I think that it’s now safe to say that we Texans now live in a failed state. 30 years of GOP rule, setting our own standard, living the “Texas Dream,” which they’ve bragged about relentlessly…and let’s see where we are:
A majority of the state in complete failure, unable to deliver the most BASIC of services (things that are called “utilities,” not “luxuries,” for a reason). No power. No water. No means of clearing roads (that one, I can’t fault the state so much….but it wouldn’t be as big a crisis if people weren’t stuck in their homes with no power and water). So citizens are stuck in their homes, some of them dying there.
Water resource planning? After pretending for decades that a drought would never happen again, and not doing ANYTHING to develop resources in the state water plan (a document actually developed using science and mathematical projections), we had several locations, including actual cities, down to a few days of water supply. We’ve finally gotten on our horse a bit, but it may be too late if the next drought comes anytime soon.
State rank in key categories:
Education – 34
Health Care - 37
Infrastructure - 33
Opportunity - 39
Environment - 44
Infrastructure - 33
In overall quality of life ranking by US News, we are now #38, down from #36 just two years ago. At that rate, we’ll be in the bottom 3 within ten years.
We are SUPER independent, and FUCK the feds….but we have requested federal disaster assistance more than any other state in the past decade or so.
But hey, our economy is ranked #15!
That’s right, we have a “roaring economy” and the “Texas Miracle!” But we can’t deliver the basics for our citizens. The economy is VERY efficient at funneling bazillions to the very few…..with little of it “trickling down” to most Texans. Yeah, the people on this board generally do fine, but face the facts – we’re the top 10% or so. We are educated, older, and fortunate.
Our federal system allows for state-by-state experiments. Texas is the poster child for near anarcho-capitalism and zero regulation or oversight. We have tested that approach, for over a generation now (30 years of Republican rule). That approach is a failure. The evidence is undeniable, and overwhelming. It doesn’t matter how many River Oaks millionaires you produce if the rest of your people are dying in their homes. Shit, some of those River Oaks millionaires might be freezing to death today, too.
The kids of a middle class family can hardly afford to go to a good state school. Their prospects for employment are mediocre. Their prospects of suffering crippling medical debt at some point are significant. Their chances of not having basic utilities needed for life safety at some point – all but certain. Their chances of becoming ill or dying from a pollution-caused illness are material.
What’s the result? Our leaders have sold Texas as a paradise – move here! Bring your business here! And some businesses have done so, adding opportunity…..but providing little to no tax support for the infrastructure we all depend on. To the contrary, over the past few years, I know more and more people – educated people, people who can do their jobs elsewhere, who are looking to bail on this state. It’s people with young kids, who want them to grow up in a better place. It’s people in their working years, who simply want a better path. It’s retirees, who want a safe and secure place to live.
We have consumed our seed stock. We have burned through our reserves. We are now consuming ourselves. The ability to pitch Texas as the land of opportunity is done. Seeing what we have become, the tentative thought/plan my wife and I had of wrapping up our careers here and then getting the hell out of Dodge is becoming much more concrete. My children are already unlikely to make their future in this state. Now we are, too.
But the response from the Republican leadership and their sycophants – “how are you gonna pay for it? Taxes? That’s socialism! You want that stuff, you have to pay for it!”
Fuck yes I do, and I’m okay with that. I want groceries…so I have to pay HEB. I want a car…so I have to pay Ford. I want clothes…..so I have to pay Dillards. I want my population educated….so I have to pay the school district. I want electricity, with enough capacity to keep us running when we need it…..so I have to pay my bill, maybe with a capacity surcharge. I want water to come out of the taps….so I have to pay for development of resources and maintenance of infrastructure. I want roads….so I pay taxes to build and maintain them. YES, I have to pay for all of those things, and “nothing is free” – no fucking shit. So, let’s pay for it. We have the #15 economy….we HAVE the funds in this state. An economy with the flow of funds that ours has can produce and maintain all of those results. But we have chosen a different path; funnel all the dollars to the top, and spend next to nothing for the public good. We have privatized profit….we have socialized the costs. And we are dying because of it.
My fellow Texans are dying in their homes….and there’s nothing I can do about it today. And I am enraged.
I love Texas. I am 6th generation here. My ancestors have Texas historical markers on their graves. We helped make this state, and this state helped make us. It educated us (back when college was affordable). But it’s time to face the fact – this state is a failure, and on its current path, with its current leadership and philosophy, it will only get worse. This state has a terrible future, unless we dramatically change our path. Chances of that happening? 0.0% -- because we’ll continue to vote for the guys who make our leadership priorities bathroom bills, and transgender sports, and requiring the national anthem be played at certain events. Any bill that has been proposed to improve emergency preparedness of gov’t entities has been crushed by the Republicans controlling the lege….but we will definitely stick with those guys. No taxes. No government functionality.
What we are seeing happening right now is our system working EXACTLY AS IT WAS DESIGNED AND INTENDED TO WORK. And we will, I guarantee it, collectively decide to stick with that. This state is in free-fall, and anyone with eyes can see it. And anyone with a brain is starting to think of ways to make their life elsewhere. It breaks my goddamned heart to see us commit collective suicide, but here we are.