Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas Would be Immediate Economic Boon for New Mexico

(Albuquerque) If the Obama Administration approves liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to non-free trade nations (those that do not have separate trade agreements with the United States), New Mexico could see an immediate increase in economic output of $200 million and the addition of 2,000 jobs according to a new Rio Grande Foundation report.

The issue of whether or not to export a portion of America’s bounty of clean natural gas has generated heated debate pitting some environmentalists and manufacturers who oppose exports against producers and free trade supporters who wish to allow exports.

The Rio Grande Foundation has come down firmly on the side of free trade and those who wish to sell natural gas around the world.

Said Foundation President Paul Gessing, “Philosophically, this view flows directly from our support for free markets, but it also is a product of our desire to strengthen New Mexico’s economy by providing new markets for natural gas produced within our borders.”

To come to its conclusions regarding the jobs and economic input of natural gas exports, the Foundation relied on data available from IHS Global Insight which stated that “exports would create over 100,000 direct, indirect, and economy wide jobs and have an immediate impact resulting in between $3.6 and $5.2 billion in potential revenues.”

According to the US Energy Information Administration, New Mexico produces 5.3 percent of total US natural gas, thus making it likely that New Mexico would experience a similar ratio of economic benefits.

Continued Gessing, “The economic impact numbers outlined above are just a starting point in terms of economic impact, but 2,000 new jobs would be enough to qualify these new jobs as the 5th-largest private employer in New Mexico were they all at one company.”

In addition to New Mexico jobs, benefits of LNG exports include increasing tax revenues, reduced carbon emissions over other energy sources, reduced trade deficits, a display of principled support of free trade, and closer relations with foreign people and governments.

Concluded Gessing, “LNG exports are a true win-win-win policy, President Obama should act now.”

Gessing recently sat down with KNAT TV to discuss the issue of LNG exports. See that interview below:

Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing discusses the potential for Liquefied Natural Gas Exports on Joy in Our Town from Paul Gessing on Vimeo.

John Fund's presentation on elections and an "update from DC"

John Fund is National Affairs Columnist for National Review magazine and an on-air analyst on the Fox News Channel. He is considered a notable expert on American politics and the nexus between politics and economics. He spoke at the Albuquerque Museum in Albuquerque on Monday, April 29, 2013. His presentation is below:

4-30-13 John Fund from Paul Gessing on Vimeo.

Debt and Deficit Debate footage/background information posted

Lots of information relating to the debate on federal debts and deficits. Footage of the debate is posted below:

4-18-13 Debate from Paul Gessing on Vimeo.

The powerpoint slides are available online as well with Nick Estes' here and Paul Gessing's here.

Also, Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico interviewed Estes and Gessing prior to the event with footage posted below:

New Report: Prosperity is Proportional to Economic Freedom along New Mexico’s Border

(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:

  • Defines economic freedom and explains how and why it varies across political borders that delineate the neighboring counties of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona;
  • Explains why economic freedom is relevant and statistically measures how it leads to prosperity;
  • Ranks economic freedom of New Mexico counties compared to their neighboring counterparts across state lines;
  • Explores the influence federal spending has on local economic freedom and, by extension, prosperity.

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.”

Natural gas could be NM's Ace in the Hole

Natural gas could revolutionize New Mexico’s economy. The fuel of which New Mexico is among the nation’s leading producers, has seen incredible growth in production with the advent of horizontal fracking and new drilling techniques resulting in a 25 percent increase in US production since just 2007.

The advent of cheap, plentiful natural gas has caused production and drilling to decline temporarily here in New Mexico, but the trend holds great opportunity for our state as well. Why is cheap, plentiful natural gas a good thing?

• It’s relatively green. Compared to coal, natural gas generates less than half of the carbon and a fraction of the sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particles such as ash;
• It could drive a rebirth of American industry. Natural gas is a feed-stock in many chemicals and plastics. Having a cheap, plentiful supply here in the US could lead to the re-shoring of manufacturers and thousands of new jobs, a stated goal of the Obama Administration;
• It can be exported for the economic benefit of New Mexicans and the US as a whole. Japan is just one energy-poor nation that is eager to import natural gas from producers in New Mexico as the gas currently available in many overseas markets if four times as expensive as it is here.

Margaret Thatcher and Ladies for Liberty presentations by economist and author John Blundell

The Rio Grande Foundation recently hosted John Blundell for a series of talks on Margaret Thatcher and Ladies for Liberty. Video of the Thatcher presentation is below:

3-26-13 Blundell on Thatcher from Paul Gessing on Vimeo.

The Ladies for Liberty presentation can be found here:

Blundell Ladies for Liberty from Paul Gessing on Vimeo.

Rio Grande Foundation Analysis Finds New Mexico’s Public Sector Workers Earn More than Private Sector

(Albuquerque) Responding to the ongoing debate over whether to increase state government employee pay in New Mexico, the Rio Grande Foundation has produced a new report, “Public v. Private Sector: Income Differences in New Mexico” that attempts to create an “apples to apples” comparison of the overall compensation of workers in the public and private sectors.

According to the Foundation’s analysis, New Mexico government workers are paid an 8.6 percent premium over their private sector counterparts.

“It is widely known and reflected in our report,” notes policy analyst Ben Sugg, “that government workers give up some upfront pay in exchange for more generous health care, pension, and time-off/retirement. The question is whether those ‘fringe benefits’ lead to relatively higher pay for workers in New Mexico’s state government or not.”

The Rio Grande Foundation analysis used a statistical technique called “Regression Analysis” in order to better understand the differences in pay among various types of workers. Regression analysis is a statistical technique for estimating the relationships among variables. In this paper, it is used to account for the relevant differences between state and private sector workers.

According to the report’s findings using regression analysis, despite having not received a raise since 2008, New Mexico’s public sector workers remain better-paid overall than their equivalents in the private sector. That difference is 8.6 percent. Read the brief for yourself here.   

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