Friday, September 16, 2016

Wrapping The Week with The Facebook Frenzy, KAFB Jobs And DA Doings 

Joe Monahan
The Facebook frenzy will soon fade in New Mexico, its meager addition of several dozen jobs barely a blip and the fantasy that the data center in Los Lunas is the start of the next big thing for the state economy will be crushed. It's no fun saying it, but as Uncle Walter used to tell us, "That's the way it is." From the NYT:

. . . As technology giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft race to build networks of unprecedented size to provide services over the Internet, a technology trend known as cloud computing. Local people, along with many economists and officials, often think these data centers are a key to an industrial revival. But the reality is less impressive.

And from Iowa where data centers seem as plentiful as the corn fields, the true story of data center development:

. . .Iowa data centers combined have or will spend upwards of $8 billion developing their facilities, and they will employ 733 jobholders when all is said and done sometime in 2022. That’s a goodly number of jobs, but the cost per job in local and state. . . tax collections is immense. And just to make clear the level of tech job that is being created, that overall sector in Iowa paid annual wages and salaries per job of $56,947 in 2015 — that’s probably more, by the way, than what many data center workers in Iowa make. The U.S. average in that broad sector was $98,616. A difference that, I assure you, has nothing to do with Iowa’s lower cost of living.

Iowa’s heavily subsidized and sought-after data centers provide so-so pay to a comparative handful of mid-tech workers. The Iowa economy hardly notices the growth, the state subsidies never gets paid back in the form of net new state tax collections, and when all is said and done, the flow of benefits is decidedly one-sided — out of Iowa, that is. I’m quite sure Microsoft, Google, and Facebook shareholders are quite happy with the arrangement.

Sorry to be the one to take the punch bowl away from the euphoric politicos and the economic planners, but it's time to sober them up. These data centers are all over the place, akin to electrical transformers. They are not the forerunner of a high-tech economy.


We reported this week on the news of 327 layoffs by Lockheed Martin at Kirtland Air Force Base. That blow came on the same day as Facebook announced it was building a data center in Los Lunas. That news is not quite as bad as thought at first blush. Officials say "most" of those workers will be hired by a new contractor. However, even if they take on 70 percent of those getting the axe, that's still about 100 lost high-paying jobs. We don't think Facebook will be hiring any of them.


All the candidates for Election '16 statewide are official now and listed by the Secretary of State.

BernCo Dem District Attorney candidate Raul Torrez is already celebrating victory. His lone GOP opponent withdrew earlier this year and the R's did not replace him.

Many of you have wondered just what billionaire George Soros was up to in the primary election when  the liberal activist pumped over $100,000 into a SuperPAC on behalf of Torrez. Here's the answer:

The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district attorney campaigns in six states over the past year - a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors."

- "His money has supported African-American and Hispanic candidates for these powerful local roles, all of whom ran on platforms sharing major goals of Soros', like reducing racial disparities in sentencing and directing some drug offenders to diversion programs instead of to trial. It is by far the most tangible action in a progressive push to find, prepare and finance criminal justice reform-oriented candidates for jobs that have been held by long-time incumbents and serve as pipelines to the federal courts - and it has inspired fury among opponents angry about the outside influence in local elections." 

While the involvement of Soros in DA races may have "sparked fury" elsewhere, it has been greeted with a yawn here. Of course, if Torrez ever gets the idea of seeking higher office the R's could get plenty furious over his indirect Soros connection.

That's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by.

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