Commentary: Who do you think will be better for the economy: John McCain or Barak Obama?

Cartoonist Scott Adams, he of “Dilbert” fame, was plagued by the same question so, he reports, he commissioned a survey of more than 500 economists, “to find out which candidates for President of the United States would be best for the economy long term,” a release put out by United Media states.

Well, surprise, surprise, economists who consider themselves Democrats overwhelmingly reported that Obama will be better for the nation’s financial health while those who said they are Republicans mostly chose McCain.

That doesn’t help much.

You’ll be happy to know, though, that more than half of economists who said they were independent reported that, “in the long run there would either be no difference between the candidates or McCain would do better.”

That still does not clear the picture much.

So, I’m back to my original question: Who do you think will be better for the economy? Send me an e-mail at [email protected] if you have an opinion on the subject and, if I get enough of a response, I’ll report back with what some of your fellow readers have to say.

How free, economically speaking, are we here in the Land of Enchantment? According to a recent study conducted by the Pacific Research Institute in association with Forbes, our freedom is lacking.

The “U.S. Economic Freedom Index: 2008 Report,” recently released by the PRI, ranks New Mexico near the bottom, at No. 41, for economic freedom in the 50 states. The free-market think tank reports it based the rankings “on 143 variables, including regulatory and fiscal obstacles imposed on businesses and residents.”

South Dakota was ranked No. 1 on the freedom index while New York was the worst at No. 50.

In fact, New Mexico was one of the few states in the Mountain Time Zone that did not fare well in the report. Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming were all ranked in the top 10 along with Nevada, Oklahoma, Kansas, Virginia and New Hampshire.

And, if the PRI is to be believed, our economic freedom in New Mexico has slid in the past decade. The group ranked New Mexico No. 28 in 1999 and No. 37 in 2004, the last two years it has issued such a report.

So, why has New Mexico fared so poorly in the report? The PRI gives low rates to states where it believes the government is more intrusive then necessary. Our state was ranked No. 46 in the judicial category — any state that increased the number of active attorneys received a lower mark — and No. 41 in the regulatory category.

Also, New Mexico got low marks for welfare spending, as it was ranked No. 44.

The PRI reports that welfare spending, “is the most egregious violation of economic freedom: resources are forcibly transferred from one private individual to another without anything given in exchange and no tangible public asset produced.”

Brook Stockberger can be reached at [email protected]; (575) 541-5457

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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