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Richardson’s Economic Abilities

Ever since I read Governor Bill Richardson’s withdrawal statement, something has been gnawing at me. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was, but now I think I’ve isolated the culprit. It’s this statement by Governor Richardson (subscription):

“As you might expect, I am disappointed in this turn of events. There were a lot of ways in which I thought I could help the country in this time of financial crisis. Sometimes your own dreams and plans must take a back seat to what is best for the nation.

There are three sentences in the selection above, and only one of them has an iota of truth. The part about being disappointed about the turn of events. That’s completely believable. I’d be willing to believe that anyone who has had to retain legal counsel on the chance that they will be brought before a grand jury would be “disappointed in the turn of events.”

But, the second and third sentences are classic Bill Richardson. Statements with no basis in reality. Does anyone actually believe that Governor Bill Richardson is one of the guys who could help the country come up with a solution to a global financial crisis. Gosh, I hope not.

Let’s just look at the simple facts. Even President-elect Obama choose to announce his economic team separate from his selection of Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary. Why? Well, there is nothing in Governor Richardson’s resume which indicates that he knows the first thing about managing an economy. Quite to the contrary, during a time of unbelievablely high tax revenue, Governor Richardson has spent us into a half a billion dollar budget shortfall.

Granted, he is in good company. There are 44 other Governors who have the same miserable economic track record.

The states’ fiscal problems are continuing into the next two years. At least 38 states have looked ahead and anticipate deficits for fiscal year 2010 and beyond.[1] These gaps total almost $80 billion — 17 percent of budgets — for the 30 states that have estimated the size of these gaps and are likely to grow as gaps are re-estimated in the next few months.

Figure 2 shows the size and duration of the deficits in the recession that occurred in the first part of this decade, and estimates of the likely deficits this time. This recession is more severe — deeper and longer — than the last recession, and thus state fiscal problems are likely to be worse.

The fiscal situation is going to get worse in New Mexico, and we have Governor Richardson to thank, along with some other elected officials, to thank for the pickle in which we currently find ourselves.

As to the Governor’s statement about the Secretary of Commerce job being his dream gig. Let’s get real. His dream gig was to become President. That didn’t happen. His next big hope was to be named Secretary of State, but that was a bust as well. Then, with an impending financial crisis in New Mexico and a threat of prosecution for rampant pay to play policies, his goal was simply just to get out of Dodge. But, I don’t think anyone would mistake that for his dream.

As to putting the nation first… Well, if there is one thing Governor Bill Richardson has proved over his tenure in office, it is that putting others ahead of himself has never been his priority.