A recent Albuquerque Journal story discusses a study by the national Foundation for Child Development in which full-day pre-kindergarten is recommended for all 3 and 4 year olds. New Mexico’s new and controversial half-day pre-K program was deemed “inadequate” by the Foundation.
I’m not sure if this foundation is funded by the teacher unions or not, but I can’t think of a more effective way to create jobs for public school teachers than allowing the state to get its hands on your kids even earlier. Of course, other studies have found that starting kids even earlier in school to be costly and ineffective boondoggles.
Clearly, the so-called experts are moving quickly towards mandatory in-the-womb schooling at some point. This will clearly create a conundrum for the National Education Association which is adamantly pro-choice.
While New Mexico’s state government gears up to build a spaceport, Space.com reports on a similar endeavor underway next door in Texas.
Both projects were initiated by brazen billionaires, Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson seeking to launch his Virgin Galactic in Southern NM, and Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin setting up in West Texas. Both are supposedly private endeavors, with private companies and investors seeking to make a profit through space development.
The difference? Blue Origin is building its launch site with private funds, on private land, while billionaire Sir Richard Branson is taking advantage of the relatively poor New Mexico taxpayer, conning Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Legislature out of $100 million in public funds, plus a sizeable chunk of public land.
We’re told that a billionaire needs our hard-eared tax dollars for “economic development,” while at the same time we’re asked to forget about the negative impact on economic growth of high taxes and reckless spending by the state government. Given the Texas economy outperforms NM in almost every measure, it’s clear which approach works better.
Low taxes and limited government lead to real economic development, not welfare for billionaires.
This Fourth of July, let us respect all of the rights enshrined by the founding fathers. Just as important – but often respected much less – as the right of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and suffrage, is the right of property.
In fact, it is an even more basic right than many that we hold to higher esteem. The fundamental, inalienable rights of man are: life, liberty and property.
This Fourth of July when we remember our country and our freedom and our constitutionally protected rights, let us reflect on why this right of property is so important. In the words of our founding fathers:
“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.” – James Madison
“To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association–‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'” –Thomas Jefferson
Let us also remember that this recognition – that only the protection of property rights can allow for the protection of freedom – was confirmed by the end of slavery in our country and by the new enslavement of the people in countries which abolished property rights.
As declared by the Great Emancipator himself:
“One of the reasons why I am opposed to Slavery is just here. What is the true condition of the laborer? I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.
When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat—just what might happen to any poor man’s son! I want every man to have the chance—and I believe a black man is entitled to it—in which he can better his condition—when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system….” – Abraham Lincoln, 1860
Let us remember who we are not. We are not a collectivist society – where property is not a right but a crime and where poverty replaces prosperity and bondage replaces freedom. As the Virginia Institute explains here, it is this loss of private property which destroys the free society.
So, this Fourth of July, let’s rejoice in our right to property and our freedom. And let us not forget to protect them when they come under attack.
As those who regularly visit the Rio Grande Foundation’s main website may be aware, New Mexico’s fiscal year ended on June 30. The end of the fiscal year means that the Foundation’s spend-o-meter cycles back to zero. By this time next year, the state will have spent $12.6 billion.
A recent story in a new, New Mexico-oriented online publication known as The Citizen explored the issues surrounding government spending in New Mexico and how the spend-o-meter helps New Mexicans keep track of how their money is spent.
This report should be of particular interest to New Mexico. You may be surprised to learn of the history of property rights among Native Americans. If you are a regular reader of this blog and Rio Grande Foundation reports, you will not be surprised to learn that the existence of well-defined property rights and economic freedom have at times led to prosperity for Native Americans.
The Rio Grande Foundation doesn’t take a position on smoking, but we do have a few things to say about government officials twisting the truth. I just knew this was the case when the U.S. Surgeon General came out and stated “The debate is over! Secondhand Smoke Kills!”
Of course, no new evidence was given to buttress the argument and the lapdogs in the media didn’t bother to ask, so it was all dutifully taken as truth with few questions asked. That’s why we have people like Michael Fumento to take a look behind the smokescreen.
As usual, the best solution to smoking is to let the free market decide. Let entreprenuers decide whether to allow smoking or not and let individuals decide whether to patronize them.
I notice that the law of demand reflects reality. When the price of something goes up people buy less of it; and when the price goes down people buy more of it. Why do “progressives” want to suspend this reality in the case of wages? Read Don Boudreaux’s excellent description of reality, including why he is not an “ideologue” when it comes to minimum wage laws.
New Mexico gets $2 back for every $1 in federal taxes paid, according to the Tax Foundation. It’s not because the state demands more from the federal government that other states like New Jersey which receives about 55 cents back for every $1, it is because of the progressive income tax. New Mexicans are poor and the federal tax structure provides the Earned Income Tax Credit and other negative income taxes to help the poor.
New Mexico, as of 2002-2004, had a rate of poverty as defined by the US Census of about 17%, among the highest in the country.
But is the progressive income tax the best way to help out poor New Mexicans? According to a new study reported by the Heritage Foundation the cost to the private sector of providing the government an additional $1 in tax revenue is about $2.50 not $1 as many people assume. So, the redistribution of tax money from the rich – who may live outside New Mexico or within – to the poor, costs jobs, growth, wages, opportunity and innovation of 2.5x the amount actually taxed and redistributed.
Although the progressive tax structure is supposed to help the poor, a low flat tax and smaller government would mean much greater economic growth, the only proven way to lift the poor out of poverty. Aid to developing countries has done little to nothing to alleviate poverty, while policies of growth have lifted millions each year out of poverty – why not help the remaining impoverished within the US in the same way?