New Mexico’s economic freedom needs boost

Freedom New Mexico

Are you someone who values freedom above all else, including health,
safety and welfare? If so, New Mexico has a ways to go to reach the top
tier of states.

A new study released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason
University, the first comprehensive ranking of “economic and personal
freedom in the American states,” ranks New Mexico as the 36th best
state in which to live.

New Hampshire is No. 1. It goes by the state motto “Live Free or
Die” and is home to the Free State Project in which 20,000 people have
committed to moving to fight for low taxes and minimal regulation.

The study found the least free state in which to live is New York.

Other findings show:

• New Mexico fares well when it comes to individual freedoms — third
behind only Alaska and Maine — because, among other things, gun control
is light, private school regulation is light, and only 12 percent of
arrests are for victimless crimes.

• But only seven states have less economic freedom. “New Mexico is
the laggard of the Mountain West. Spending and taxes are high, and a
quarter of the state’s workforce is on state or local government
payrolls (federal workers add even more to that percentage).”

Our neighbors in Texas fared much better — fifth overall in the
freedom ranking; seventh in economic freedom and fifth in personal
freedom.

A 2008 study by the Pacific Research Institute, based in San
Francisco, found — surprise! — that states with high economic freedom
are growing substantially faster than economically oppressed states.

Of course people flee oppression and seek freedom. They have done so throughout time.

Slick politicians can fool the masses, offering government gifts in
a cloak of freedom, but ultimately the human soul yearns to be free
from undue taxation and control.

Genuine freedom is priceless. It’s something money cannot buy.

Our governments can budget millions of taxpayer dollars for
“economic development,” paying businesses to set up shop in town. But
stealing from some citizens and giving that money to others is not
freedom.

We should strive to be known as the state where one can move with a
business or idea and be left alone to thrive. That would enable us to
attract the can-do, confident companies and entrepreneurs that value
opportunity more than handouts and strings from cities and states.

Freedom isn’t something government gives us. It’s something we may take when government gets out of the way.