Comparative States

Someone once advised me not to compare girlfriends or wives. But nobody ever told me that I couldn’t compare states where I had lived.

I have been thinking about the differences between New Mexico, where I lived for eight years after retiring in 2003, and Pennsylvania, where I lived the rest of my life and where my first ancestors arrived in 1733, giving me the bragging rights

of being a 9th-generation Pennsylvanian.

New Mexico is referred to as a third-world country, even by residents. But as I work my way back into being a Pennsylvanian, I am beginning to make comparisons that are favorable to New Mexico.

For one, the New Mexico legislature is part time. It meets for 30 days one year and 60 days the next. Pennsylvania’s legislators are fulltime and the legislature is one of the most per-capita expensive in the country. Our population declines but our legislature gets more expensive.

Then there’s the sale of alcohol. In New Mexico, you can buy booze just about anywhere. Sam’s Club was my favorite stop, but once a month I’d stock up at World Market and sometimes Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. I had variety and diversity in my selection.

In Pennsylvania … Well, everyone knows what it’s like in Pennsylvania. It’s a closed shop.

Another benefit to living in New Mexico: No annual inspection for your automobile. I remember when you had to get your car inspected twice a year in Pennsylvania. At least it got reduced to annually in my life. I’d like to see it discontinued altogether. Some would argue that it’s a safety issue, but in all my years in New Mexico the biggest problem on the highways was DUI, which is also a problem in Pennsylvania, and not unsafe autos.

The good news is that Republicans control Pennsylvania. These are the less-government folks. Want to place a bet on how soon they act? Don’t.

Unfortunately, when it comes to making things better, Pennsylvania politicians are just like the ones in New Mexico—and probably every other state.