Friday, January 7, 2011


Texas has recently been touted by rightwingers as a model for cutting taxes (and unions etc.) and spending (on education and social programs etc.) and ending up being fiscally viable anyway.

Until now. (See this NY Times column by Paul Krugman as one fact-based analysis.) But the mass media still isn't telling the real facts, the real story, of Texas. Recent data show that Texas now compares unfavorably to supposed "third world" or "developing" countries, in many ways. They may have one of the lowest percentages of workers (even public workers) who are unionized, but partly as a result the income gap between rich and poor Texans is greater than it is in Venezuela and Nicaragua!

They may have cut state spending on many programs, including education, but partly as a result they rank around 34th among the states in education. Etcetera. And now, they don't even have the surplus they were bragging about not long ago but instead a projected deficit of 25 billion!

The thing with the rightwing though is they are always happy to martial "facts" that support their positions, but when the actual facts refute (or "refudiate") their positions, they either ignore them or distort them or do the old magicians' misdirection of our attention.

Unfortunately the Democratic Party, which represents the center on the political spectrum of the USA these days, doesn't have its own TV network (ala the Repubs and Fox—MSNBC shows have hosts that rant almost as much against many Democratic politicians, including the prez, as they do against Republicans). And network news, which historically represented the center too, is now either controlled outright by rightwing corporate masters or manipulated by them and their rightwing politician mouthpieces so their news is always framed in whatever terms the right is using on any given day.

The Dems still don't know how to get their perspective and good news across succinctly and in ways that put the right on defense (imagine if Obama and the Democratic Congress had come in swinging at the right and their Republican politicians the way the new House majority is already doing, investigating Bush/Cheney for criminal and unconstitutional actions etc.), so we're probably in for more examples like Texas, where the right takes credit for policies that ultimately lead to disaster for everyone but the wealthy and their corporate masters and when that disaster hits get away with blaming it all somehow on whatever Dems are handy (watch the rightwing Texas gov. blame his failed policies on "Washington" or "Obama" etc.).

"God bless America!"    


Anonymous said...

But I think that a bigger gap between rich and poor and a situation like the one in "Texas, where the right takes credit for policies that ultimately lead to disaster for everyone but the wealthy and their corporate masters" is exactly what the right is going for.

I increasingly wonder whether Lincoln's war to keep the union together was ultimately such a good idea. Ending slavery was, of course, worth fighting for. But I so much wish Texas and the other red states were not connected with the rest of us. (And, of course, Rick Perry has basically come out in favor of Texas seceding from the USA. What patriots these "real Americans," to borrow Sarah Palin's terminology, are!)

JIm said...

Imagine an unemployment rate of only 7% like the good old pre stimumlus, Obamacare days. Imagine a day when people are not leaving liberal California for jobs in conservative, business friendly Texas but are leaving Texas for jobs in California. That would be a real refudiation of conservative economic policy. Woops, I just hit the wrong key, like Sarah did with her tweet.

JIm said...

Here is an answer to Krugman and a illustration of the damage Obamacare can do, even in a fiscally responsible state like Texas.

No, Paul Krugman, Texas Is Not Broke

January 7, 2011 2:37 P.M. By Kevin D. Williamson
Tags: Excerpt

"Of that $11–$15 billion, about $8 billion will be Medicaid — and that is the real budget problem faced by Texas and many other states. Rules changes associated with Obamacare will add about 71 percent to Texas’s Medicaid expenses over the first ten years of implementation — that’s Texas’s out-of-pocket expense, not money that the feds reimburse under Medicaid — an increase that quite literally threatens to bankrupt the state. Analysts predict that Medicaid expenses could outstrip all state revenue within a few decades — meaning that Texas could not pay its Medicaid expenses, even if it dedicated 100 percent of its tax revenue to them. That is going to have to change, and I’m going to bet that Texas has better ideas for fixing that problem than Paul Krugman does "

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

I hear and see these numbers being cited, without substantiation, like 71 percent etc. "Analysts predict" - who are said analysts and what are their credentials? Are they the same "Analysts" (who make anal lists?) that predicted
y2k would end the world? I predict, and this is my anal list, that if the world has good intentions, that is ending war, ending hunger, ending hatred and discrmination, health care for all, making true education our best defense, paying teachers, caregivers more and movie stars, athletes, CEOs etc. less, then everthing will be allright and everyone will be happy, dammit.