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
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Yves Engler
Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Tracey L. Rogers
Dear White Women, There May be Hope for You After All
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail