How Much Government Help Can a Country Survive?

Follow MeNew Mexico with its long Spanish history merged with Indians is small in population, politically corrupt as we see things, and poor compared to other states. Its legislature, long dominated by Democrats, is a small repository of Big Government. Its Governor, following two terms of Democrat Bill Richardson, is presently a Republican. (Whatever that is, these days.)

The state government, which has trouble with its computers regularly, can’t balance its books. It’s that sort of place. It has an opera company in Santa Fe, supported by folks at the military bases, government laboratories and government itself; there’s an Intel plant and some oil wells now that fracking is available. Property and the cost of living seem about the national average; wages are low unless you work for government. The unemployment is camouflaged  by the fact that government supplies much of the work.

The state’s legislature meets with Democrats in control; their current agenda was published in the Albuquerque newspaper this morning. Important items vaunted to help the economic doldrums include:

Raising the state’s minimum wage,

Regulation of ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft,

Reserving state contracts for local contractors and

Instituting permanent daylight saving time.

We visualize the old cartoon showing people running screaming from the figure saying: “I’m from the government; I’m here to help you!” Basic economics tells us that when labor costs more, less is used. China and robots beckon. Ride sharing is new in the state, offering opportunity to drivers competing against the politically entrenched taxi companies; the announced ‘regulation’ will not solve any problems but those of the old taxis who resent the new competition, a reduction of opportunity. Limiting state contracts to local contractors ensures high cost providers, an increased load upon the state’s taxpayers. And permanent daylight saving time puts the state at odds with the rest of the United States. Such is government ‘help’ in New Mexico, one of the poorest of states and evidently determined to remain so. It is clear that basic economics is not taught in public schools.

All of the listed measures however, are helpful to various political interests, who will be pleased if they are passed. The state’s currently Republican governor has not responded to these issues as yet. We will see.

In Washington, we read that President Obama is preparing a new budget including many billions in new spending for which there is not available government income. He is importing cheap immigrant labor to compete with the domestic unemployed and plans to veto a pipeline construction project intended to bring Canadian oil to American refineries. With such government friends, the U.S. economy hardly needs enemies though it continues to spend heavily attacking nasty people around the world. Unfortunately, America lacks the money it is spending. Once, there was another republic, called: “Weimar.” Yes, of course that was different. In some ways …

As a reader asked rather plaintively recently: With government like this, what could possible go wrong?

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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