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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spin Check: Who Lost Google? Is Anyone Asking? Plus: More On The Tuesday Econ Beat; Export Numbers Debunked, Oil Price Check And Animosity Over Animas 

You know the economic spin is out of control when the administration claims "New Mexico taxpayers are ahead" now that one of the most valuable companies on the planet has decided to get out of here. The bizarre statement came in reaction to Google repaying the state $1 million in economic development funds as it pulled its Titan Aerospace firm out of Moriarty. True, the state did recoup its money but it failed abysmally in its effort to keep Google in the state. While the Guv and administration spinners pat themselves on the back, they ought to be kicking one another in their posteriors. . .

But what else is new? We have seen Intel drift away and become a shadow of its former self without a peep from the state econ director who used to work for the semiconductor company's Rio Rancho plant. Reader Jason Lewis vents the exasperation that is spreading over the state's inability to get it right:

So what happened that caused Google to exit stage left? And how can the taxpayers be “ahead” when one of the most innovative, well-known and well liked companies decides to to say adios! to the Land of Enchantment? I’d really like to know who screwed this up.

Then there are those intermittent and mysterious announcements from Santa Fe that we are experiencing "record breaking exports" from NM. That would be nice but it turns out the spin on this one is also over the top. Dr. Chris Erickson of NMSU, a member of our list of "No BS Economists," does the fact check:

This is more of an issue of things being warehoused and resorted and reclassified [than] where they were originated.

In other words, a jumble of numbers that don't reflect economic reality on the ground. But that's what seems to happen when you breathe the rarefied air of the City Different. (Remember, those tourist numbers they put out?)

PRICE CHECK

Let's do a quick oil price check since it is so important to the tax revenue generated for the state's budget. It appears that there is more than a slight chance that the bean counters are going to miss in their projection that oil for the current budget year will average $56 a barrel. A reader writes:

Goldman Sachs released a report on the state of the oil market that predicts prices will remain around $45 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate.

For each dollar the price stays below the $56 mark, the state says revenue slides about $6 million. It's hanging at around the $45 level today.

And there you have the real deal econ news.

ANIMOSITY OVER ANIMAS

Now to the Colorado mine spill that's polluted the Animas River in the Four Corners. Reader Larry writes:

Mr. Monahan, I have read many criticisms this weekend of the EPA over the Animas River mine spill, including from Governor Martinez. The EPA only accidentally popped the cork on the Gold King mine tunnel above Silverton Colorado but I know that there is much blame to be spread around for this fiasco. The correct attitude at this point should be to stop the finger-pointing and get this ongoing problem under control. Also, many residents of Silverton have resisted the designation of this area as a Super Fund clean-up site which would have headed this event off

The following links are to an unbelievably pertinent series the Durango Herald published in August of 2013. The articles provide some good background information. Bill Simon is quoted frequently. He has been very involved in the mine remediation problems around Silverton for decades. The articles are here, here and here.

Good stuff, Larry. Thanks.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Is there any political satire more humorous than the Borowitz report? Here's a sample that should tickle your ribs:

Tempers flared in the aftermath of last Thursday night’s Republican debate, as rival candidates accused the billionaire Donald Trump of failing to back up his misogynist slurs with concrete and workable anti-woman proposals. Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker led the charge, as both of them asserted that Trump’s sexist rhetoric paled in comparison with their own strong records of opposition to women’s rights. “As governor of Florida, I defunded Planned Parenthood,” Bush said. “Donald Trump is good at creating misogynist sound bites, but I’ve actually rolled up my sleeves and gotten things done.” 

Governor Walker piled on, touting his own anti-woman achievements during his time in office. “In Wisconsin, I used my power as governor to repeal a law supporting equal pay for women,” he said. “No offense to Mr. Trump, but nothing on his résumé compares with that.” The attacks by Trump’s rivals seemed to sting the hotheaded billionaire, who hit back hard. “When it comes to coming up with solid anti-woman solutions, I do not intend to be lectured by Jeb Bush and Scott Walker,” he said, noting that the wall he intends to build on the border with Mexico would keep out many women.

One thing about politics: You can never say you've seen it all.

And this is. . .

The home of New Mexico politics.

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