Twenty-five million people live in Texas and the population is predicted to grow anywhere from 9 to 18 million in the next 20 years, a pretty good indicator that it's a good place to live. The rest of the country is probably sick of hearing about jobs in Texas so quoting the statistics probably isn't helpful. What most people are not aware of is that Texas (the cheap bastards), despite what you've heard, is actually pretty darn good at public education and improving the environment. More interesting than any of this is why.
Yes, Texas has benefitted from increased oil prices, but they don't control the market. And yes, Texas managed the housing bust better than most because of better lending (and regulation) and realistic valuations. It's not just a lucky coincidence, though; the environment needs to be right for good things to happen. Individuals need the freedom to make decisions in their own best interest. That includes families and businesses, too. Texas is far from perfect, but based on how it is surviving economically and future prospects, it must be doing something right. Among the things Texas gets right ...
- it's a right-to-Work state with marginal political influence from labor unions
- operating costs are low, taxes are reasonable and regulation is relatively fair
- there is a generally pro-business attitude
- housing and the cost of living are relatively low and fair
- the industrial base is diverse
- there is a culture of independence, self-sufficiency, competition and personal responsibility
There are quite a few states with these characteristics, and I would be happy to live in any of them, though Texas will always be home. Some states, however, don't look like this and I would not live in them because I like living in America. If I wanted to live in Europe, I'd move to the real place, not some Democrat euro-wannabe fantasy-land facsimile.
This is where the conflict begins. Obama proclaimed he wanted to fundamentally change America, and it appears he is attempting to do it by taking down Texas, a great example of what America can do. The Obama administration has clearly demonstrated what he meant by "fundamental change" and it is actually worse than I feared. If he doesn't believe in Texas, if he somehow thinks Texas is wrong or an outlier or the enemy, then he doesn't believe in America. To borrow a phrase from Mark Levin, "That's right. I said it."
Texans voted against Obama in 2008, as everyone, including Obama, knew they would. No one would have expected, however, that Texas would get targeted for punishment by the new president especially considering that Travis County, home of the liberal bastion Austin, had the second largest amount of contributions by county to the Obama campaign, second only to Cook County, Illinois. Is "targeted" too strong? It certainly doesn't seem too strong from here in sunny North Texas.
Google "obama texas vindictive" and you'll get nearly a million hits so obviously the idea of Texas being a target is not new or original. There are plenty of news items describing how this administration treats Texas. Let me save you some trouble. None of the items describe this treatment as fair or equitable. When you connect the dots all lines point to Obama, his statist ideology and his obvious dislike of my home.
- Obama gives a shout-out while the nation mourns ... let's not jump to conclusions though, it's Texas, it's probably some right wing nut job.
- Obama ignores Governor Perry's personal letter on immigration issues and has him hand it to Valerie "Slumlord" Jarrett.
- New York gets a retired space shuttle, but not Houston, home of the program
- Feds withhold Education Money for Texas and when it is finally, rightfully sent Democrats claim that Texas isn't doing that great because it accepts federal aid.
- The sagebrush lizard becomes the Texas version of California's delta smelt
- Thanks to your intimately close friends at the TSA, the feds threaten to shut down Texas airports
- Feds threaten to withold funds if Texas excludes Planned Parenthood from its Women's Health Program
- Texas given token financial support for wildfires by federal government
- $3 billion contract moved from Texas to Wisconsin
- Feds withhold grant money to Texas bus service due to Union dispute
- EPA rejects a successful Texas' flexible air quality permitting program
- Obama's offshore drilling permit moratorium costs Texas jobs
Some would say these things are simply a return to 'normal' after the (highly debatable and supposed) advantages Texas received under the Bush administration. Others argue that these things are deserved punishment for non-compliance rather than political retribution. Admittedly, Texas has always been a non-compliant kind of place. And some, of course, simply applaud and say "Well played, Obama!" To a Texan these stories are the poke, poke, poke in your chest from a school yard bully. Will the bully cross the line? Will the persecuted finally bow up ?
If the latest poke doesn't do it, it should.
The EPA has decided to include Texas in a new rule regulating sulfur dioxide emissions. Texas will be included despite the fact that the EPA's own studies showed that Texas was not contributing to higher SO2 levels in 'downwind' states. This was an 11th hour change, with no notification, no scientific justification and no opportunity to participate in the legally required public review and comment process. In short, the EPA, which is without question under the immediate and close direction of the Obama Administration, has chosen to arbitrarily enforce a puntive and undeserved regulation on Texas.
You may think, "What's the big deal? It's just another regulation." This one, however, is especially pernicious. It directly affects several key aspects of Texas' economic success. The significant details of its impact are described here and here, but the short version is that this new mandate will ...
- increase electricty rates by $1 billion per year
- significantly reduce electricity production capacity, hamstringing economic growth
- cost 14,000 jobs in coal and related industries inside Texas
- reduce state revenue
- increase the cost of living
- further destroy the line between state authority and federal demands
Call me part of the vast right wing conspiracy, but here's how I read it. Texas has demonstrated economic success with policies that are the anti-thesis of the Obama administration's. Obama does not tolerate alternative ideas or having his policies and ideology questioned. He is not going to win Texas regardless of what he does between now and the general election. The only way he can reduce the impact that 'The Texas Way' narrative will have in the 2012 campaign, which could be crucial in swing states and with independent (mainstream media, unthinking) voters, is to take the legs out from under the Texas economy, force it to stumble in time for the election. This under cutting can't be too obvious, there's no sense in creating a public dust-up on something major that might grab headlines, so why not use the minions at the EPA to provide distance and cover? It can be implemented quickly (an 11th hour change), without discussion or coverage (no public review and comment) and few outside of Texas will be aware of it (the technical and scientific issues are too daunting for the typical 30 second story on the CBS Evening News ... as if).
Is my reading far-fetched? Perhaps, but here's another nugget of information regarding this supposedly objective EPA decision. Just as Texas was added to the mandate at the last minute several other states were dropped, including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, despite all of them being part of the initial reports and plans and despite them collectively contributing much more to the problem. Four blue and two swing. Imagine that. An unexpected turn of events, don't you think?
Am I too cynical, too paranoid? Maybe. Are there any blue states that have received treatment similar to Texas under this administration? If so, that still doesn't justify Obama's treatment of Texas, and it would only prove that Texas has not been singled out, that there is more than one target in his undeclared war. These incidents, and my interpretation of them, prove nothing except for the fact that Texas has and will suffer under this administration. Given this fact, I can see only a few possible explanations for Obama's actions.
- The suffering is entirely unintentional, an unforeseen consequence of policies that were truly intended to be a benefit. If that is the case, Obama is incompetent.
- The suffering is entirely intentional and the punishment is deserved. If that is the case, Obama is a ruler, not a leader of free people, enforcing his will through bureaucracy and executive order, ignoring the people, eroding the republic and denying our God-given rights.
- Some of the punishment is intentional, some is incidental. If that is the case, Obama is simply arrogant and petty. Arrogant because he is unconcerned about the incidental suffering, and petty because he, like every bully, builds himself up by keeping someone else down.
My Texas sensitivities obviously affect my perspective. Putting those aside it's easy to see that Texas is not the only target. Israel, Rush Limbaugh, small business owners, non-union workers, women, the unborn, the insurance industry, doctors, Fox News, Great Britain, the Cambridge police, Republicans, corpsmen, Sarah Palin, clingers, minority students in DC, citizens living on the border, double income families, those who like their health insurance, those who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, tax payers, Supreme Court Justices, Las Vegas, white voters in Philadelphia, market proven energy companies, those affected by the individual mandate, medicare and medicaid recipients, those counting on Social Security, children and grand-children ... all of these and more have been in Obama's cross-hairs The question is, do they know it and are they willing to win this war by voting him out of office.