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Today's Opinions

  • Editorial Roundup: Hartnett has terrible environmental record

    The Dallas Morning News

  • Political, market solutions needed to fix health care

    Martin Hickey has been around the quadrangle in healthcare, working in public institutions (Indian Health Service and the VA) and private.
    He’s best known here as former CEO of Lovelace Health Systems, although he worked outside the state for three other companies.
    Now he runs New Mexico Health Connections, a nonprofit health insurance cooperative founded in response to the Affordable Care Act.
    In a talk before New Mexico Press Women last week, Hickey was frank about doctors, hospitals, and the healthcare system.
    “Money has rained down on top of it,” he said, referring to healthcare, and yet outcomes are worse than cheaper systems in other industrial nations. We don’t have real competition between doctors or hospitals, and hospitals are money machines.
    A physician, Hickey said he took his last exam in 1981, but he can still hang out a shingle anywhere. You may like your doctor, but you really don’t know how skilled he or she is because they’re never measured.
    Some healthcare organizations have gotten better at measuring doctors, but the only people who know the results are other doctors, so “you have physicians working with other physicians, and most of the high-cost doctors will get better or leave.” Still, he thinks all doctors should undergo a yearly simulator test.

  • Democracy, money at stake for the state in 2020 census

    Note: This column was first published in the New Mexico Political Report, which can be found at NMPoliticalReport.com.

    Pop quiz.
    Which of the following statements are true?

    -The census is constitutionally required in order to count every person in the U.S.
    -The census determines how much federal money—more than $6 billion—flows into New Mexico’s economy every year.
    -New Mexicans are more at risk of not being counted by the census than are people in most every other state.
    -The census is in jeopardy—and that puts New Mexicans in jeopardy.

  • It’s hard to keep up with all the gross receipts laws

    New Mexico’s gross receipts tax is admittedly confusing, but the state still expects businesses to follow the law and pay what they owe from the sale of property or services.
    In a nutshell, GRT is a substitute for the traditional sales tax that shoppers in other states pay when they make a purchase. In New Mexico, the seller pays the tax on the sales price of a product or service even if the seller doesn’t collect it from the buyer — and even if the buyer lives out of state.
    GRT was intended to widen the tax base by taxing more items at a lower rate than would be typical in states with a sales tax. Over the years, however, cities and counties have responded to reductions in local revenues caused by state-allowed exemptions and deductions by loading on their own assessments.
    The combined tax rate in some towns is now — or is about to go over — 9 percent. Until lawmakers agree on an alternative system, businesses should know how to comply with the status quo.
    GRT applies to the gross receipts of businesses or people who sell property, perform services, lease or license a property or franchise in New Mexico, and sell certain services delivered outside New Mexico when the resulting product is initially used here.

  • Letter: So many people put themselves on the line

    Dear Editor,

  • Letter: Iran deal shouldn’t be scrapped

    Dear Editor,
    This is in response to the Oct. 15 Los Alamos Monitor article Trump won’t pull out of ‘worst’ Iran nuclear deal – for now. this was written by Matthew Lee, AP Diplomatic Writer.
    On Oct. 13, President Trump gave a speech stating Iran was not following the Nuclear Deal negotiated and signed by the P5+1 in 2015. All other parties and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have stated often that Iran is living up to its actions under the agreement.
    Trump’s action is dangerous and ‘against the national security interests of the USA.’
    The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, aka, the Iran nuclear deal) is excellent; it is far better and more extensive than I ever expected.
    If followed by all parties, it blocks all avenues for Iran to develop nuclear explosives. To be sure, it is vehemently opposed by Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and some Republicans in Congress.
    I am a physicist who worked in nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation for 38 years at LANL. The majority of my efforts were for and with the IAEA that has the responsibility of inspecting the nuclear facilities of states signatory to the Treaty on NonProliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

  • Recent shooting proves dangers to store employees

    At a Circle K convenience store, the clerk shot a suspected armed robber.
    We expect to read the opposite story. Convenience stores can be dangerous places, especially for the people who work in them.
    This happened a few weeks ago in Albuquerque in mid-afternoon. The suspect was wounded and is expected to recover; the clerk was not charged with any crime.
    What was that clerk doing packing a gun?
    The incident brought to mind a court case from 20 years ago in which Circle K clerk Paul Sedillo followed a shoplifter into the parking lot and was shot and killed.
    The Eldridge case (named for the mother of Sedillo’s daughter) raised the question of whether Circle K might be civilly liable outside of workers’ compensation, whether the company was so greatly “at fault” that it might violate the “no fault” principle basic to the workers’ comp philosophy.
    It was a hot issue in the workers’ comp legal community, but the case was settled out of court so the question was not resolved.
    Conventional wisdom is that employees should never be instructed to pursue armed robbers or shoplifters. Let them take the money and go. I heard that message in dozens of safety seminars and passed it on to small business owners in my own seminars.

  • Weinstein case shows power corrupts for so many people

    Power corrupts. Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer, give any one person – or government agency – too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.
    We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.
    A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.
    Abuse of power — and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible — works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.