Time to update my recent post about the Texas experiment. One of my readers thought that pointing out the problems was "divisive." Wonder what he'll think of this.
Texas. Merely mentioning the state’s name evokes a vision of wide-open spaces, rugged independence and, most importantly, unrivaled economic prowess.
The Lone Star State has carefully nurtured its national reputation as an economic leader. In fact, the official website of three-term Gov. Rick Perry includes a brag page; reading the national headlines listed there could lead even the most cynical Texan to blush with pride.
It looks like Texas’ longtime model of cutting spending and never raising taxes works exceptionally well, so it’s not surprising that many states are following Texas’ lead. But it’s less obvious that the state’s fiscal policies and widely admired approach to balancing its budget have created a devastating legacy. According to officials at Austin-based Texans Care for Children, a multi-issue, nonpartisan policy organization, Texas children are falling behind the rest of the country in nearly every aspect of child well-being.
The article, which refers to Texas' children as "canaries in the coal mine," is sobering for anyone willing to think beyond his or her own pocketbook and beyond the next few years.
“The perception of Texas across the country is often that we have remained economically strong, while choosing to under-invest in social services,” says Eileen Garcia, CEO of Texans Care for Children. “The lesson of the Texas experiment is that neglecting our people is not a viable way of balancing the budget. We have been a state of haves and have nots that threatens to become a state of merely have nots. Texans shoulder the burden of local taxes due to an anemic state budget, while also having the added burden that community supports and safety nets that families turn to when times are tough just aren’t there. We face a $27 billion shortfall and some of the worst social outcomes of any state in the nation.”...
....For years, services that benefit Texas’ most vulnerable citizens have been the repeated target of state budget cuts. Study after study has warned about the perils of inadequately providing for the future of Texas children. The latest, “A Report on the Bottom Line: Conditions for Children and the Texas of Tomorrow,” was released today by Garcia’s organization...
...“A sick, uneducated, unskilled work force does not propel a state forward,” Garcia writes in the report’s preface. “The devastating forecasts depict a Texas that few of us would want to visit, let alone call home.”
This is exactly why the teabaggers and the current congressional Rs are so frightening. If enacted nationally, their policies will, in the name of so-called fiscal responsibility, rob us of the future about which they claim to be so concerned. Michele Bachmann suggests ours might be the last American generation to experience liberty. (Her reasoning, if that's an applicable word to anything she says, is less than clear.) So she, and the teabaggers who think she's meow (all meow, no cat) and the rest of the Rs who want them some of that hot water, propose the very programs that will ensure there is no future.
The ayes of Texas are upon us all.