Letter to the editor: Biggest critics have hands held out

Biggest critics have hands held out

Several recent stories in the paper highlighted the fact that Clovis and Portales have not been hit nearly as hard by the recession as most of the rest of the country. But there has been little discussion as to why.

There are two main reasons.

1. We have a reasonably diverse economy for our size.

We’re a railroad hub, (and about to become a BIG national power grid switching hub.) Farming and ranching are still strong, despite the dairy industry woes. We produce peanuts and related products for half the country. Not bad.

2. In proportion to our population , here and in New Mexico overall, we get far more federal government money than our fair share, by any measure. The three most important sources are Cannon Air Force Base, Eastern New Mexico University and the hard-to-track various farm subsidy programs. Fact. And also not bad.

What bothers me is the willful ignorance or sheer hypocrisy of those in our community who rail against government spending (reason No. 2) while gleefully soaking up Uncle Sam’s dollars (which hugely supports reason No. 1.)

Please note that I’m not passing judgment about whether or not Cannon, ENMU or various farm subsidy programs are justified. But without them, Roosevelt and Curry counties would be poorer by many hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

What would we think of government programs then?