BY TOM WRIGHT
“If you are not a liberal at twenty-five you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at thirty-five, you have no brain.” This is often credited to Winston Churchill. Whoever said it makes a good observation for some of us are ruled by emotions, some by reality. A good balance would be a healthy mix of both. We all need to get out of the echo chambers of our universe to listen and learn from the other side.
It is common thought to assign progressives to the emotion category and conservatives to reality. Realists plod along with facts, tending to build the future on what is, often giving no place to what could be. Emotional dreamers create a perfect world in their mind, but it never becomes reality because it won’t work. Reality is not a part of their thought process. They give to the homeless person on the corner, but never get involved solving the causes of their situation. Such is the basis of the Green New Deal. It is a top down spending approach to implementing progressive ideology.
Progressives and the Green New Deal want poverty eliminated by unfettered government assistance. Reality says jobs eliminate poverty and employment is at an all time high. What’s the problem for progressives? Lack of government control.
Medicare for all sounds really great, until you count the cost. Higher fuel tax sounds like a good way to fund renewable energy initiatives, but the liberal yellowjackets rebellion in France are showing us the reality of that idea. They can’t afford higher taxes and are in revolt.
The two sides of emotion and reality can no longer draw clear lines between economic, social, and political movements. We are losing our ability to work together against common problems and we can’t even agree on what is a problem. The result is class and political warfare which divides us. The progressive’s agenda exploit the emotional thinkers.
With new officials taking office, change is happening in New Mexico. There is a tendency to spend our 1.2 billion-dollar surplus on campaign promises. But campaign promises are often made to appeal to the emotions of the voter and never consider reality. Spending often becomes partisan patronage, without consideration of the real priorities of New Mexicans.
The promise of $10,000 per year teacher raises won’t improve student scores. Governor Lujan Grisham should consider more reforms in our school districts to raise student proficiency, graduation outcomes and accountability to the students and their parents rather than just catering to the teacher’s union.
Low teacher’s salaries have always been an emotional issue, especially for the teachers, but there must be a balance to education reforms. Student testing and teacher proficiency evaluations should not be ignored.
Our legislature must resist the tendency to increase regulations, grow government, and exhaust our surplus on non-essential programs that will continually return for more funding. Instead, they should use a portion of the surplus to retire one time debts and commit to retaining a reasonable portion of our surplus as a rainy-day fund and avoid the debt crisis we faced when the oil and gas revenues waned.
Our new governor said we can’t afford not to “go big.” Going big means going gone for the surplus. Our newly elected need to restrain their emotions and make capital investments in infrastructure, which means jobs and working toward resolving problems like the deficit in the state employee’s retirement fund.
Raising more revenue to fund every program that sounds good to our emotions means higher taxes which doesn’t appeal to the emotions of taxpayers. Albuquerque voters just defeated additional taxes for school improvements. That is reality. The legislature is considering legalizing recreational marijuana to increase revenues. That sounds good to users and politicians who want added revenue, but what is the reality of the social cost?