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Government, like fire, can be tremendously useful

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Harold Morgan, recently wrote an article about taxes and budget items in New Mexico in which he stated that “the Rio Grande Foundation believes that government is bad.” His statement shows that he does not grasp our organizational philosophy.Our view of government, like that of the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution is that government, like fire, can be tremendously useful when kept in its proper place and role. If we let it grow uncontrollably, however, it will consume our entire property. Morgan asserts but does not specify what government does well outside of the “basics” (outside of a few museums) so answering him on that count is impossible.
He also mixes federal and state/local government. And, while New Mexico receives more from Washington (relative to what it sends there) than any other state in the nation, it is hard to say that New Mexico would not be better off if the federal government were much smaller and in far less debt.
The plain truth is that New Mexico as a state faces a budget shortfall that is more than 5 percent of its annual budget. Washington is in even worse shape and recently printed $600 billion through the politely-named “Quantitative Easing.” Government at all levels does far more than the “basics,” but if we don’t re-assess what we can actually afford to pay government to do, our children and grandchildren will live in a far poorer place than we do.

Paul J. Gessing, president
Rio Grande Foundation