FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why I Hate Texas

“If you care about putting people back to work when nearly 14 million are unemployed, maybe Texas has something to teach us.”

Rick Wartzman, LA Times 7/3/11

The same economic geniuses that gave us the Great Recession and nearly crashed the global economy are back with a vengeance and a new message: We ought to be following the Texas model of job creation.

Those of us who have memories longer than an Alzheimer patient will recall that these are the same chefs who cooked up the deadly brew of Free Trade, deregulation, evisceration of anti-trust laws and unlimited corporate power. To everyone on the working end of the economic strata it was an unmitigated catastrophe and one that may haunt us for decades. But to those whose idea of labor is handing down dictums from the executive suite it all worked out fine. We paid the bill and they got multi-million dollar bonuses.

Those of us with memories longer than a crack addict on pot will also recall the last time the nation adopted the Texas model: Based on a fictional success derived from skewed data, the country was saddled with No Child Left Behind.

To everyone engaged in public education NCLB is a disaster on par with Free Trade economic policies but to those who created and promoted it as reasonable reform it is working as designed: As it destroys public education it opens the door to privatization.

As it is with education so it is with Texas economics.

The crux of the current argument is that in these difficult times Texas is the national leader in job creation. The argument is as flawed as a high school engineering project. On the global scale, China and India are the leaders in job creation. Should we adopt the Chinese model?

The reasons jobs are migrating to Texas, Mississippi and North Dakota are the same reasons American jobs are moving to India: Low wages, minimal health and retirement benefits, an unregulated working environment and a virtual prohibition of unions.

Texas is among twenty-two Right to Work states and according to the US Bureau of Labor a disproportionate fifteen of those states are among the top twenty-five in job creation over the last decade. The exceptions to the rule are the rust belt states that continue to hemorrhage jobs regardless of Right to Work status.

For the uninitiated Right to Work is the most effective legislative means of union busting ever invented. In a Right to Work state no worker can be required to join a union, pay union dues or pay an equivalent amount to charity. Because unions depend on worker unity in negotiations with management, Right to Work laws have a crippling effect. Since it would be discriminatory and therefore illegal to pay some workers a different wage than others, under the mandates of Right to Work, a non-union worker is allowed to freeload on the backs of union workers. When a union engages in collective bargaining, all workers benefit. If a union goes out on strike, non-union workers can break the strike and scabs can be hired without consequence beyond the individual conscience. The union is rendered powerless and therefore less able to attract new members.

Just as non-union workers benefit at a cost to union workers, Right to Work states are empowered to steal jobs from states that honor the Rights of Labor (including the Right to Organize in the workplace) by offering lower costs to corporate employers.

Ultimately, Right to Work as public policy is a zero sum gain. If all states followed the Texas model, job creation would be spread evenly but there would be no net increase in jobs. It would however unleash a race to the bottom as organized labor ceased to exist and jobs would offer ever lower wages and benefits.

Like a serpent that discovers its tail and consumes itself, the Texas model on a national scale would end catastrophically because the already dying middle class would be dead and buried and consumption of unnecessary goods would shrivel like a raisin in the sun. Our consumer-based economy would inevitably collapse.

Do we really want to become a nation where corporate treasures are built on the backs of cheap labor?

This is a classic case of pound-foolish and penny-wise. It is the age-old strategy of dividing workers against themselves. It is Starve the Beast in its most cynical form.

The difficulty with economic issues is that the language required to explain them is so convoluted it becomes incomprehensible. It is like the variable rate home mortgage loan with a bubble payment that no one would sign if it were properly explained.

It should be sufficient to say that these Texas model pimps are the same folks who screwed us out of our homes. These are the same brain trusts that shipped our well-paid jobs overseas and replaced them with minimum wage labor. These are the same folks who gave us mass foreclosures and rendered our properties less than worthless for their own gain. These are the same people that crushed the American Dream and replaced it with a nightmare of debt, default and depression.

Now they want to finish the job and Texas will show us the way.

The Texas model is a Trojan Horse. It is paraded before us in all its sequined glory. We are expected to bow down and pay tribute. On the surface it appears to offer great rewards but once we let it in the gates, the enemy inside will emerge to destroy us.

Texas is a place where government is controlled from the corporate boardrooms and the only function of government is to do corporate bidding. Instead of following Texas on the road to ruin, the twenty-eight states that still believe in the rights of labor should take counter measures.

In so many ways we have been following Texas for far too long. Texas gave us deregulation of oil and gas and the $50 billion west coast energy fraud. Texas gave us Enron and Anderson Accounting. Texas gave us Karl Rove and George W. Bush. Texas gave us war for oil in the Middle East. Texas gave us chemical-hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas deposits deep in the earth, poisoning drinking water throughout the west. Texas gave us No Child Left Behind.

It seems to me Texas has been waging a cold war against the rest of us for a very long time. Maybe it’s time we started fighting back.

Governor Rick Perry made some cavalier comments in April 2009 about Texas withdrawing from the union to which I reply: Go ahead. Make my day.

Jack Random is the author of Jazzman Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press.)

 

More articles by:

Jack Random is the author of Jazzman Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press.)

Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
Franklin Lamb
Hezbollah Claims a 20-Seat Parliamentary Majority
William Loren Katz
Oliver Law, the Lincoln Brigade’s Black Commander
Ralph Nader
The Constitution and the Lawmen are Coming for Trump—He Laughs!
Tom Clifford
Mexico ’70 Sets the Goal for World Cup 
David Swanson
What Else Canadians Should Be Sorry For — Besides Burning the White House
Andy Piascik
Jane LaTour: 50+ Years in the Labor Movement (And Still Going)
Jill Richardson
Pruitt’s Abuse of Our Environment is Far More Dangerous Than His Abuse of Taxpayer Money
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
Pardons Aren’t Policy
Daniel Warner
To Russia With Love? In Praise of Trump the Includer
Raouf Halaby
Talking Heads A’Talking Nonsense
Julian Vigo
On the Smearing of Jordan Peterson: On Dialogue and Listening
Larry Everest
A Week of Rachel Maddow…or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ronald Reagan
David Yearsley
Hereditary: Where Things are Not What They Sound Like
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail