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Columns

  • Employment law is so 20th century

    The group of small business owners sat around a table talking earnestly about what helps and what hurts their efforts to stay in business and maintain the jobs they have previously created.
    During the current recession, said one gentleman, he did everything he could to avoid layoffs in a construction-related company that had lost much business. He and other principals took no pay for several months. He knew he could not keep everyone on full time at full pay, so he explored alternatives. Could he cut back employees’ hours, keeping everybody but giving everybody some time off? Or just reduce their pay? Or put some employees on a contract rather than employee basis?  

  • Johnson could spark Libertarians

    Shortly after delegates to the May 5 Libertarian Party convention in Las Vegas, Nev., picked Gary Johnson as their 2012 presidential nominee, Atlantic magazine’s Conor Friederdorf characterized the former New Mexico governor as “arguably the strongest candidate they’ve ever run.”
    Admittedly that may not be saying a lot. The best any previous Libertarian presidential candidate has done was in 1980 when Ed Clark won 1.1 percent of the general election vote.
    Nonetheless, Friederdorf may be onto something when he pegs Johnson to do better in the November election than his Libertarian Party predecessors.

  • Things change fast for young professionals

    On Friday, the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine graduated 62 new physicians. One of them was my son Eric.
    The parents were probably seeing, in those black gowns and caps, a much smaller version of the doctor-to-be, riding tricycles, catching bugs, playing sports, dressing up for Halloween.
    We can also assume that these shining stars owed their presence here to the influence of some key people in their lives. In our case it was Miss Wolpert.

  • Insights into history

    When this column reviewed the new majority status among New Mexico Hispanics of those tracing their heritage to Mexico, historian Thomas Chávez provided some insightful comments. See www.capitolreportnm.blogspot.com.
    Chávez’ 2006 history of the state, “New Mexico: Past and Future,” had somehow escaped my “New Mexico” shelf.
    “New Mexico: Past and Future” earns a place on your state literature shelf, if only for the 13-page bibliography with a page listing novels and another for children’s books.
    As history, though, Chávez’s tale more than earns its way. His writing is straightforward. He just tells the tale.

  • Membership offers connections, fulfillment

    Serving on the board of a nonprofit organization can be professionally and personally satisfying, or it can be an exercise in boredom and frustration. Getting the most from board membership requires a good fit between individual and organization, and that requires some research.
    Pros and Cons

  • Analyzing Laffer's Curve

    In 1974, Arthur Laffer, a University of Southern California economist, drew a curve on a cocktail napkin.
    “I have a weakness, like Janis Joplin, for Southern Comfort – but just three times a week,” he told me in 1996, when he was here to speak at a benefit.
    As a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board, Laffer argued that tax rates had risen to the point that they weakened incentives to work, save and invest; as a result, both economic activity and government tax revenues were suffering. Tax cuts, he argued, would spur growth without being inflationary because they would yield higher tax revenues and increased savings to offset the initial drop in the government’s tax take.

  • What to do about social security

     The big lie of the 2012 campaign is that the nation’s entitlement programs need not be changed. The lie comes from the Democrats and is backed by fear mongering — the claim that Republican desire to fix entitlements — Democrats say “destroy Medicare as we know it” — would be awful rather than necessary.
    The entitlement programs are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
    The PBS NewsHour snagged Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, a “social justice” organization, for an April 23 appearance. Altman said Social Security is “generally in good shape.” Upon hearing this, I almost rolled off the couch.

  • Tin soldiers and pepper spray

     The month of May brings with it yet another bevy of schedules, bills, places to go, things to see, people to do, and of course some fun holidays.  The first major holiday of the month is Cinco de Mayo.
     Holidays commemorate events, a time to remember, to reflect, to eat enchiladas.
     Cinco de Mayo is often confused as being Mexico’s Independence Day.  Last year (on Friday Sept.16), I mentioned to a student that “tomorrow is Mexico’s Independence Day.”, to which the student replied, “Really?  It’s Cinco de Mayo?”
     You’ve really got to be careful about not eating tainted meat in those enchiladas.

  • Following the money

    SANTA FE — With the filing of first-quarter campaign fundraising results now available, it appears there will be only one major primary election battle this year. The Democratic race in the Albuquerque-area 1st Congressional District features three candidates raising big money.
    Leading the pack is Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, with a campaign war chest of $345,000 to get her through the last two months of her campaign. She was the last to get into the race, so had been playing catch up until April 1.

  • How to avoid being a bad roommate

     For many people, having roommates is a natural transition between leaving their parent’s house and buying their own home. It can be a great way to trim expenses and save for the future. But if you’re not careful, cohabitating can also devolve into constant bickering over finances and dirty dishes.
    Roommate tensions are not limited to strangers. When cash-strapped young adults return to the nest, or older parents move in with grown kids for financial or caregiver assistance, long-suppressed family grievances can erupt if you’re not careful.