Lamenting Leftism

GOP Offers A Bigger Teat To The Over-Suckled New Mexican

Voters are fleeing the GOP out of disappointment.

The only thing better than a $300 monthly handout that incentivizes continued unemployment is a bribe four times that size.

GOP leaders in the state House wrote a letter to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday asking her to repeal and replace the $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit with a “one-time $1,200 return-to-work bonus.” 

The proposal would incentivize New Mexicans to get a job while helping businesses that are suffering from a shortage of labor.

If this seems like six of one, half a dozen of the other, that’s because it is. One is a “benefit” and the other is a “bonus,” but in both cases the money isn’t theirs, wasn’t earned, and isn’t necessary to solve the problem.

Since late 2020, there was an exodus of voters from the Republican Party, both nationally and in New Mexico. Leftists and the intellectually lazy proffered that this was a response to the January 6th “storming of the capitol,” whereas actual Republican voters explained it as a logical reaction to a spineless party that capitulates to mainstream propaganda and Democrat talking points. 

They didn’t leave the GOP to become Democrats. No one interviewed claimed they were abandoning Conservative values. They left to register as Independents. It was a middle finger to the GOP.

And the NM GOP’s proposal to waste more money on career freeloaders is exactly why so many voters left. 

There’s a saying, 

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” 

A keen reader might notice that nowhere in that pearl of wisdom does it say you should have to bribe a man with another man’s money in order to incentivize him to pick up the damn fishing pole. 

In a world without a taxpayer-funded safety net, a man who doesn’t work doesn’t eat. And a man who doesn’t eat doesn’t survive. 

Callused? Unsympathetic?

Perhaps, but we’re not talking about old women widowed from the war dining on Purina dog food with cardboard in their shoes. We’re talking about able-bodied men who live with their parents and watch TV all day on a couch they didn’t buy and a $9 Netflix subscription they couldn’t afford without unemployment “benefits” paid by people who do work.

The Albuquerque Journal just reported that New Mexico ranks third in national unemployment, at 8.2%, tied with New York, just behind California (8.3%) and Hawaii (9.2%). That’s 34% higher than the national average of 6.1%

Seeking out its single source to explain New Mexico’s ill economic fate, The Journal quoted UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director Michael O’Donnell, who said: 

“It’s not uncommon, at least in recent history, for this state to have a relatively high unemployment rate.” 

The continuation of unemployment payments may be contributing to the problem, he acknowledged — according to the NM GOP, 21 states have already or plan to soon drop the federal unemployment benefits — but low education and an older workforce are also to blame.

In fairness, O’Donnell’s not wrong. New Mexico has an older population and experienced virtually no growth in the last decade. On education we rank last or close to it on almost every metric. 

But walk through Downtown, Old Town, Uptown — any part of town — and you’re bombarded by signs in business windows literally begging for workers. 

If O’Donnell is right, then are New Mexico businesses turning away workers for being too old and under-educated? 

Assuming restaurants aren’t discriminating based on age and requiring cooks to have a bachelor’s degree, age and education aren’t the problem.

Culture is.

This is the dark little secret nobody wants to admit. New Mexico is not called “the land of mañana” for nothing. It’s an earned moniker that local politicians perpetuate by lowering expectations of its residents. 

Republicans used to believe in personal responsibility, hard work, and small government — that the individual left alone would thrive, not only economically but personally, because there is pride and satisfaction in earned independence. It is called freedom, and an entire nation was founded on it.

It can’t be easy being a Republican lawmaker in New Mexico, where Democrats hold majorities in virtually every elected institution and the best Republicans can hope for is to co-sign a bill that isn’t completely counter to their personal or political philosophy. 

But what ever happened to principles?

Why propose $1,200 to people who didn’t earn it when you could propose no money for anyone who doesn’t earn it? The governor isn’t going to agree to give lump-sum payments to get people back to work anyway (if for no other reason than it’s a GOP idea), so why not stand for what’s right and hope that the people most affected by the Democrat leadership’s policies will take notice?

If you have no power anyway, why not stand on principles?

Republicans are the same in New Mexico as they are nationally, strolling alongside as Democrats continue to move the goalposts. 

When Democrats want to ban guns, Republicans offer tighter background checks when they should be staging sit-ins at the capitol to demand a Constitutional Carry law and a bill requiring that every adult citizen be legally obligated to own a gun.

When Democrats want to make college “free,” Republicans acquiesce to more grants and free community college rather than boycotting any budget vote that doesn’t enact school choice, demanding that every college be kicked off public assistance, and requiring a minimum amount of trade school dual credits as a condition of graduating high school.

When Democrats want amnesty for illegal immigrants, Republicans waffle over the DREAM Act and signal support for more worker visas instead of launching a national crusade calling on state lawmakers to draft legislation that heavily sanctions companies caught hiring illegals (a violation of national sovereignty) and immediately deports any unlawful immigrant who enters the criminal justice system.

When Democrats want to pay people to be unemployed, Republicans counter with a slightly different way of throwing taxpayer money at people who don’t deserve it, when they should be campaigning around the state for the legislature to pass a bill not only limiting the duration of unemployment “benefits” but requiring full repayment of the loan within a year.

If you’re in the minority and therefore won’t get what you want anyway, why negotiate toward an unprincipled middle ground? At least when you lose you can say you fought for what’s right.

It’s this willingness to go along with the Democrat agenda that has relegated Republicans to the minority in the first place. You cannot build a coalition when you don’t stand for what you believe.

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