Response To Paul Gessing’s Commentary On Kids Count Report

Los Alamos

I am appalled that Paul Gessing’s group, Rio Grande Foundation, can call itself an independent, non-partisan, or educational organization, though I’m sure it IS tax-exempt. It should lose that status for propagating such misinformation.

Gessing, in his letter, excoriates our governor’s policies that kept many of our children and adults ALIVE during Covid. Did it keep them all alive? No. Policies that Republicans  pushed through are responsible for many of those deaths.

We have just come through a world pandemic, and he politicizes some lower standardized test scores in New Mexico, ignoring what the heroic teachers, parents and students just went through, and the toll it took on them—not only the impossible scheduling, but the terror of seeing their classmates and fellow workers die! That’s supposed to make them better readers and mathematicians?

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, after testing hundreds of thousands of 4th and 8th graders for the first time since Covid, “Not a single state saw a notable improvement in their average test scores with some simply treading water at best.” Well, what do you expect!

Gessing asked, “Will the kids, especially those from poor families, be able to recover?” They are recovering from a pandemic that killed a million of their countrymen. Some who were not able to distance, due to poverty living conditions, including lack of running water and lack of access to medical resources, won’t recover. They died. And, some can only hope to recover from “trickle-down economics” that have stripped the country of its middle class and created a booming class of billionaires ever since Ronald Reagan sold it to the gullible and the greedy. But, Gessing calls for more of the same.

According to New Mexico in Depth, HALF of the Covid deaths in New Mexico, as of May 11, 2020, were Native Americans.

The Indian Health Service (IHS)—an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [not a state agency]—provides care to over 2.2 million Native Americans across the country. Although IHS fulfills treaty responsibilities to provide health care for members of more than 560 recognized tribes, Congress has consistently underfunded the agency, forcing hospital administrators to limit the services offered. As a result, tribal members have a different health care reality than many other U.S. citizens. For example, to match the level of care provided to federal prisoners, funding would have to nearly double, according to an analysis by the National Congress of American Indians. Funding would need to be even higher to match the benefits guaranteed by programs such as Medicaid. 

Do you think the Republican-led suppression of the right to vote on American Indian Reservations may make it easier for them to obtain funding for health care?

Do you think not taxing our billionaires to the extent that they are able to compete with each other in space races has helped our poor people in New Mexico and nation-wide? Where is the trickle-down wealth this was supposed to bring? But, Gessing calls for more of the same.

Big oil doubled its profits last year, over the year before. Altogether, the five Big Oil companies reported combined profits of $196.3billion last year, more than the economic output of most countries.

Flush with cash, the energy giants have used their bumper earnings to reward shareholders with higher dividends and share buybacks. Not only that, the International Monetary Fund estimates that US Oil and Gas receive $646 billion in subsidies every year.

But, it’s easier to blame the governor.