Friday, July 17, 2009

Texas, the New Model for the American Dream?


William Windham once said in 1812, during a Speech he gave in Parliament, "The strength of a chain, according to an old observation, was the strength of the weakest link." Keeping that statement in mind, Texas would not rank amongst the strongest of states, nor should it serve as a model for the American Dream, as Texas has proved, repeatedly, its utter disregard for humanity.

Texas, the grim reaper state, executes the most people; claims the highest number of construction worker (fatalities) due to an egregious lack of inspectors; has the third highest poverty rate; has the nation's highest rate of uninsured (health care) people; second highest imprisonment rate; highest teen birth rate; lowest voter turnout, etc. etc....
If Texas, as it stands, becomes the new model, it would mean we truly are in a race to the bottom.

Having said that, one can't ignore the more than impressive way Texas has avoided many of the problems generated by the current financial meltdown. With an unemployment rate two points below the national average, one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the nation, and responsible for 71% of all new job created in the country, Texas is on the rise according to the article, California v. Texas America's Future in this month's edition of The Economist.

Texas's low tax, low regulation, low spend, business friendly model is chiefly responsible for their economic prosperity, but unfortunately, this good fortune comes at the expense of an emaciated public sector. As *Tom Ashbrook, host of On Point, said, "Texas is despoiling itself as it succeeds" when trying to sum up and clarify the point a caller was trying to make when he referred to Texas as the "new China".

The very thing that drove America's financial fiasco - lack of regulation and catering to corporate special interests at the expense of the public interest - is driving the Texan boom. Development without the tax base to support the cost of the growing infrastructure will not only increase the economic and ecological expense but ensure failure in the long run.

At the same time, California - at one time, the golden state where so many Americans projected their dreams and hopes of a more perfect life - by expanding the public sector beyond the political consensus, is facing a huge budget deficit and impasse largely as a result of political division, and serves as a timely warning that operating exclusively from either end of the spectrum - economic or social - will, more than likely, end in disaster, balance being the operative word.

Latest on Texas:

Texans losing health care coverage

According to National Center for Education Statistics's latest report, Achievement Gaps: How Black and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Texas leads the nation in narrowing the math achievement gap between the two races and overall shows a better relative narrowing of gaps.

Texas Gov. who refused stimulus asks for a loan

Texas' jobless rate rises to 7.5 percent in June

* I highly recommend listening to Tom Ashbrook. He is always very well prepared, intelligent, knowledgeable and insightful, but what sets him apart is his amazing ability to concisely sum up and clarify what either the guest or caller has said very eloquently.

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