KRWG

Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @ nmsu.edu  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.

Can U.S.-Mexico Relations Improve?

Aug 13, 2018

Commentary: In my last column, I wrote about Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s (AMLO) letter to U.S. President Donald Trump in which he states that the issues most crucial to the U.S.-Mexico relationship are commerce, immigration, development, and security. In the letter, he also proposes that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations should be accelerated and wrapped up as quickly as possible, so as to not create a prolonged uncertainty over NAFTA that could put a stop to new investments in the medium- to long-term. On July 20, Trump sent AMLO a letter in response.

Trump’s letter to AMLO states that he agrees with the four issues outlined by the Mexican President-elect and that he has directed his team “to redouble those efforts with your incoming team.” Trump tells AMLO that “Both of our countries benefit from an economically prosperous North America. But we can do better.” He then echoes AMLO’s position on NAFTA  by stating, “I believe a successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement will lead to even more jobs and higher wages for hard-working American and Mexican workers – but only if it can go quickly, because otherwise I must go a much different route. It would not be my preference, but would be far more profitable for the United States and its taxpayers.” What this specific route would be or why it would be far more profitable for Americans is not clarified.

New Mexico Has One Of The Nation's Lowest Gas Taxes...Will It Last?

Aug 12, 2018
Dowd Muska

  Commentary: You won’t find any specific mentions of New Mexico’s gasoline tax on the websites of the two leading candidates for governor. Steve Pearce is silent on the issue. Michelle Lujan Grishamcryptically promises to “work with the legislature to secure financing for [infrastructure] investments and work with unions, industry, and other stakeholders to put people back to work at rebuilding New Mexico.” (Decide for yourself what that means.)

But there’s no question that in the Land of Enchantment, nearly every Democrat lawmaker, and more than a few Republican solons, want you to pay more at the pump. After all, there’s plenty of room for growth. As the Tax Foundation’s map shows, the state has one of the lowest total gasoline-tax burdens in the country. (In addition to the per-gallon charge, an “inventory tax” is imposed on distributors and wholesalers and a “loading fee” is assessed to pipelines and refineries.) Even “worse,” no local government has imposed the optional tax permitted by statute.

Goodman: Thoughts On Democratic Socialism

Aug 12, 2018
peter goodman

Commentary: Hosting an intense radio show Wednesday, with guests from “Retake our Democracy” and the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, left me reflecting on socialism, civility, tactics, and my advancing age.

Socialism is a sweet concept espoused mostly by Christians until it became a curse word during the 20th Century, when the ideology got intertwined with Russia's nationalist ambitions; and Soviet Communism's “godlessness” was a deal-breaker for many here.

Socialism means equality and democracy; turning public assets, resources, and energies to the public good, making things at least livable for all. Should everything belong to a few rich folks?

But are humans too selfish for socialism? Will the comrades running the police and the army always end up more equal than the others? (The Soviet example is cautionary. Kerala (an Indian state) and some European social democracies are more encouraging.)

Putin Is A Problem...But America Must Look Inward As Well

Aug 12, 2018

Commentary: For the record, I am against foreign interference in free elections. Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election is an assault on democracies everywhere, and it flat out disregards the will of the American people.

Commentary: Geoarbitrage is the idea, popularized by Tim Ferriss, that the digital workplace allows people to live anywhere yet still be able to do their job via internet commuting, so one might as well live where the costs are lower. Different geographical areas have different cost of living. One can take advantage of this to obtain a higher standard of living than would otherwise be possible. Get a job in San Diego with a San Diego salary, but live Berlin and pay Berlin rents and Berlin medical prices.

facebook.com (donald trump)

Commentary:  Health, labor and environmental organizations represented by Earthjustice are asking the government via expedited records request to reveal where exactly it plans to detain migrant families slated to be housed in Texas military bases known to have toxic hazards.

City of Santa Fe Passes Resolution in Support of Land and Water Conservation Fund

Aug 9, 2018
Santa Fe City Council

Commentary: The Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce applauds the Santa Fe City Council and Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber for unanimously passing a resolution on Wednesday, August 8, urging Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is our nation’s most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities in every state, including New Mexico. However, LWCF will expire on September 30unless Congress acts to reauthorize the program before then.


peter goodman


  Commentary: In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revised the national ambient air quality standard for smog, a dangerous air pollutant that contributes to serious health problems such as asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature deaths. Having done so, EPA was required to study air quality data from across the United States to determine which areas were experiencing unsafe levels of smog.

Corporate income tax is inefficient way to collect taxes

Aug 3, 2018

Commentary:  The among the worse taxes by which a government can raise revenue is the corporate income tax. In fact, corporate taxes have been falling globally by about half, from an average of 49% in 1985 to 24% in 2015. New Mexico is no exception to this trend, with state corporate profit tax being scheduled to fall to 5.9% in 2018 from an initial 7.6%.

The explanation for this global decline is that globalization has increased competition for productive capital. Cutting taxes makes a jurisdiction more attractive as a destination for investment in machinery plant and equipment.

  Judge finds Albuquerque program forces property owners to bear an unconstitutional burden to prove own innocence and creates an unconstitutional financial incentive to take property.

Las Cruces GO Bonds Burden Taxpayers Instead Of Developers

Jul 30, 2018

  Commentary: Thank goodness for TischlerBise (TB).

TB is a consulting firm and an expert on Development Impact Fees (DIFs). TB says it has designed 900 impact fees in the U.S. and Canada -- more than anyone else -- and never had one successfully challenged.

TB is an important source of factual, rational, and informed advice related to what I call the “Las Cruces GO Bond versus DIF issue.”

Pearce Announces Economic Plan

Jul 30, 2018

Commentary: Steve Pearce announced today a plan for more jobs, higher wages, and increased investment in New Mexico. He released the following statement:

“New Mexico must do more to invest in our people. Today, I am announcing a new plan to change the way our state invests our own money to allow more resources for New Mexico workers and New Mexico businesses. As Governor, I will work with the State Investment Council to increase investment in New Mexico’s economy so that businesses can create economic prosperity, pay higher wages, and create more jobs in New Mexico rather than leaving for other states.

AMLO Letter To Trump

Jul 30, 2018

Commentary: On July 12, Mexican President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (commonly known as AMLO), sent a letter to President Donald Trump outlining the objectives of his incoming administration, which will take office December 1. In this cordial letter, which avoided confronting Trump on controversial issues, AMLO mixed specific with general objectives. Much of what he touted in his campaign is contained in the communiqué.

peter goodman


Business dynamism is down

Jul 27, 2018

Commentary: Business dynamism, a key feature of capitalism, refers to process of new firms arising, dyeing, expanding, and contracting, and is a key driver aggregate productivity growth. But there is growing evidence the dynamism is on the decline with all the implications of this for economic growth.

Dynamism increases productivity through a process of creative destruction. Lethargic, elderly businesses are replaced by more innovative firms. Industries rise and fall in response to these innovations. In this way, resources are re-allocated from low to high productivity activities. Buggy whips are gone, replaced by automobiles; landlines are replaced by smart phones.

We Have To Pay For Trump's Ignorant Use Of Tariffs?

Jul 26, 2018

Commentary: So, Trump wants to offer $12 billion of our tax dollars to farmers to offset a trade war that he started. Has he offered training money for people with few marketable skills? Has he protected access to health care for those people with preexisting conditions? The answer is no. So why is he offering subsidies to well-off Midwest farmers that already have many government handouts?

Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

Commentary: New Mexico Congressman and candidate for Governor Steve Pearce today hailed Congressional passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The legislation compliments and enhances Pearce’s apprenticeship plan for New Mexico. He released the following statement:

“There are few greater rewards in life than the ability to find meaningful work to provide for yourself and your family. I am proud, at both the federal and state level, to support every effort to give students and adults the technical training to find such work.

Commentary: Today, the Trump administration failed to meet yet another court-ordered reunification deadline today to reunite more than 1,500 children who were separated from their parents. DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:

 

“The unconscionable cruelty continues. Once again, the Trump administration has defied a court order and failed to reunite children with their parents after heartlessly tearing them apart. When history is written, Donald Trump’s treatment of immigrant families will be remembered as one of our nation’s darkest hours.

 

“All children must be reunited with their parents immediately. Democrats believe that diversity and compassion are our nation’s greatest strengths. We believe in fixing our immigration system, not uprooting lives and shattering families. If Republicans truly cared about these families and American values, they would help Democrats end Trump's humanitarian crisis by passing a bipartisan solution that actually protects children."

  Commentary: The Trump and Republican economic agenda has increased the gap between CEOs and everyone else. CEO have benefitted with tens of billions of dollars, while workers’ wages have not increased. See for yourself:

CEOs of the U.S.’s biggest corporations took home $10 billion last year.

Judge demands more education spending, what’s next?

Jul 24, 2018
U.S. Census Bureau / via Rio Grande Foundation

Commentary: Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that New Mexico’s K-12 funding is “inadequate.” I read the 75 page decision and there is not a great deal of new information or especially interesting reasoning, but I did learn that “there are four states, including New Mexico, that require that the education be adequate or sufficient.” However, three states require that the education be high quality, and nine states require that it be suitable.

Obviously this is the kind of “positive right” that conservatives and libertarians often decry as education is something that demands money be extracted from one group and allocated to another group.

What is an “adequate” amount? High quality? How about “suitable?” These are terms with very little meaning and they invite judges like Singleton to legislate from the bench.

New Mexico Joins Brief To Protect Dreamers And Preserve DACA

Jul 24, 2018
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Commentary: Attorney General Hector Balderas joined a coalition of 20 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief seeking to protect Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees. The brief was filed in Texas v. United States, a case being heard in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in which certain states are challenging the lawfulness of the DACA program.

“I will continue to fight President Trump’s attacks on our Dreamers – future military, law enforcement, doctors and first responders,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “Rescinding DACA wouldn’t just devastate the lives of the grantees who rely on the program; it would also harm public safety, national security, research institutions and our economy.”

Commentary: Last night, the Las Cruces City Council opposed a controversial proposed high-level radioactive waste site and the transportation of this dangerous waste through the Southwest region. Similar resolutions have been passed in the cities of Albuquerque, Lake Arthur and Jal, as well as Bernalillo County. In addition, the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association passed a resolution in June, signaling growing opposition to transporting and burying the nation’s most deadly nuclear reactor waste.

Preserving The First Amendment In Las Cruces

Jul 22, 2018

Commentary: In a column four months ago, I wrote that the people running the downtown Farmer’s Market had been “very helpful” with a group I was working with to raise funds for homeless students in the Las Cruces school district.

In the more than 16 years that I have been writing this weekly column, I have never penned a sentence that was as wrong. I confused the people running the market with the woman who was in charge of collecting rent for the walkway leading to the Farmer’s Market. She was not only helpful, but took a real interest in what we were doing.

The owners of Dragonfly Restaurant, where we eventually set up shop after being shooed off the Farmer’s Market, were more than helpful, as were those at the Wal-Mart on Rinconada, where we also had a table.

The people running the Farmer’s Market were the opposite of helpful.

And so, I wasn’t really surprised last week when the market’s inflexible rules crashed headlong into the First Amendment.

Goodman: Republicans Must Challenge Trump

Jul 22, 2018
peter goodman

Commentary: Unless Republicans in Congress challenge Donald Trump’s conduct, Democrats winning back the House might now be a matter of national security.

U.S. intelligence services unanimously say Russia interfered in our 2016 elections and plans the same for 2018. Twelve Russian military officers are under indictment; and the 29-page indictment is incredibly specific on what they did.

Monday, Trump stood beside Vladimir Putin and made clear he believed Putin’s denial of any interference. Remarkably, Trump said he couldn’t “see any reason why” Russia would interfere in our election. A huge outcry (even from Republicans) forced a fatuous cleanup effort, but Trump added that it could actually be others. Trump’s handpicked Director of Intelligence, Dan Coats, commented that the intelligence conclusion is “extremely clear” and that the Russian interference is “persistent,” “pervasive,” and “meant to undermine American democracy.”

Rep. Brian Egolf

  Commentary: District Court Judge Sarah Singleton issued a ruling that the Martinez Administration is failing to provide New Mexico students with a sufficient education and violating the students’ constitutional rights.  State Representatives issued the following statements in response:

“When our children can’t access the high-quality education they need, there are ripple effects across New Mexico,” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe).  “This can be a turning point for New Mexico’s educational system.  When we invest in our children’s success, we will also find it easier to boost economic development and improve public safety.  I am committed to working with our next Governor to forge a new path, where every child in New Mexico has access to a great education, regardless of zip code.”

Stephanie Ly-AFT NM President / aft photo

Commentary: Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT New Mexico President Stephanie Ly on the New Mexico court ruling that the state is failing to adequately fund its public schools:

AFT President Randi Weingarten says: “For too long, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and her administration have abandoned their responsibility to kids and public schools. This ruling confirms what parents and educators know—that New Mexico children are deprived of the essential resources, including qualified teachers and support staff, they need. This deprivation is especially severe for those at risk and in need of additional supports—English language learners, Native American students and those in poverty. The ruling also calls out the governor’s obsession with testing over teaching.

  Commentary: A state court ruled today that New Mexico’s education system violates the state constitution because it fails to provide students a sufficient public education.

 

AG Balderas urges FDA to ban Flavored Tobacco

Jul 20, 2018
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Commentary:  Albuquerque, NM — Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas joined a bipartisan coalition of nine Attorneys General in urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban flavored tobacco products. In March, the FDA began soliciting information related to the role that flavors play in the use of tobacco products. As part of its rule-making process, the FDA is seeking comments, data, research, and other results regarding flavored tobacco and its impact on certain populations. The Attorneys General are urging a complete ban of flavors in all tobacco products

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