Will energy-state senators Udall and Heinrich support provisions of Obama’s recently released budget that, once again, go after “Big Oil”? If their voting records are any indication, probably so, even though the oil and gas industry provides more than 13,000 direct jobs in New Mexico at an average annual salary of $64,000 and pours $2.5 billion a year into the government coffers of New Mexico.
“Big Oil” is paying a mere 41% in income taxes, compared to a wide array of other industries like “Big Computer” which are paying 25%. And whereas Apple Computer and most other industries receive a 9% tax deduction for “domestic production activities”, oil and gas companies get only a 6% deduction for those activities.
As the following chart illustrates, the oil and gas industries’ profit margins are lower than other major industries while it also pays higher taxes:
But Obama, along with Udall, Heinrich and others, thinks that is too generous and wants to incentivize one of the few industries that is actually creating jobs in America to move those jobs overseas. His recently released budget would remove current deductions and further penalize America’s largest oil and gas companies, four of which were in New Mexico’s top 10 producers as of 2011: Conoco Phillips, BP America, Exxon Mobile, and Chevron USA.
Energy-state senators Heinrich and Udall have repeatedly voted against the oil and gas industry and have pledged their support for taxes that target them, regardless of the negative impact on New Mexicans.
Studies estimate that a new energy tax will not only backfire by costing the U.S. Government $144 billion loss in revenue over 13 years, but will result in the loss of 170,000 direct and indirect jobs in the energy industry by 2014. Domestic oil production is also expected to decline by 700,000 barrels a day, a genius move when Americans are paying nearly $4.00 per gallon.
Disclaimer: the following information is from the most recent “Diploma’s Count” which tracks the class of 2009. However, as the chart below illustrates, over the 10 years from 1999 to 2009, New Mexico’s graduation rate was both lower than and more stagnant than other states in our region (I threw Florida in to illustrate the success of the “Florida Model.”)
Interestingly, Arizona was as aggressive as any among these states in terms of school choice. Utah, which graduates students at a rate that is 10%-plus above New Mexico’s spends nearly $4,000 less on a per-pupil basis than does the Land of Enchantment. The Beehive State (Utah) had adopted a “universal voucher” for school choice until the unions succeeded in convincing voters to kill the reform before it got started.
And, as much as I want to believe that New Mexico has dramatically improved its education results with the modest reforms pushed by Gov. Martinez, I await validation of these results on national reports like Diplomas Count. We’ll see.
There has been some reporting recently about New Mexico’s dropping labor participation rate. As this link shows, New Mexico is among the states in which people are leaving the work force at the fastest rate (a 4.4% drop since December of 2007).
While our unemployment rate is middle-of-the-road, our workforce participation rate is among the lowest in the nation and the lowest by far among the states bordering us AZ, UT, CO, OK, and TX. I am sure that the minimum wages adopted by Albuquerque and now Bernalillo County will help this situation….
One may quibble on the details, but economically it makes sense to have everyone who can possibly be engaged in productive activity, do so and for some support to be offered to ensure that the needy are brought up to certain minimum levels in terms of living standards. Allowing people to slip out of the work force entirely is not good.
See the chart below:
If you are an attorney licensed here in New Mexico and you support reciprocity, I encourage you to sign the following formal petition to the New Mexico Supreme Court. Please pass this along to other New Mexico attorneys.
If you or anyone wishes to sign the petition, please email us at: email@example.com
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
IN THE MATTER OF A PETITION
TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
STATE OF NEW MEXICO TO MODIFY
RULES OF ADMISSION TO PERMIT
RECIPROCITY TO EXPERIENCED
MEMBERS OF OTHER STATE BARS
THAT GRANT RECIPROCITY TO
MEMBERS OF THE NEW MEXICO BAR
COMES NOW the undersigned members of the New Mexico Bar to petition the Supreme Court of New Mexico, pursuant to its authority under Rule 15-103, NMRA 2012 to prescribe admission requirements for the practice of law in the State of New Mexico, and respectfully requests the Supreme Court to allow the admission of experienced practitioners by motion from other states that grant reciprocity to members of the State Bar of New Mexico.
This motion is in response to member demand for the adoption of a multijurisdictional practice system of admission, the policies of surrounding states that allows for admission by motion, as well as, for the best interests of the citizens of the State of New Mexico to receive the best quality legal services by allowing competent and ethical attorneys to move to New Mexico and compete and grow both the legal market and the economy of the State of New Mexico. As grounds for this petition, the undersigned petitioner states as follows the following justification.
I. Changes in the Current System of Admissions and Reciprocity would benefit both clients and attorneys in the State of New Mexico
New Mexico is one of only eleven states that has not adopted any admission- by- motion procedure and still requires lawyers to take a bar examination regardless of experience and competence. As a result, New Mexico attorneys applying to practice in other states are denied access to admission by motion in most other states. The result is that New Mexico attorneys are denied the ability to effectively represent their clients, and their clients are denied the proper level of freedom to select their lawyers.
The practice of law is becoming a regional rather than local marketplace.
Attorneys in New Mexico are denied the ability in border- states to serve the needs of their clients. Since all of the surrounding border-states, including most recently Arizona in 2010, have adopted admission-by-motion rules, New Mexico attorneys are left unable to compete with attorneys in surrounding states.
In addition, New Mexico attorneys are denied the ability to join the bars of other states if they and their families want or need to move to other states for personal or economic reasons. In our increasingly mobile society in which people and businesses move with greater regularity than in previous years, it is essential that experienced attorneys have the ability to move to other jurisdictions without the fear of being impeded by their inability to move their law license Despite many years and possibly decades of experience, competent attorneys with spotless ethical credentials are denied the simple right afforded attorneys from other states because New Mexico requires a bar examination. It is common sense that studying for a bar examination is burdensome and sometime prohibitive in terms of time demands and the other sacrifices needed to be made by attorneys who have already been fully vetted by a proven track record. The American Bar Association has commented in its Commission on Ethics that the effect of requiring attorneys already licensed and experienced in legal practice to take another bar exam is an “erection of an excessive barrier” that is “lengthy, expensive and burdensome”. In most other business endeavors such restraint would be actionable.
Businesses that desire to move to New Mexico are also constrained by the failure of the state to enact an admission-by-motion rule. Corporations will continue to be hesitant to move to our state if their entire legal staff is forced to take the bar examination. Most experienced corporate counsel will have no interest in taking another bar examination after years of practice, leaving their employers to have second thoughts before moving to a state with such restrictive admission policies. While doctors and certified public accountants can move to our state without taking another exam, attorneys are not provided similar opportunities. Pity that poor trailing spouse of the doctor, CPA, military member, FBI Agent, et al, who happens to be a lawyer and wishes to reunite the family in New Mexico, only to find themselves hit with costly, redundant, burdensome, further disruptions in their lives and livelihood.
II. Clients will receive ample protection if admission by motion is adopted
One of the concerns often expressed by opponents of reciprocity is that it would fail to protect the citizens of the State from what have been characterized as unqualified or unscrupulous lawyers because we would have to rely on other states’ processes of evaluation. As has been demonstrated by the forty states which have adopted some form of admission by motion, such concerns are wholly unfounded and without substance. These are raised mostly by those who fear competition or else those who may be unable to compete with experienced competent attorneys with proven track records from other jurisdictions. The Court’s role should be to oversee the best and most cost effective legal services to New Mexico consumers of legal services, above maintaining a protectionist regimen for those who fear competition.
The American Bar Association Commission on Ethics has issued two major reports on admission by motion (2002 and 2012). The 2012 report, adopted by the American Bar Association House of Delegates on August 6, 2012, found that there have been approximately 65,000 lawyers who have been admitted by motion in the forty states which have adopted such procedures in the last ten years, and “there is no evidence that lawyers admitted by motion . . . are more likely to be subject to discipline, disciplinary procedures, or malpractice suits than lawyers admitted through traditional procedures.” American Bar Association, Resolution 105E, ABA Model Rule for Admission on Motion, Report, p. 3, August, 2012 (see attachment A). Evaluation processes of other states have not been shown to be defective in terms of ferreting out unethical attorneys. One of the roles of the Board of Bar Examiners is to conduct additional background checks to thoroughly evaluate such applicants (and charge them for the cost) to alleviate such concerns.
If there were a real concern that New Mexico should not trust the evaluation processes of other states, we would not allow legal services lawyers to practice in our states without taking a bar examination.
Another argument is that competency in the practice of law requires an attorney to pass the bar exam of the state the attorney in which the attorney is to be licensed. The ABA report states there is “no evidence from disciplinary counsel or any other source that these lawyers have been unable to identify and understand aspects of the new jurisdiction’s law that differ from the law of the jurisdiction where those lawyers were originally admitted.” Id. Unique laws to the state of New Mexico, such as Indian Law or Community Property, are also no impediment to an out-of- state’s attorney’s competence and can be readily covered in CLE courses if one desires such expertise. In fact, the ABA report concluded that attorneys with experience in another jurisdiction may actually be able to better identify and understand local laws of states than a recent law school graduate who has passed the bar exam. Id. at 4. While a bar examination tests an applicant on general legal knowledge, an attorney’s track record with the state’s disciplinary authority establishes competence through the actual practice of law.
III. New Mexico Attorneys are protected
There is a concern that attorneys from other states, particularly Texas, will rush over to our state and flood the market. In fact, the experience of other states, as shown in the statistics of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, demonstrates that no such mass influx is likely to occur. A good measuring stick to evaluate this claim is in bordering states of Arizona and Colorado, which have much larger populations. Arizona, which instituted its admission-by-motion rule in 2010, admitted 234 attorneys in 2010 and 183 in 2011 by motion, while over 500 attorneys were admitted by exam. In Colorado, which has had an admission- by- motion provision for many years, there were 130 attorney admitted by motion in 2010 and 155 in 2011 while over 1000 attorneys were admitted by exam each year. See, http://ncbex.org/assets/media-files/statistics/2011Statistics.pdf .
It is clear that some attorneys feel that admitting attorneys from other states runs against the self- interest of attorneys in New Mexico, and the current rules protect them from competition. Economic protectionism is a concern heard throughout the state and was expressed in a meeting of the Board of Bar Examiners in 2007 when it rejected an attempt to pass an admission-by-motion rule. Not only is the rationale an unconstitutional basis for requiring a bar examination under the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the benefits of adopting admission-by- motion far outweighs any perceived negative impact. In any case, the focus of the Supreme Court should be on providing the highest quality legal services to the people of New Mexico rather than protecting attorneys who are fearful of increased competition.
In his successful petition to the Supreme Court of Arizona to adopt a similar rule, Timothy P. Burr, who is now a Professor of Law at Arizona State University, stated that “the adoption of the proposed rule would permit . . . attorneys to compete regionally and nationally, gain access to admission to other jurisdictions, gain access to larger legal markets, relocate to other states, and benefit from an increased ability to practice across state lines.” (Petition in Support of Revision of the Rules for Admission to the Bar of Arizona, filed October 2, 2006, Supreme Court No. R-06-0017, p. 7)
IV. Admission by Motion is Supported by the Majority of Attorneys in New
While there undoubtedly has been interest group steadfastly opposed to opening our legal market to competent and ethical out of state attorneys, the majority of New Mexico lawyers support reciprocity or admission by motion. In a poll conducted in 2011 by Research and Polling Inc. for the State Bar of New Mexico, 77 percent of lawyers supported the concept. As attorneys in the State of New Mexico gain greater understanding of this issue, the number and intensity of support has risen.
V. The Court Already Allows Other State Bar Members to Represent the Poor in New Mexico as well as Grants Reciprocity to Mexican Attorneys to Practice in New Mexico as Foreign Legal Consultants.
Court already permits experienced out of state lawyers to represent poor people in New Mexico via selected non-profits. (Rule 15-301.2) Surely, we would not permit substandard representation there, so this is not about the competence of other state bar members, many of them coming from states that require higher MPRE (ethics) scores than New Mexico does. Similarly, the Court voted unanimously in November 2012, in its Case Number 33,702, to reverse the Board of Bar Examiners in the Huerta matter, thereby granting reciprocity to a Mexican Attorney under a Foreign Legal Consultant program. With that recent decision, it begs the question as to what Old Mexico bar members have that experienced American attorneys from other United States of America States do not?
The petitioners urge the Court to promptly bring New Mexico into the mainstream by adopting reciprocity rules on this important and defining issue of the legal profession, joining the forty other states who have adopted a form of admission-by- motion. The petitioners respectfully urge the Court to adopt the rule proposed and adopted by the Board of Bar Commissioners in 2007 called “limited reciprocity” that would allow certain attorneys from states which would accept New Mexico attorneys to be admitted when they have practiced law five of the last seven years with certain restrictions (for a complete discussion of the issue in 2007 as well as a copy of the proposed rule, see attachment B – New Mexico Lawyer, vol. 3, no. 1 (2008)).
VII. Proposed Rule
1. An applicant who meets the requirements of this rule hereafter as determined by the Board of Bar Examiners, may upon motion based on reciprocity, be admitted to this jurisdiction without examination
a. Have been admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction which will admit New Mexico attorneys to it’s Bar without examination under provisions similar to this rule.
b. Have been primarily engaged in the active practice of law in one or more states, territories or the District of Columbia for five of the seven years immediately preceding the date upon which the application is filed.
c. Hold a professional degree in law, J.D. or L.L.B. from a law school approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the American Bar Association at the time the applicant graduated;
d. Establish that the applicant is currently a good member in standing in all jurisdictions where admitted and an active member in the reciprocal jurisdiction;
e. Establish that the applicant is not currently subject to lawyer discipline or the subject of a pending disciplinary matter in any other jurisdiction; and
f. Establish that the applicant possesses the character and fitness to practice law in this jurisdiction pursuant to the rules governing admission to practice in the State of New Mexico whether by examination, motion or this rule.
2. For purposes of this section, “practice of law” shall mean:
a. private practice as a sole practitioner or for a law firm, legal services office, legal clinic or similar entity, provided such practice was subsequent to being admitted to the practice of law in the jurisdiction in which that practice occurred;
b. practice as an attorney for a corporation, partnership, trust, individual or other entity, provided such practice was subsequent to being admitted to the practice of law in the jurisdiction in which the practice occurred and involved the primary duties of furnishing legal counsel, drafting legal documents and pleadings, interpreting and giving advice regarding the law, or preparing, trying or presenting
cases before courts, executive departments, administrative bureaus, or agencies;
c. practice as an attorney for the federal or a state or local government, state or federal agency or bar-related programs, provided that such employment is available only to licensed attorneys;
d. employment as a judge, magistrate, referee, or similar official for the federal or state or local government, state or federal agency or bar-related programs, provided that such employment is available only to licensed attorneys;
e. full-time employment as a teacher of law at a law school approved by the American Bar Association, whether or not such law school is located in New Mexico; or
f. any combination of the above.
3. Upon completion of the admission process, applicants shall be admitted upon motion by the Supreme Court of New Mexico. The fee shall be established by the Board of Law Examiners. No fees are refundable.
4. Upon admission, the admittee shall immediately be subject to all rules of mandatory continuing legal education, professionalism, and the disciplinary rules of the Supreme Court of New Mexico and annual dues to be paid to the State Bar of New Mexico.
5. Any attorney admitted pursuant to this rule shall be subject to the same rules applicable to attorneys who take and pass the New Mexico Bar Examination, including but not limited to: IOLTA, pro bono and case assignments or appointments by the various judicial districts in the State of New Mexico. Failure to comply with these rules or accept such appointments shall result in disciplinary action.
Patrick J. Rogers
Patrick J. Rogers, LLC
P.O. Box 26748
Albuquerque, NM 87125
Resolution 105E and Report
ABA Model Rule for Admission by Motion
American Bar Association House of Delegates
August 6, 2012
New Mexico Lawyer
Vol. 3, no. 1 (2008)
Letters to Court from Concerned Citizen
America’s natural gas boom has helped lead to a dramatic decline in carbon emissions in the United States. Rather than pursuing “green” energy technologies that are simply not ready for prime-time, the US government should just allow US suppliers to assist China with the transition to cleaner, more-efficient energy sources? After all, the free market incentivizes efficiency in ways that governments never can. Could China one day be buying large quantities of New Mexico natural gas?
Lots of information relating to the debate on federal debts and deficits. Footage of the debate is posted below:
Also, Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico interviewed Estes and Gessing prior to the event with footage posted below:
The following letter appeared in the April 17-23 edition of the Santa Fe Reporter. The letter was in response to the article “WIPP it Good” which appeared in the previous edition of the paper.
I read with interest Laura Paskus’ article on WIPP. In particular, I noted her statement that the “oil and gas industry offers relatively few jobs.” This statement is highly inaccurate. According to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the industry directly employs between 12 and 15 thousand New Mexicans. If those workers all worked for one company, that would be the largest private employer in our state by far (Intel, the next largest, employs approximately 3,000).
Now that we have cleared that up, it is worth discussing the issue of nuclear storage itself. Currently, high-level nuclear waste is stored on site at more than one hundred facilities nationwide, none of which were designed for the purpose of holding such waste. It is widely-acknowledged that this is not an optimal situation and that a site like Yucca Mountain or a facility designed for the purpose in the Carlsbad area would be a superior and safer option.
While the jobs and economic impact of such a facility were it to be located in our state would be welcome, safety issues must dominate. On that, Paskus and I would agree. I can hardly imagine she thinks the current situation is preferable.
(Albuquerque) Varying levels of economic freedom, both from country to country and state to state, have been widely studied by think tanks and government agencies alike. The strong trend is for economic freedom to be correlated with prosperity.
Nonetheless, few if any reports have directly compared the burden of government across often-arbitrary Western borders.
The new Rio Grande Foundation report, “Liberty, Opportunity, Prosperity along New Mexico’s Border,” is an attempt to localize the impact economic freedom has upon prosperity in New Mexico and border regions in neighboring states. (A summary of the report is available here) The report:
Said, Harry Messenheimer, PhD, author of the report, “Unfortunately New Mexico has a reputation is as an economically-unfree state, but on a county-by-county level, economic freedom varies widely.” Continued Messenheimer, “The borders between New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas are straight and essentially arbitrary. For that reason neighboring counties along those borders provide a particularly useful laboratory for study of how differences in state/local economic freedom affect prosperity.”
Concluded Messenheimer, “economic freedom often varied a great deal among counties, and we uncovered yet another strong link between economic freedom and prosperity. Based on private earnings per worker as an indicator of prosperity, counties with mostly high economic freedom tended to be 75 percent more prosperous than those with low economic freedom. Moreover, more federal spending was associated with reduced prosperity.”
As we gear up for tonight’s big debate, I thought this was a very interesting article about how Medicare should be more like Social Security. Sure, Social Security’s finances are problematic and the system must be reformed, but they are not as bad as Medicare’s long-term.
One solution, as Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute points out, is to give Medicare recipients a sum of money to spend or save for their own health care. Again, it doesn’t solve the entire problem, but it starts us in the right direction.
With Bernalillo County poised to raise its government-mandated minimum wage, I thought this story about Hobby Lobby raising its starting wage for full-time workers to $14/hour and for part-time workers to $9.50/hour was very interesting. Why would an avowedly “conservative” company that has sued the Obama Administration over its “ObamaCare” health care law voluntarily raise its minimum wage? After all, aren’t these people cruel capitalists hoping for nothing more than to squeeze another dime out of its hapless employees?
Well, I can’t speak to the hearts of the folks at Hobby Lobby, but I can say that paying competitive wages can be good business. Henry Ford knew this 100 years ago and any worker today who earns more than the government-mandated wage can thank the basic economic law of supply and demand, their work ethic, and competency (not politicians) for their increased wage rate.
So, kudos to Hobby Lobby for being a successful business. If you are concerned about the minimum wage hike proposed for Bernalillo County, check out this petition and attend the County Commission hearing on Tuesday the 23rd to speak out against this misguided proposal.
There was a spate of coverage here and elsewhere last week over the steep tuition hikes enacted at the University of New Mexico. See full coverage here, here, and here. I found the following chart which illustrates the tuition hikes experienced by state four-year colleges and universities in the 50 states over the last few years. New Mexico appears squarely in the middle of the list. The truth is that higher education spending is out of control in most states across the nation. It is time to re-evaluate the system in its entirety.
I have to admit that I almost did not believe my eyes when I saw Sunday’s op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal by Donald Moya, CFO of the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). It is great to see New Mexico’s largest school district (and several other districts) embracing digital learning, calling it “the way of the future.”
As a board member of one of two New Mexico virtual schools, Connections Academy, which came under attack in the Legislature on multiple occasions during the legislative session (not the least of which included Hanna Skandera’s confirmation hearing), I am thrilled to have this endorsement of the basic learning model that we are working on supported so strongly by the traditional schools.
There can be no doubt that technology individualizes learning in ways that one teacher in front of 25 students cannot. APS has a real opportunity to be a national leader in both implementing digital reforms and in pushing the New Mexico Legislature to clear the way for such options, whether they be within the traditional school system, charters, or some other model that may be available. I hope they will seize upon this opportunity and perhaps consider some of the concepts in the 2012 edition of the “Digital Learning Now” 50 state report card as they move forward.
I recently discussed the potential for natural gas exports (LNG) from New Mexico to energy-poor nations like Japan. Notably, since that column was published, Senators Udall and Bingaman (along with Rep. Pearce) have endorsed LNG exports. Unfortunately, there is no legislation on the topic. The decision is ultimately up to our Dear Leader, Obama who has nominated a fellow named Ernest Moniz as Secretary of Energy. As Steve Milloy over at the Washington Times noted, Moniz prevaricated when asked by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski about his stance on LNG exports. You can see video footage for yourself below:
It is no surprise that Obama would not nominate someone who would take a firm stance on policies not yet approved and vetted by the Administration, but his answer is disappointing and vague nonetheless.
Interestingly, according to the following report from Motley Fool, yet another argument in favor of LNG exports is that manufacturing has become increasingly-energy efficient and thus less reliant on LNG as an energy source. This will further free up supplies for export.
Recently, Mike and Genie Ryan penned a column for the West Side Rio edition of the Albuquerque Journal. They made several comparisons between Michigan and New Mexico in terms of weather and several economic points. While I am happy to be a New Mexican, the comparison between poverty and economic issues faced by the two states is more nuanced than laid out in the original article. My letter to that effect ran in today’s edition of the paper:
I’m glad that Mike and Genie Ryan are happy to live in New Mexico. I am too and as a Midwesterner by birth I absolutely love the Land of Enchantment.
That said, I feel compelled to help set the columnists straight on some of the economic issues discussed in their article and how New Mexico and Michigan compare. Economically-speaking, despite the Ryan’s assurances that our state “has escaped such despair” as those experienced by Michigan, it must be pointed out that average personal incomes in Michigan actually exceed those in New Mexico according to UNM’s Bureau of Economic Research.
True, Michigan has been in a long-term economic slide and that differences between the two states were far greater 20 or more years ago. It may be that our poverty is more rural while Michigan’s is focused in the Detroit area or it may be that those abandoned factories in Michigan look impressive or depressing, but New Mexico is really poor and is kept afloat by a massive infusion of federal dollars and the oil and gas industries.
Today, Michigan is taking serious action to free its economy and diversify beyond the automobile industry. It has adopted a Right to Work law and been eliminating wasteful and unnecessary regulations (already having reducing the number of administrative rules in the state by 1,000.
Loving a person or place doesn’t mean not being honest about flaws. New Mexico is a great place to live, but it has been held back by a lack of economic freedom for decades.
In our regulatory reform efforts that kicked off 2013, the Rio Grande Foundation made the case for reciprocity for lawyers in New Mexico (the process is regulated by the State Supreme Court).
While outlining some of the basic issues, we did not provide a completely in-depth analysis of the nuances of the issue. An attorney named Peyton George has his owns concerns on the issue and has penned a detailed letter on the topic to the New Mexico Supreme Court.
While New Mexico’s Legislature made some tentative steps towards lightening the regulatory burdens on New Mexicans this year in the areas of motor transport, alcohol, and certain application issues, the Supreme Court has made no move to end this absurd form of protectionism that hurts our economy and makes it less likely that businesses will locate to our State. Will the Supreme Court wake up and change its regulations voluntarily or do voters just have to vote in new members? I guess only time will tell.
The title of this blog posting is known as Stein’s law. It also applies to the tuition hikes at University of New Mexico which I wrote about yesterday. Rob Nikolewski over at Capitol Report New Mexico has done the math and found that the cost of in-state tuition and required fees at the University has nearly tripled (up more than 170 percent) over the past 15 years.
Simply put, these rapid annual increases in tuition are not sustainable. Either fewer New Mexicans will be able to afford an education for their children or the education delivered at the University will have to evolve in such a way as to return to a sustainable economic model. I certainly prefer the latter, but that involves real leadership and tough decisions on the part of the folks leading the institutions of New Mexico government and specifically Higher Education in our state. Of course, it is worth noting that New Mexico is not alone in seeing rapid annual increases in tuition at institutes of higher education without requisite improvements in education quality/job prospects as reported by The Economist.
A few weeks ago, the Albuquerque Journal ran a story about the “ghost campus” on the West Side. See a full RGF report on campus bloat in NM here. Now, we have heated discussions over whether and how much to raise tuition at UNM.
While there are certainly discussions to be had about the role of athletics on campus and how much, if at all, students should pay for that, and the conflict between research and teaching among faculty (to name just two issues), it seems that no one is connecting the issues of bloat and lack of a clear mission – leading to mission bloat — at UNM and the out-of-control costs at the University.
When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority, but students and taxpayers wind up footing the bill. And, lest you think taxpayers should just “suck it up” and pay more, New Mexico taxpayers are already VERY generous when it comes to funding higher ed in New Mexico.
Rather than digging deeper into the pockets of students or taxpayers, UNM and the folks guiding higher education policy in this state need to demand efficiency and innovation in order to bring costs down while still fulfilling the mission of higher education (whatever that may be)…teach kids, do research, win basketball games?
Concrete Boots or Life Jackets For a Troubled Economy? Beyond the Talking Points!
To fiscal conservatives like Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing, the piling up of trillion-dollar federal budget deficits is a huge economic problem courting an utter fiscal collapse.
To liberals like Nick Estes, formerly of New Mexico Voices for Children, today’s deficits are needed for jump-starting our flagging economy and spurring economic growth.
Who’s right? You be the judge. Gessing and Estes will face off in a debate over the federal deficit. Attendance is free.
Come by for an interesting discussion and see if we all can’t learn something.
President Obama has proposed a reduction in the level of Social Security benefits through the use of something called Chained CPI. Despite bipartisan agreement that Social Security needs to be reformed, Obama’s proposal has gone over like a lead balloon (especially on the left). See the chart below for an illustration on the scope of the fiscal problem with Social Security:
What nobody is really talking about is just how crappy Social Security really is. According to Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute (writing in October 2008 when the stock market was in a deep decline):
Assume you had invested a hypothetical $100 in 1965. The redline shows what would have happened if that money had annually earned Social Security’s imputed rate of return (about 2.2 percent for someone retiring today). The blue line represents what would have happened if you earned the actual market return. If you invested $100 in 1965 at Social Security’s rate of return, today you would have $254.91. But if you invested that $100 in the market, today, even with the current down market, you would have $4,135.92.
See the image below for details.
Private accounts are STILL the best option for America’s retirement system.
Former English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has passed away. She was perhaps the greatest political leader of the 20th Century and brought Britain back from being “The Sick Man of Europe” with tough-minded, free market reforms. Read just one of the many eulogies of Thatcher from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Her stiff spine on behalf of free markets and limited government is needed now more than ever. Check out one of her great moments here:
Interestingly enough, RGF recently hosted an event with British economist and author John Blundell on Thatcher and her legacy. See an interview done by Rob Nikolewski below:
Blundell’s full speech on Lady Thatcher in Albuquerque can be found below (PS: we have a few copies of Blundell’s book on Thatcher available, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested):