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By Brendyn Toersbijns
One of the most important, yet underreported issues in New Mexico is our State's poor workforce participation rate. Currently, New Mexico has plenty of jobs, yet too many New Mexicans remain outside the workforce. Workforce participation in New Mexico first dipped during the global recession of 2008-2009 but it took another big dip during the COVID 19 pandemic and unlike most of our neighboring states, it has not recovered.
Our Governor's strict COVID lockdowns played a role in pushing New Mexico's workforce participation rate downward. In January of 2020 the workforce participation rate in New Mexico was 58.7%. That rate dropped to just 54.4% by April. Just over two years later the workforce participation rate still sits nearly 2% below where it was before the pandemic at 56.9%.
According to one report, "The Department [of Workforce Solutions] has experienced an increase in the number of unemployed who are receiving benefits without following through on their job searching requirements." The Department was flooded with new accounts and hasn't been able to properly enforce these requirements. In addition to the overwhelming number of recipients, the additional funds meant to alleviate damage caused by the pandemic have created a reverse incentive for reluctant workers.
You may have heard that the CDC changed their COVID guidance on Thursday August 11th. They have dropped any distinction between how the unvaccinated and vaccinated should be treated in their newest guidance. Here is a snapshot of the CDC's updates (copied from Children's Health Defense): "Here are the biggest changes to the CDC's guidance:
- Unvaccinated people now have the same guidance as vaccinated people.
- Those who are exposed to the virus are no longer required to quarantine regardless of vaccination status.
- Students may stay in class even if they've been exposed to COVID-19.
- Six-foot social distancing is no longer recommended.
- Contact tracing and routine surveillance testing of symptomatic people are no longer recommended in most settings."
This CDC guidance change is long overdue.
They had ample evidence over a year ago that COVID-19 vaccines would not prevent either catching or transmitting of the illness.
On January 6, 2021 . . .
* Gasoline prices averaged $1.93 – $2.12 per gallon
* Inflation was approximately zero
* Americans were not facing critical shortages
* America's economy was at its strongest in 50 years – despite immoral "Covid" lockdowns
* America's southern border was not in crisis with 7,000 illegal-alien crossings daily
* The Taliban was not armed with $85,000,000,000 in abandoned U.S.-military weaponry
* Stock values were averaging record highs
By Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences)
Back in 2018, a state district judge issued an historic decision identifying the long-time shortcomings and faults of New Mexico's Public Education System. Judge Sarah Singleton described in great detail how our Native American, English learners, disabled, and economically disadvantaged students were not receiving the education they were promised by our state constitution. In turn, she demanded state policymakers fix the problem.
Since then, we have seen the governor declare an educational "moonshot," a billion-dollar increase in K-12 education spending and implemented the progressive theology of equity, inclusion, and diversity to help these at-risk students. Our governor then shut down our public schools for more than a year and mandated remote learning for which these same at-risk students would likely have less access to computers and Internet service than other students.
What results has this education "Hail Mary" created? Students across all grades and backgrounds are falling farther behind compared to their peers in other states, schools are seeing more students with behavioral health problems and higher rates of absenteeism, and NM's schools are still ranked 50th in the nation. There is also growing recognition among parents that the Department of Public Education (PED) is more concerned with promoting political agendas than ensuring kids can read, write, and do math, a travesty by any measure.
Back in May, when I sat at lunch, I heard somebody ask this question "Why are food prices so high?" So, here I attempt to answer it.
OIL and GAS
On his first day in office Biden canceled by executive order the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which was to run from Alberta, Canada to Steel City, Nebraska. Twenty-one states sued him for overstepping congressional and state authority. Of course, nothing happened because the citizens don't count and can't sue big government. Biden's administration wanted the country to "go green" and eliminate the dirty oil and gas industry. When Trump left office, the US exported oil and gas and had reached energy independence.
Gas prices in January 2019 - $2.23.
January 2020- $2. 57
January 2021 - $2.24
January 2022- $3.28
May 2022- $4.18-4.40 some cities
May 2022- $4.59 in Silver City, New Mexico
May 2022 $5.53 - $6. In California the highest ever, 15 months into the Biden administration.Price for heating oil including propane has increased for homes and industry. Rising fuel costs have crippled the airline industry. Industry, manufacturers, farmers, truckers, homeowners and every day citizens bear the brunt of this p
Democrats Should Adjust Priorities to Support the Needs of Working-Class Americans and Avoid Progressive Priorities Like Electric Vehicle (EV) Investments
WASHINGTON, DC — As gas prices and inflation batter the American people, Centrist Democrats of America (CDA) released a survey of New Mexican's attitudes towards electric vehicles. The new poll, which surveyed 600 New Mexicans, highlights where Democrats should focus their priorities to better support working American families. Though 94% of respondents are either "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about the high costs of gas and oil, only 5% say they are "very likely" to purchase an EV in the next two-to-three years.
In fact, when asked how Congress should prioritize spending, issues that were most appealing were funding for: "ending childhood hunger," "police training and hiring," "wind and solar energy," "fixing our roads and bridges," "more funding for public transportation" and coming in dead last among respondents was "more funding for increasing the number of electric vehicles."
By Abenicio Baldonado
The Public Education Department (PED) recently unveiled a proposed redesign of New Mexico's high school curriculum. That plan rejected the ideas of including personal finance and civics as high school graduation requirements, and it proposed to shift courses in government, economics, and New Mexico History from requirements to optional electives.
While students should have space to explore different topics, this proposal raises the question: how does a high school student develop interest in a subject without being exposed to it?
According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal ("New Graduation Conditions Mulled," 6/16/22), the proposed changes were "developed with the help of working groups made up of around a quarter of PED staff across different bureaus." While expert input is helpful, the PED should also involve students, parents, and teachers prior to rolling out recommendations.
By Paul Gessing
New Mexico is always ranked among the "poor" states in the United States. But, as anyone who lives here or has taken stock of New Mexico's abundant natural and cultural resources can tell you, we have no business being "poor."
Sadly, much of our poverty is self-inflicted. It is the obvious result of bad public policy. While there are all manner of bad tax and regulatory policies that often wind up being "in the weeds," one of New Mexico's fundamental problems is the result of politicians' misguided belief that the path to success involves more government spending or another big government project.
The Rio Grande Foundation has long had its concerns about two Richardson-era projects of this kind: the Rail Runner and Spaceport. Starting with the Rail Runner, the latest ridership data just came out and, over the past year the train saw 319,635 riders board the train. The train was fully operational throughout the last 12 months which included a few months of fares having been discounted to $2.50/day.