State economy not flying high
That wild and crazy Richard Branson says New Mexico’s space future will roar into reality on Christmas Day when he will blast into orbit – wheee! — himself and others who coughed up a couple of hundred thousand bucks. Rich promises a soft landing.
This deadline will pass as others have, of course. However, there are significant developments at the New Mexico Spaceport. Just weeks ago Space Exploratory Technologies Corp. announced it will set up shop at Spaceport America. The company will be flight testing its rocket that will lift off to space and return without burning up on re-entry. That has to be reassuring to space ride ticket holders.
New Mexico’s space possibilities focus attention on the changing nature of our state’s economy. Who would have thought even a couple of decades ago we would be saying hello to exotic new ventures while saying goodbye to much of the bedrock American-icon industry of agriculture which is drying up in our parched state?
If you believe the likes of Joe Monahan who is center stage as an accomplished political blogger but whose key strokes click to the beat of a Democratic drummer, New Mexico’s economy is heading to hell in a hand basket.
It is fair game to blame a lagging economy on the party in power and, certainly, political policy has an effect on economic activity. Just how much is anyone’s guess. The gears of the economic engine grind slowly and many of its contributing factors don’t care who is running the government.
Although many of our political leaders would have their constituents believe they have much in common with God, I’ve not met any who could actually produce rain or, for that matter, bring factories to small New Mexico towns.
Ask the thousands of out of work New Mexicans desperately prowling recent job fairs and they will tell you, with spot on accuracy, it is tough going for many in our state. Is there hope for the future? Maybe.
Our state’s lagging economy may have its worst days behind it, according to Lee Reynis, director of the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. “I can see a lot of life that I haven’t seen for a while. It is encouraging,” she told the Albuquerque Journal.
We hope she is right. Water has to be on the top five list of any editor’s compelling New Mexico stories as it relates to our economy and lifestyle. Whether you are a farmer deprived of his crop, a fireman nervously scanning the horizon for puffs of smoke, a motel owner who beckons flatlanders to her mountain community, or a homeowner who enjoyed now forbidden routine gardening, the lack of water is crippling on many levels.
Our economy, too, depends largely on strong extractive industries — oil and gas, potash, copper, and perhaps a resurgence of Grants uranium on the horizon. The most lucrative extractive of all is the federal government. We extract tons of dollars from Washington, way, way more than our taxes pump into the pipeline.
There is a serious decline in that resource. The loss of heavy hitting Sens. Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman hurt. Add to that the introduction of idiot orphan child Sammy Sequestration, and we could be in a heap of hurt. The rookie delegation is scrambling to cover, and even Tea Party darling Steve Pearce is warming up to the idea of federal spending.
I’m at odds. Wait around for the uptick or head for higher ground? Heather Wilson is leaving us to become president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Perhaps she would take me on as a news release writer. I’ve always liked Heather.
Ned Cantwell – firstname.lastname@example.org – is likely to stay and there’s not much we can do about it.