.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Today's Opinions

  • Abolish the income tax and IRS

    For some time now we’ve lived with the scourge of civil asset forfeiture, under which the police can seize a person’s property on the mere suspicion it was used in a crime and without having to charge the owner with an offense. Since the authorities have no burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proving innocence falls on the hapless citizen who wishes to recover his property.
    Amazingly, people describe as free a society that features this outrage.
    Now it comes to light that the Internal Revenue Service does something similar. The New York Times reports that the IRS seizes bank accounts of people whose only offense is routinely to make deposits of less than $10,000. If you do this enough times, the IRS may suspect you are trying to avoid the requirement that deposits of $10,000 or more be reported by the bank. The IRS keeps the money, but the depositors need not be charged with a crime.
    You read that right. The government demands notification whenever a bank customer deposits $10,000 or more. If you are merely suspected of avoiding that requirement, it can cost you big time.
    Welcome to the land of the free.

  • letter to the editor 4-5-15

    Solar energy shines for all New Mexicans

    You might wonder who is benefitting from solar PV being installed on homes, businesses, schools and cities in New Mexico? Is it wealthy individuals with lots of spare cash or average New Mexicans?
    Recent studies show that working class New Mexicans benefit in two significant ways — job creation and reduced energy costs.
    Consider that the solar industry added jobs nearly 20 times faster than the national average in 2014.
    Right now, 1,600 New Mexicans make their living in the solar industry. By contrast, the state’s largest utility, PNM, employs 2,100 people. Employment in the solar field has increased 86 percent in the past five years.
    The solar boom in New Mexico is creating good jobs for working class Americans during the worst economic downturn in modern times.
    These are livable wages. Solar installers make an average of $20 to $24 per hour, solar project managers make $50,000-$70,000 and designers $40,000-$70,000.
    Along with these positions, there are also warehouse people, sales people, marketing people, administrative staff and managers — creating a range of opportunities for New Mexicans. Solar jobs are generally more accessible to minorities and to those without advanced degrees.

  • Beware of mutant slogans

    Slogans are framed with a mock aura of coherence. By their style, slogans leave out more truth than they include.
    As a slogan is heard more, its inconsistencies get easier to spot. For example, a variety of well-known slogans show up at every debate over the best type of regulation — federal, state or local.
    The case of fracking is typical. Suppose we hear a proposal to pass regulations at the federal level. We soon hear an industry slogan decrying the folly of regulations designed with the idea that “one-size-fits-all.”
    Surely, the best regulations are tailored to fit the conditions on the ground in each state, so the story goes. It’s only natural.
    Thus begins the long road to setting different regulations for fracking in different states. The work will be greatly slowed by concerns that business will flee states that first adopt rules or adopt strong rules. Eventually, regulations will spread to nearly all states, but the rules will vary widely, depending on who was in charge when a state’s rules were passed. Rules will vary from very detailed to very simple.

  • What did my parents ever do to the Federal Reserve?

    In September 1993, President Bill Clinton reassured his radio audience that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be rewarded with a good life for yourself and a better chance for your children.”
    Picking up that theme over 18 years later, President Barack Obama affirmed that “Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that does the same.” The trouble is neither the government nor the financial system backed by the Federal Reserve rewards people like my parents, who have worked hard and played by the rules their entire lives, only to have their savings wither away.

  • New Mexico exporters grab share of global trade

    Exporting brings new money into an economy and helps businesses grow, and that’s why the New Mexico Economic Development Department wants more New Mexico companies to sell their products and services worldwide. Our message has resonated: 2014 revenue from New Mexico exports increased nearly 40 percent over 2013.
    New Mexico companies brought nearly $4 billion in international money to the state in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division.
    Top exports were computer and electronic goods, fabricated metal products, nonelectrical machinery, food items and transportation equipment.
    More than 1,300 New Mexico companies created more than 12,000 jobs while exporting products or services in 2012 — a recent figure from the International Trade Administration that’s grown since then.
    With about three-fourths of the world’s purchasing power outside the U.S., the state Office of International Trade, or OIT, and our federal partners want to help businesses find global markets and distribution for New Mexico-made products and services.

  • Civil asset forfeiture bill worth signing

    For those New Mexicans who believe in bipartisan government, reaching across the aisle and the political spectrum — there is good news. The New Mexico legislature has just unanimously passed House Bill 560, without a single dissenting vote in either house. HB 560 revises the procedure involved in the forfeiting of citizens’ assets by government agencies, a practice referred to as “asset forfeiture.”  
    Every year, federal and state law enforcement agents seize billions of dollars during traffic stops, simply by alleging the money is connected to some illegal activity. Under federal and New Mexico’s laws, these agencies are entitled to keep most (and sometimes all) of the money and property, even if the property owner is never convicted and, in some cases, never charged with a crime.
    This practice is so pervasive that the Institute for Justice deems it “policing for profit.” This refers to the fact that some law enforcement agencies pursue assets based on their value to their departments’ budgets as opposed to the property owners’ wrongful conduct.

  • Looking for funds in all the wrong places

    Post-legislative session, the chatter is all about friction and gridlock because it requires looking a little harder to see the whole picture.
    In a year like this, when available money evaporated like a water hole in the desert, when uncertainty and tight budgets exacerbated differences, the debates were bound to be sharp.
    Both parties and both chambers spent a lot of time hunting for money, and because there was none in the usual places, the hunt turned to who had money and how they might be parted from it.
    That led to some well intended but labored bills.
    One was House Bill 474, by Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec.
    It attempted to divert money from the Fire Protection Fund, which supports fire departments, and use it for forest and watershed restoration. Forced to choose between fire prevention and fire fighting, legislators deliberated uncomfortably and chose their fire departments.
    HB 236, by Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, and Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, demanded more hard choices.

  • This year’s legislature session unlike others in the past

    Observers knew in the wake of November’s elections that the 2015 legislative session would be unlike any they’d seen in their lifetimes. For the first time in 62 years, the House of Representatives would be under Republican control.
    Despite this shift to the right, New Mexico’s Senate remained under control of Democrats. This is because the entire Senate is up every four years in presidential election years like 2016. The House, on the other hand, is up for election every two years.
    These are not your run-of-the-mill Democrats. Their Majority Leader, Michael Sanchez, is both a trial lawyer and one of the most partisan legislators in the Senate. There are a handful of moderates sprinkled throughout the body, but they rarely vote as a cohesive group or provide a counter-weight to their powerful leader.