Hoisted from them Archives: Should Kansas's (and Missouri's) Future Be "a Lot More Like Texas"?: That is one of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's constant applause lines—that he wants Kansas to be a lot less like California and a lot more like Texas.And so I was reading Bryan Burrough on Erica Grieder: ‘Big, Hot, Cheap and Right’: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.... Burrough applaud's Erica Grieder's "counter[ing] much of this silliness" that "Texas is corrupt, callous, racist, theocratic, stupid, belligerent, and most of all, dangerous.” The problem is that three paragraphs later Burrough is writing of how:
Texas’s laissez-faire mix of weak government, low taxes and scant regulations is deeply rooted in its 1876 Constitution, which was an attempt to vehemently dismantle an oppressive post-Civil War government of Radical Reconstructionists…
What was most "oppressive" about the Radical Reconstructionists? It was, of course, that they thought African-Americans should vote, and enabled them to do so.
And so by paragraph 5 of Burrough's review... [he] managed to negate whatever countering Grieder had managed to do. To talk in the twenty-first century of oppressive Radical Reconstructionists who thought the 14th Amendment ought to mean something is to play not just the race card but the entire race deck.
And I thought that Grieder had set herself a Sisyphean task: Where else would a governor both think to say and believe it was a vote-winner to threaten to throw a necktie-wearing party for the Federal Reserve Chair should he set foot inside the state? Texas seemed to me to need different advocates—and a very different governor.
But let's put the callousness and the racism and the theocracy and the belligerency—where else has a state governor threatened to lynch the Federal Reserve Chair of his own party is he comes into the state?—and stick to the economics. Would it be good, economically, for states to become more like Texas? Is it good for Texas to be as much like Texas as it is?
In some ways, yes.... But, of course, when people talk about emulating the "Texas Miracle", they don't mean moving your state so that it is next to the Rio Grande and has a culture welcoming to Hispanics, has mild winters, and has plenty of oil and natural gas. They mean: low taxes, little regulation of business, weak unions, low minimum wages, a bare-bones Medicaid program, record percentages of people without health insurance, and so forth. Do those work? Would the rest of America be well-advised to emulate Texas along those dimensions? Paul Krugman says: "No"...