A legislative tradition is a speech by each member of our congressional delegation to a joint gathering of the two houses.
The exercise is useful. It puts the people self-selected to live on airplanes flying between New Mexico and Washington, D.C., in front of a bipartisan political audience. A chance exists of something useful or revealing.
From Albuquerque Rep. Michelle Luján Grisham, a Democrat, on Feb. 17 came the charge, “It’s time you declare a war on poverty in New Mexico.” The comment was in an Albuquerque Journal story.
The sentiments are noble. Questions arise, however. (I can hear the liberal knives sharpening. Gasp! Question a principle of pious liberalism?)
It’s not that Luján Grisham is wrong. It would be nice to eliminate poverty. The trouble is that such words are easy to say and tough, if not impossible, to execute. This would be a state level war, I suppose.
To talk of solving a social problem such as poverty, Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson once observed, is itself a problem. “‘Solution’ implies a perfect resolution, but many social problems do not admit to that.” Poverty is one of the “conditions with which we have to struggle, for better or worse.”