foreseeable future.
As readers at this space undoubtedly know, we at the Rio Grande Foundation have argued for cuts to higher education. One area we neglected to mention is continuing education. These are basically classes that are not taken for credit and often involve yoga or tennis classes and a variety of things like couples counseling that are offered in the private sector (check out a UNM Continuing Ed catalog here).
Well, as part of Martinez’s efforts to eliminate the budget deficit, there will be cuts to continuing education, including a very generous benefit of free classes which is enjoyed by university employees. This is a good move, but according to the Journal article “Continuing Education sent a mass e-mail Friday asking students and supporters to contact university officials, including President David Schmidly’s office, to oppose the recommendation.”
I for one am sick and tired of government employees who ostensibly serve the taxpayer lobbying against cuts to their own departments or agencies. It would seem that using university resources for this purpose should be a firing offense. I hope UNM will put Joseph Miera, associate dean for Continuing Education, or whoever was responsible for the email under scrutiny for this.
Heaven forbid, taxpayers no longer have to subsidize someone’s tennis lessons or yoga classes (these classes are offered at campuses across the state).
Rio Grande Foundation board member (and pediatric cardiologist) Deane Waldman explains at American Thinker who the “true liberals” are. While the term has been tarnished in the American lexicon by decades of socialists mis-representing themselves as “liberals,” it is worth explaining the situation every once in a while, particularly since in most foreign countries, “liberals” still are labeled appropriately.
Oh, and as Jonah Goldberg writes, after billions in aid, Haiti is in dire need of free market liberal policies.
If there’s one thing that’s as reliable as the sun coming up, it’s that public employee unions (like the Albuquerque Teachers Federation) believe that bigger government is better and that taxes should go up. So, it was with absolutely no surprise that I saw this “news” story from KOAT Channel 7 that included union leader Ellen Bernstein calling for the budget deficit to be closed with “creative revenue sources.” Bernstein went on to suggest taxing alcohol to generate $43 million and suggests that the governor close corporate tax loopholes to bring in more revenue for the state.
Of course, Bernstein and her union buddies flatly refuse to even consider that maybe, just maybe, there is some bloat and waste in New Mexico’s budget. Nor do they wish to comprehend that the $70 million shelled out for the film industry or the $20+ million spent on the Rail Runner could have any negative impact on their own budgets.
For a far more interesting discussion of New Mexico’s budget situation, check out this interview I did with Fred Martino of NewsMakers in Las Cruces. My interview starts at the 5:15 minute mark:
It is not getting a great deal of publicity, but Albuquerque Public Schools is having a board election on February 1. Early voting is now under way and readers of this site are strongly urged to learn about the candidates running in their districts and vote for those who will reform APS.
And, if the APS board isn’t enough to get you to the polls, how about a $70 million tax cut? That is what homeowners could see on their taxes if they vote “no” on the CNM bond that is also on the ballot.
While CNM is among New Mexico’s more efficient providers of higher education services, the reality is that we need to wean higher education off of the taxpayer dole. Innovation and efficiency in higher education will only come about if it is financially imperative. Getting out to vote and telling CNM that more reforms and more efficiency are necessary will be a good start.
The debate concerning Texas’ economic success continues. With a Tejana as our new governor, many on the left believe New Mexico will become more economically similar to Texas. We at the Rio Grande Foundation have cheered that prospect.
Not surprisingly, left-wing economist Paul Krugman is not so sanguine about the prospect. But, as this blog posting at The Economist notes, Texas and slow-growing, high tax, heavy regulation states like New York really are economically different.
While New Mexico may not want to adopt every single policy Texas has in place — I’d settle for no personal income tax and a Right to Work laws. As this article points out, Texas is not perfect (spending growth has grown rapidly in recent years), but it is doing a lot right.
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall wants to expedite legislative action in the Senate by eliminating the filibuster. If Udall has his way, the Senate would not need 60 votes anymore to proceed to a vote. A simple majority would suffice. This is not a good idea.
None other than George Washington explained that the Senate was designed to act as a “saucer” to “cool the passions” of the House which is more directly responsible to the people and comes up for election every two years. The Senate is meant to be slow.
The basic issue is that Udall views Senate action as inherently good. Of course, he is a member of the body and part of the Democratic majority, but legislative action in Washington more often than not reduces our freedoms rather than enhancing them. Witness the ObamaCare abomination as just one recent example. The Founders were justifiably suspicious of pure democracy which is little more than mob rule. That is why we have the Electoral College, the First Amendment (a protection against unpopular speech by minority groups), and arcane Senate rules that slow the process down and thwart simple majorities from making radical changes (to name just a few rules and laws against rampant majority rule).
Udall’s rule changes would undermine the Founders intent when it came to the Senate. I believe that all Republicans and most Democrats will reject his changes.