I stand by my state

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By Ned Cantwell

Caller ID immediately identified the ring.

“Might as well put the meatloaf on hold,” I nodded to my bride, who was laying out placemats, “it’s Barney from New Jersey.”

Barney doesn’t call as often as he once did. It is just as well. He likes to gig me about what he perceives as New Mexico’s shortcomings, and it gives me indigestion.

“Well, small world,” Barney opened. “Met a New Mexico guy down at the coffee shop and he was talking about a two-bit columnist out his way. I figured there can’t be two of you.”

“Barney,” I said, “you always know how to prop a fellow up. So what’s going on in your world?”

“I didn’t call to talk about my world,” he said, “but from what this guy was saying at the coffee shop, seems like your world is all screwed up.”

“New Mexico has no more problems than other states,” I protested.

“Really!” he mocked. “Tell us about income distribution.”

I knew right away what Barney was talking about. The Associated Press put out a story that said the gap between New Mexico families with high income and those with low income is growing faster than in most other states.