Two-term U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich has come out in a rare moment of honesty to declare that New Mexican children “deserve a future as bright as they are.”
Unfortunately for New Mexico students, they rank 49th in education, meaning that their “bright” future is depressingly dull, and the senior senator’s plans to address “rampant poverty” among New Mexico children proves that he believes they deserve exactly nothing.
Citing an analysis from the 2021 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book that “116,000 children are living in poverty” and 151,000 have parents who “lack secure employment,” Heinrich put forth several several high-dollar spending proposals that have absolutely nothing to do with poverty.
Heinrich’s four-pronged approach includes spending $127 million more per year on “ early education,” $100 million on Internet, $6 billion a year (to all states) on social services to encourage students to finish college, and the continuation of a program already on the books that increased the Child Tax Credit.
Dumping more money into a failing school system will no more solve childhood poverty than lowering the age of senior citizen breakfast discounts at Denny’s, and expanding Internet access to low-skill workers who make more money on unemployment and welfare is unlikely to move the poverty needle.
As for “increasing college access,” it’s unclear if Heinrich believes six-year-olds go to college or if this is some kind of long-term plan to accomplish what the existing lottery scholarship has failed to do already. College is essentially free in New Mexico, and every year the state leaves tons of money on the table because it’s the land of mañana, college is all hard, and besides, it’s not like mom’s going to kick you out like ever.
As for the Child Tax Credit, the 2021 legislation to increase the allotment by 30% due to COVID may be a factor in elevating New Mexico children’s overall wellbeing rank from 50th nationally to 49th (God Bless You, Mississippi), but no reasonable person could claim that tax credits solve rampant poverty. (To pay taxes you have to have a job, the lack of one being the №1 cause of poverty.)
“New Mexico’s children deserve a future as bright as they are,” Heinrich said in a statement on his website.
Statistically, New Mexico’s children are not bright, and the senator’s proposals to spend taxpayer money on things that have nothing to do with employment, job training, or welfare reform proves that he means exactly what he says: New Mexico’s children deserve a future as bright as they aren’t.