In Texas, "The American Dream is Distant."

Categories: Politics
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A certain chief arborist for the city reminds: We've yet to mention today's Official Release of the Texas Legislative Study Group's annual Texas on the Brink report, which offers a harsh look at the state of the state. Emily Ramshaw sums up (and mentions the House of Representatives' caucus, of which Fort Worth's Lon Burnam is vice chair and Rafael Anchía is secretary, is "liberal-leaning"), but short story even shorter, says the intro:
In Texas today, the American dream is distant. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured children in the nation. Texas is dead last in the percentage of residents with their high school diploma and near last in SAT scores. Texas has America's dirtiest air. If we do not change course, for the first time in our history, the Texas generation of tomorrow will be less prosperous than the generation of today.

Without the courage to invest in the minds of our children and steadfast support for great schools, we face a daunting prospect. Those who value tax cuts over children and budget cuts over college have put Texas at risk in her ability to compete and succeed.

Let us not forget that the business of Texas is Texans. To "Close the Gap" in Texas, we must graduate more of our best and brightest with the skills to succeed in a world based on knowledge. If we invest in our greatest resource -- our children -- Texas will be the state of the future. If we do not, Texas will only fall further behind.
That's just the warm-up act, before 27 pages' worth of stats.
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smiley
smiley

Again and again we've seen that it does not matter how much money you spend on certain groups, you will never "close the gap". We already graduate our "best and brightest". More emphasis needs to be put on attaining real world skills for those who will not be going to college. It isn't a tragedy to not go to college. Some simply do not have the iq or work ethic to make it through. It doesn't mean they are doomed.

quellepotat
quellepotat

Re: "the state has been run for 20 years by the GOP" Not even close .Ma Richards was in charge in the early 90's and there is an an infestation of liberals in every county and state job in Austin as well as every university and tax payer supported school system and public employee union. And the numbers continue to grow. These folks believe that Job One is holding on to their cushy jobs at your (tax paying)expense with increasing regulatory and emotional social issue nonsense(some of which is based upon questionable facts and/or science). An educated population is contrary to the goals of these self serving Comrades, which is why they need to GO.

quellepotat
quellepotat

Wow,talk about a stacked deck. The liberals are eternally fearful of owning the defeat of their bankrupt socialist fantasies such as :the" war on poverty", public "education' under the aegis of tenured teacher's unions etc. Now they want to convince us that their intellectually vagrancy is all due to conservatism, even though their fingerprints are all over the failed social policies.What a crock. Incidentally, when I vote to "like" a comment on this blog another like vote is erased. Come on Editor, play fair.

scottindallas
scottindallas

How can you talk about this being at the feet of "liberals" when Texas has been run for 20 years by the GOP. I understand some of those programs have Federal roots, but they are administered by the State. Again, when I say Texas has been run by the GOP, that's every statewide position has been 100% Republican. It kinda asinine to vote for people who, as a matter of policy don't respect the position, the office nor the difficult service that is demanded.

Realist
Realist

Mr. McKee, you use the the term "citizenry" when the article refers to "populace", oncecagain making the same mistake as the original study authors (who clearly have an agenda). The influx of poor illegal immigrants from Mexico skews TX standing in all these measures into something worse than it really bc all the the measures cited by the study include poor illegal immigrants as part of the populace they measure. Texas is soooo bad, people & businesses still keep moving here!

John_McKee
John_McKee

Texas has no income tax so illegals pay taxes just the same as everyone else. Illegals don't come over without demand, again, the fact that we have a massive demand for illegal immigrants to do work speaks to the way business take advantage of the citizens of Texas.

I will take all the BS from republicans/teabaggers seriously just as soon as they start/demand a major crack down on the businesses employing illegals. There is no supply without demand.

Joshua
Joshua

Just as soon as the Feds enforce use of the e-employee checks, and get serious about border enforcement. Cheap room and housing rent is a cute non GOP source of unearned income for Democrats too....they live in a pile because the rentals are allowed to halve illegals and they exceed fire code occupancy. Cannot blame illegals on the state without putting the burden on the lawbreaking wetbacks first...no matter what your political or nannystate position is.

maze
maze

Then you might want to pay attention instead of just running your mouth, "teabaggers" have been demanding a crack down on businesses employing illegals and they get called racists from jackasses like you because of it.

cp
cp

John_M I followed that logic for awhile until I realized that it's bunk. Your saying that if every business in Texas were required to provide a living wage and health insurance that we wouldn't have an illegal immigrant problem makes no sense. Because what would we have instead? A bunch of legal workers? Well, where are they now? Are they on the dole? Are legal residents of Texas sitting around eating bon-bons waiting for a living wage and insurance in order to go to work day in and day out?

maze
maze

John, the entire incentive for businesses to hire illegals is to decrease costs. The more government steps in and increases the costs of doing business, the more incentive those businesses will have to decrease costs, which means they'll hire more illegals, not less. As the "teabaggers" have pointed out time and time again, the way to solve the illegal immigration problem is to enforce the laws that are currently on the books, simple as that.

John_McKee
John_McKee

I disagree, if business were required to provide a living wage to their employees and provide basic benefits like healthcare insurance we wouldn't have this problem, there would be no benefit in employing illegal immigrants, instead this so called "pro-business" environment has provided an incentive to exploit workers, something that illegals are especially susceptible to.

John_McKee
John_McKee

I love the argument that Texas has faired better than a most of the other states in the economic downturn because it completely misses the point. First of all, Texas's own George W. Bush policies deserve a ton of the credit for the economic downturn, secondly "We" did not fair better than most states, how "We" have done:

At the bottom:

— Tax expenditures per capita (47th)

The Tribune thanks our Supporting Sponsors— Percent of population 25 and older with a high school diploma (50th)

— Percent of poor people covered by Medicaid (49th)

— Percent of population with employer-based health insurance (48th)

— Per capita spending on mental health (50th)

— Per capita spending on Medicaid (49th)

— Percent of non-elderly women with health insurance (50th)

— Percent of women receiving prenatal care in first trimester (50th)

— Average credit score (49th)

— Workers' compensation coverage (50th)

Near the top:

— Number of executions (1st)

— Public school enrollment (2nd)

— Percent of uninsured children (1st)

— Percent of children living in poverty (4th)

— Percent of population uninsured (1st)

— Percent of population living below poverty (4th)

— Percent of population with food insecurity (2nd)

— Overall birth rate (2nd)

— Amount of carbon dioxide emissions (1st)

— Amount of toxic chemicals released into water (1st)

— Amount of hazardous waste generated (1st)

We, the citizens of Texas as a whole have done terribly. Yeah, business has done pretty well, Texas has been a great place for businesses to do business. As for how that translates into taking care of our citizenry, we have failed miserably.

Jd
Jd

John,

Texas ranks 1st in lenght of border with Mexico. Kind of puts you top 10 list into perspective.

quellepotat
quellepotat

You have just got to love the crackpot progressives who believe the city Arborist intelligence report. Far from "attacking teachers", excuse me Scotty/Remy but dare I ask who is in charge in the classroom? You are the ones who are h*ll bent on believing that the education system is "a failure". Why should we pay more for "failing" teachers? Why should folks like you with your sterling intellect and powers of deduction stick around in this "backward" state?

quellepotat
quellepotat

And who runs the schools and universities which are "neglecting" young Texans' education? Umm, could it be liberal tenured teachers and professors ( who nearly always vote Democrat-because gosh--Stalin is dead)? Who developed the crazy "Robin Hood" proerty tax system? -- Late Dem.Gov.Anne Richards and associates. Most of the state employees who run and control everything else (badly) are Austin based liberals. You getyour info (re; decline of Texas )from"a city Arborist"? Goody, after I stop laughing I am hopeful that this will keep more liberals from moving here.

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh

Universities aren't run by professors. The people who believe that idiocy obviously didn't spend enough time at their University to know that.

Remy
Remy

I can't stop laughing either. "Liberal tenured teachers and professors" vote Democratic because Stalin is dead? Tee hee hee. Another commentator further up states that Berkeley is the only socialist university in the U.S. What planet are these people from? Seriously. When all else fails, bring out the "everyone's a Communist or a socialist." The ignorance on this board is astounding. Texans just don't like to be told their failing at something.

scottindallas
scottindallas

It doesn't matter how any liberal has voted statewide. Every thing is and has been run in TX for 20 years by the GOP. So, what the hell are you talking about? The problem isn't teachers making too much money. We should probably hire more gov't employees post haste--entry level clerks and people to process their business. These jobs literally pay for themselves. You need to be more careful in your arguments, cause I'd whole heartedly agree that we have too much fat at the top in both gov't and schools. But you are really making stupid arguments attacking teachers--attack those making in excess of $100K in public "service."

The pretty citation in blue is not the word of the city arborist, but the Texas Legislative Study Group's annual Texas on the Brink report. Your reading comprehension challenges offer clues into your patronizing economic theories that betray your interests, (unless you earn over $200K)

Realist
Realist

Not trying to get in to apologetics here, but I once had a history/economics teacher who was fond of saying, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure." A healthy bit of skepticism is not a bad thing. No doubt, the information as presented portrays a dismal picture, but several questions come to mind. I'll just throw them out there because I don't have time to pore over this entire report, or look up the answers, answers which may well shade this report with some explanation beyond partisan finger-pointing (the easy way out). 

Does the carbon dioxide emissions, hazardous waste, and toxic chemicals have anything to do with where Texas ranks in the number of operating refineries, as well as oil and gas production? 

Where does Texas rank in the size of the construction industry? Some construction jobs require an education, but most trade jobs and manual labor don't require a high school education. 

Does the number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, have anything to do with the number of folks over 25 without a high school education, females not receiving prenatal care in the first trimester, food insecurity, children living in poverty, percent of population below poverty? Many older immigrants simply won't have a high school diploma, particularly if they arrived after 18 years of age. (Relax, this is not an argument for or against immigration) 

Is the ranking in overall birth rate perhaps a factor in the rankings cited in the above paragraph above? 

It seems as though some of the low rankings correspond to some of the high rankings, and other explanatory factors are simply omitted from the article.

Maybe it's easier to rail against the GOP than account for the fact Texas has Mexico next door, and most other states do not. I wonder how the stats would read if only US citizens were accounted for.  

scottindallas
scottindallas

Now I think you've pointed out some very valid issues that would present a reporting bias. But, I would assert we've had two very unserious Govs back to back. Bob Bullock kept Bush on track but Perry has no such guidance. I don't mean a liberal, but he doesn't seem connected to the serious figures among the Texas GOP. Perry isn't off message, he has no message, is a total maverick. Considering the TX gov. doesn't have all that much power, we've been saved somewhat. But again, he papered over the last budget crunch, taking more stimulus dollars than any other state in the Union and not addressing these challenges earlier.

Maybe the Dems in TX have a better stance, I think the party out of power always has that advantage being freed the consequences of power to follow through. I frankly don't believe that we would allow a politician to fix our problems. The special interests would tear them up, and we'd betray ourselves again at the ballot box

Cwdc1091
Cwdc1091

i grew up in a lower middle class family. Attended public schools, went to college(i paid for with scholarships, loans, and working) graduated, took an internship, and now i am employed with a job that provides health insurance.

It wasn't a teacher, or a legislator, or a parent who paved the way for me. It was my decision to work hard and now I am rewarded.

I dont remember the "American Dream" being about skipping school so that when you are unemployed the government will take care of you... What a nice society progressives and liberals want to establish.

Dallasite1992
Dallasite1992

New reader here.

I think it's absolutely hilarious the way all you Dallas progressives who hang out on these boards gobble up anything that hints that Texas is in bad shape because those darn Republicans are in charge, and apparently something to do with Rick Perry's hair. Showing absolutely no awareness of Texas' position relative to other states or the nation as a whole.

Bad news or cherry-picked statistics about Texas = proof that Rick Perry is the devil and Republicans are the cause of all ills. For some reason the assignation of blame stops at the state's borders. Given the fact that EVERY state is in similar trouble and Texas is perhaps best positioned among the states (unemployment rates, job creation, business climate, property value retention) maybe the actual blame for our economic woes can be laid at a more elevated pair of loafers. Though strangely enough, never is heard a discouraging word about the President. I wonder why?

Ever hear of a little thing called confirmation bias? Or echo chambers ... bers... bers... s?

Texas has a budget deficit and thus sucks because of RICK PERRY AND STUPID/EVIL REPUBLICANS!!!!! If only we had democrats in charge like in California, Ohio, Detroit, New York we'd be so much better off! No deficits there. Just raise existing taxes and impose new ones however much you have to in order cover any shortfall. That way you never have to make tough decisions and cut or reduce services because DEMOCRATS RULE!

Texas has high drop out rates, high teen pregnancy rates and low school performance because of RICK PERRY AND THE STUPID/EVIL REPUBLICANS!!!!! But let's not follow Arizona's lead on dealing with illegal immigration (which maybe, just maybe, has something to do with these problems... nah, that's just stupid evil republican talk!)

When you get good news about Texas' performance relative to other states, such as Texas accounting for an ungodly percentage of the new jobs being created in the the country, or the net migration inflow of people to Texas for those jobs from all over the country (particularly those appealingly Democrat led paradises mentioned above) it's immediately discounted. Apparently, only McJobs are being created, no doubt because of RICK PERRY AND THE STUPID/EVIL REPUBLICANS!!!!!

No deeper point. Just think it's kind of funny.

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh

"Texas has high drop out rates, high teen pregnancy rates and low school performance because of RICK PERRY AND THE STUPID/EVIL REPUBLICANS!!!!!"

Actually, yes. But don't let that stop you from trying to imply that the "progressives" are wrong about it.

When you're done frothing at the mouth about "stupid progressives," you can analyze the past decade and realize the Republicans who have had the opportunities to show how effective their gov't is have done a pretty shitty job of showing results outside of "We've got more doctors and no state income tax! WOOO!!!!"

But hey, we know what drives the Republicans most: Votes. Which is why the upcoming redistricting is going to make that embarrassment from '03 look like a polished turd.

Actually, let me be fair to part of the Republican party here: Some of them aren't as useless as Perry. But I save that praise for those who realized Perry needed the boot last year. As for the rest, their brains are as soaked in hairspray as the Guv.

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

So if all these jobs are being created, and all these new residents are coming, why is the state's leadership (all Republicans) so intent on making an already-smaller government even smaller? Shouldn't there be more revenue generated? Shouldn't spending for schools and roads and governments and all those things that are labeled as socialist but are really necessary be at least maintained at current levels?

cp
cp

Can I point out that we have some of the best roads and hospitals in this state.....

Dallasite1992
Dallasite1992

Jay Hawk, I'll try to answer all your points! But watch out, I'm very wordy...

Why is the state's leadership intent on shrinking the government?

It's really not very complicated. Revenues are greatly reduced because of the WORLD-WIDE economic contraction (FYI, not caused by Rick Perry or his hair). There are two responses a government can make to a decline in revenue. Lower spending by the amount of the decline (as any rational person would do in their own finances) or increase taxes to make up for the shortfall while keeping expenditures the same (or if you're a Democratic administration trying to give the appearance of responsibility, infinitesimally reducing the rate of growth, like our Dear Leader in his newly proposed budget).

The advantage of the first approach, the Texas or "rational" approach, is that you avoid the negative externalities of increased taxation - reduced growth and an exacerbation of economic decline. The principal disadvantage of the rational approach is that John Stewart will drown you in smug condescension and the tax-eaters (government employees and those on the dole) will think you're a big meanie. The advantages of the second approach is that you are seen as more compassionate by mushy-headed liberals and a sugar daddy tax-eaters and will get good press in outlets like this one and those even further to the left, like CBS, NYT etc. The disadvantage is the gradual decline of the civilization as society drowns in debt and is gradually subsumed by the ever growing ranks of the tax-eaters...

Shouldn't there be more revenue generated?

Are you asking if low taxes should immediately generate more taxes during an economic decline? If so, then no, and no one claims that they will. If you're asking a more general question on how Texas' declining revenues mesh with conservative arguments that lower tax rates can lead to greater revenue in the long run, it's also not a difficult concept. Lower taxes (and fewer regulations, the other branch of conservative economic theory) roughly equates to a more favorable business climate. Just as in the natural world, you get more growth where the climate is better. Lush tropical rainforests versus the arctic tundra. In this analogy, instead of papaya and bananas, the better business climate yields economic growth. Economic growth comes with business growth, which yields job growth and rising standards of living. Which is good! We're seeing this in Texas with the inflow of productive workers and businesses from places with less favorable business climates like California and New York. In the long run, yes, that process will yield higher revenues for the state without necessitating increased rates. It's not immediate like a tax increase, but it is better for all in the long run.

FYI - the inverse is also true. If you jack up the tax rates, you make the business climate less favorable and then businesses and people leave. It doesn't happen all at once because there is a lot of inertia for businesses and people to stay put. Over the long term though, the steady attrition will really start to show. If you refuse to reduce expenditures you will need to keep raising rates on an ever shrinking pool of productive people. Do you think that process ends well for anyone involved?

Shouldn't spending for schools and roads and governments and all those things that are labeled as socialist but are really necessary be at least maintained at current levels?

Well, that's kind of a straw man. Conservatives don't consider expenditures for roads, government or schools ipso facto "socialist". Though depending on how it is structured and at what level it could certainly be so. Socialist nations do after all have roads (even if really crummy), schools and certainly governments. Construction of a highway is not socialist. But hiring road workers in a public works program primarily aimed at providing employment rather than road construction certainly tips the scales towards socialism. Schools are not inherently socialist (except maybe Berkeley!), but if by "schools" what you really mean is the parasitic public employee unions that feed off of our education dollars (rather than the students they educate), then yes, a little socialist. This is too long, so I won't do "government".

scottindallas
scottindallas

Actually the world wide economic collapse, (which is inaccurate as the BRIC countries are doing fine, thank you) was caused, in large part by a failure to regulate the economy. Bill Clinton signed the Graham, Leach, Bliley act in 1999. This eroded what was left of Glass Stegal and opened the market to unchecked speculation. Your arguments are bit too broad to really have any sense. Gov't requires some real technocrats to operate. I don't like either party, as they offer strawmen arguments that inflame and obfuscate rather than elucidate and balance effective legislation.

Your next paragraph is void of philosophical content, but let me say that there's nothing rational about Perry's taking more stimulus funds than any other state in the union, and failing to address our fiscal imbalance then. Rather, he papered over the problem, and lied his way to re-election. Now, we have three years of economic recession to address and he did nothing even to this day. No cuts, no phase outs, just more and more trips out of state.

You totally missed the extra revenue argument. It was that since Texas is such a powerhouse, since we have all these good jobs, and desirable people moving here, then THAT migration should be triggering increasing revenues. Actually, sales taxes have increased. But, let me suggest that is short lived. Since Perry punted on addressing our budget woes like a responsible representative of the people we are looking at substantial layoffs. That means we will see our economy fall back into recession. And, we'll emerge stupider, more polluted and poorer. As to pollution, you really need to wiki "externalities" you don't understand the term. It refers to pollution or other ways that private enterprise socializes costs. This later leads to higher taxes, since they gov't has to be the remediator of last resort. So, externalities are when private enterprise pushes off it's cost on others--this particularly applies to utilities which aren't "free market enterprises" anyway.

Raising taxes above the rates of other states would/could drive businesses away, but that's really, again too simple to be worth saying. Take roads, we haven't raised the gas tax, which has a state and federal component, since 1992, yet the cost of building roads has increased. So, it makes sense to raise that by a nickel/dime a gallon, we'd hardly notice and it would help prevent the greatest example of socialism in gov't--privatization. I know where you get your information and I know who funds many of those "studies" and "think tanks" you glean your info from. Let me tell you that Cato and most "right wing" groups, such as Heritage, AEI and other are funded principally by firms who service just one client for over half of their business. These are companies who talk of "free markets" but have only one customer--the gov't. So, these people resent the pennies we give to those who paid into SS for years while they want to safeguard their multi-million dollar no compete gov't contracts.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Dallasite, you make some valid points. Here's my main problem with Perry. He's been telling everyone ad nauseum that we're just fine thank you, no problems, our economy is great, what deficit? He did that all through the campaign, now we are looking at education cuts we've never known before. That just makes him out as a opportunist, say whatever it takes to get elected.

I tend to vote democrat, but blaming the present Republicans, especially new ones for the mess is pretty narrow. There's plenty blame to go around. But, to avoid any discussion of increasing revenue, while cutting thousands of teachers and increasing class sizes, well that's not responsible either.

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

New Motto for Rick Perry's Texas: "Poor, Pregnant, and Polluted"

(I couldn't think of a word starting with "P" for poorly educated)

Cwdc1091
Cwdc1091

it sounds like poor parenting.. but it not the parents fault. i guess its the governments fault for not providing enough welfare?

Dallasite1992
Dallasite1992

Are the "poor, pregnant" types Rick Perry's constituency? What accounts for their poverty and gravidness? Lack of state income tax? Please, elucidate!

Were there poor, pregnant people around when Democrats were in charge and Ann Richards was bitching it up in Austin? How do you explain that?

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

I'll be glad to elucidate. If I person is looking for a particular socio-political agenda in the comment, then perhaps one would see "socialism." Or poor people who don't want to work; people who want government hand-outs.

Are you aware that in a majority of public schools in Texas that sex education consists of the teaching/preaching of abstinence with little medical knowledge on how fe/male bodies work and reproduce? That's a religious agenda that keeps the scientific facts of physiology from being taught. And there is more concerning the insinuation of religion into social studies and science curriculum via the SBOE. That's a fact, and some of those changes can be traced to the Texas Republican Platform.

Moving on to the poor. Texas is a "right to work" state. That is, anti-union. Working peoples' wages are kept at the minimum with very few, if any, benefits. As far as the immigrants, who pays their salaries? Middle- to upper-class business types who exploit their illegal status, the landlords that make money from their rent, and the 7-11s that sell them gas and slurpies. Of course, hatred is never leveled at those of provide the incentives to live here illegally. It is always the poor who want a hand-out. Immigrants have been exploited on farms and ranches in Texas for a very long time. The immigrant work force does depress wages for others, because the threat of being outed can always be used as the ultimate bargaining tool.

Then there is the state's track record on pollution and Perry's anti-EPA rhetoric. In case after case, he favors industry over the health of citizens. There's a lot of nonsense out there about the EPA, the truth of the matter is they only step in when conditions have gone terribly awry and people and the environment are in jeopardy.Out state environmental agency that controls permits, the TCEQ, has a long track record of bad science. Recently it was revealed that they've been manipulating the statistics of uranium content in drinking water. That is water that people bath their children in, water they drink.

I could go on and on. But I think you get the point. We live in a patriarchal, wild west state that only likes science when it can be exploited for federal money and private industry (see Perry's Emerging Technology Fund). But we sure like to hate poor folk, pregnant girls, and the evil EPA as a way to deflect from the truth of inequality and the hold of pseudo-conservative values (profit before prophets) over the quality of life for all of us. And why you feel a need to say Richards was "bitching it up" in Austin is beyond me. It's sexist, but more than that, why don't you look into Gov. Bush's looting of retirement funds to invest in Carlyle or Rove's whisper-campaigns that implied Richards was gay--a campaign waged in the parking lots of evangelical churches. The religious right in this state are manipulated for goals that favor the robber-barons; and for that reason, we all suffer.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

But Rick Perry says we're the envy of the nation! So much so he's barely ever here!

LaceyB
LaceyB

We educate them, and then they leave. Because, who wants to live in a state where insurance is hard to obtain/maintain for children, and education is getting worse by the year?

Dallasite1992
Dallasite1992

They leave? Really? By all means, don't let FACTs get in the way of your preconceived notions... Texas has a massive net inflow of people, including doctors, lawyers and other "educated" types from liberal paradises with, I guess by your lights, constantly improving education (snort!) and cheap easily obtained insurance, like California, New York, Detroit and the Rust Belt.

What's drawing them here Lacey? Rick Perry's hair or the favorable business and tax climate you no doubt blame him for creating?

RS1963
RS1963

Are there any actual statistics/facts to back up the statement that "doctors, lawyers,and other educated types from liberal paradises" are moving here in a massive net inflow?

LaceyB
LaceyB

Perdon, Senor 1992,

I think this place is A-OK. I truly believe our education system is not all that bad, it's just the forces behind it are, and people have lost hope (including many students old enough to know what is going on).

I think Perry looks like a self-obsessed blowhard, and represents all the bad Texas stereotypes, but that is beyond the point.

What draws anyone anywhere? Family, jobs, universities, cheap land for your cattle? But, why stay and raise your 2.5 behind your picket fence in a place where your state doesn't care about you when you have other choices. While we still have choices, for heaven's sake.

Don't hate me, hate the system. But, don't think that if you are hardheaded and wait it out that it will get better before it gets worse.

former dallasite
former dallasite

I am a sixth generation Texan, educated in Dallas area public schools, solidly middle class. I went to college out of state (on scholarship), went to a top 10 law school, again out of state, and after spending a summer working at a big firm in Dallas, and with offers from other big firms in town, I peaced out for California. Yea, it's more expensive. But the quality of life, professional opportunities and proximity to important clients wins. Haven't regretted the choice for a second. I'm just one person, but there are PLENTY more like me.

former dallasite
former dallasite

In absolute terms (without looking at census or other data), it's undeniably true that TX is gaining more population that CA. But my recollection of the census data we have so far is that TX is gaining almost entirely non-white (i.e. hispanic) population in the past decade, and that the vast majority of those folks are lower income and less educated. That certainly has been the trend in previous decades and throughout the first part of the most recent decade, according to the Dallas Fed. (http://www.dallasfed.org/resea...

I'm also a but unsure as to what people are getting at when they boast about TX's population growth? While undeniably phenomenal in real numbers and in percentage gain, is it the sheer number we're supposed to be amazed by? Because in that case, CA is still far larger and at current growth rates, TX won't catch CA in ANY of our lifetimes. Maybe it's the overall percentage growth? Well in that case, NV is the fastest growing and hardly a picture of economic health. To me, gaining nearly 5 million people over the past decade is simply amazing, but without the sorts of investments to plan for that growth (roads, schools, etc.), that growth can merely be an unwelcome and expensive headache. I'm not convinced TX is serious about making the needed changes to accommodate this growth.

Above all, as someone who really loves TX and will always consider it a part of me, I'm deeply saddened that TX is squandering its moment in the sun. Rather than fund roads, bridges, trains, schools, hospitals and other basic public necessities in a way that plans for the next 50 years and gives TX the room to grow it will need in the future, the state government is paralyzed by a strident governing ideology that is closing the window of opportunity faster than it needs to be. In previous legislative sessions, school funding was gutted and replaced by a half-hearted attempt at a new business tax that failed to deliver what its own proponents claimed it would. As a result of that and other choices the state has made, a whole generation of young Texans, from pre-K to college, is not going to get the education needed to "home grow" the future all-stars TX needs to keep the economic engine churning. What happens when TX is straddled with a huge underclass of un(or under) educated people who are unable to hold up the economic growth needed to pay for all of the growth TX is experiencing now and in the future?

Say what you will about CA and its budget problems, but I learned in Sunday School a long time ago that we are judged by how we treat the least among us. As I read in the papers about the cuts coming to the mentally ill, disabled, elderly and above all, the poor, I know that I would be willing to raise my own taxes a cent or two to ensure that someone on Medicaid has glasses to see or that a mentally handicapped person has somewhere safe to live. To me, these aren't fat in the budget or "optional" spending, but it seems to many in the legislature that any attempt to provide this kind of stuff is just that. Any tax is too much and even using money the state already has in the rainy day fund for the most egregious cuts is a step too far. I don't know how we'll make it work in CA, but we're going to do our best to make sure these folks have the basics. It's going to cost me more, but frankly, it's a price I'm willing to pay.

If anything, I hope and pray that those in power now realize that expenses on investments in education, infrastructure, and health don't simply go away because they're not budgeted for. They morph from current expenses to deferred costs. In the end the state will pay more, either in emergency health costs, skyrocketing Medicaid expenses, productivity lost in traffic gridlock, students (like me!) pursuing degrees at colleges outside the state because of bigger scholarships, etc. I'm all for fiscal conservatism, but let's take a holistic picture at the costs and figure out a way to best minimize them.

But as long as we're comparing anecdotal stories of our current locales, I would offer up the Bay Area as a model for what kind of growth TX or any state should want. There are an absolute TON of people born abroad coming here, almost all of them are very highly educated and are creating and working on things that are revolutionizing our economy and creating jobs. Most of my colleagues and other people I work with outside my profession are from elsewhere in the US, highly educated, and have well-paying jobs. Admittedly, this is a relatively small slice of the state (and of CA's overall growth in the past decade, which at ~10% is not exactly bad). But it's equally small, if not smaller, in TX.

I know to the dollar how much more it costs me to live here than it does to live in Dallas. While shocking and somewhat depressing at times, paradise has its price. There aren't beaches, mountains, world class wineries, and cities within a two hour drive from Dallas. It was 70 degrees here during the Super Bowl ice storms and unless there's a freak heat wave, I'll never have to endure another TX summer. That being said, I could be flattened by an earthquake at any time, but that's a small price to pay for being here.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Texans have repeatedly voted in the people who make these choices, and seem to keep re-electing them. To the extent they see the full picture, I guess they're satisfied. But as HL Mencken said, "democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

I guess we're gonna find out.

Dallasite1992
Dallasite1992

Sure, former dallasite, there are no doubt many like you. It's just that there are many many many many more NOT like you. California is losing population (more so when controlling for illegal immigration) and Texas is gaining (at California's expense among others). California is losing businesses and jobs and Texas is gaining (again at California's expense). California is really, really beautiful, temperate and awesome and appealing to the senses in every way. It's no wonder people want to live there. Despite that fact, on balance they're leaving to come to Texas (which is also pretty great, but not California great).

Augie
Augie

Republican leadership and the poorest, most uninsured, worst educated people? You can't explain that...oh wait.

Dallasite1992
Dallasite1992

Are we allowed to point out "illegal immigration" or is that verboten on this board?

John_McKee
John_McKee

Unpossible, we have been under Republican rule for far too long for something like this to happen.

Nick
Nick

(unpossible=impossible)

John_McKee
John_McKee

Unpossible was used to show a lack of intelligence in the tone the sentence was written because it is clearly not a word, then I went on to claim that it was "unpossible" because Republicans have been in charge. The two should not seem mutually exclusive to most intelligent parties except perhaps a person that thinks "unpossible" is a word.

But thank you for proving my point in attempting to take the intellectual high ground in pointing out the grammatical failure that formed a major basis of my joke, thus, clearly not understanding it.

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