Texas Governor, Rick Perry, may not be ashamed. But, as a citizen of this state, I sure am.
April 17, 2013 — I think it’s an interesting coincidence that Texas Governor, Rick Perry, announced his intention this week to travel to Illinois in an attempt to convince the leadership of corporations headquartered there that they should move to Texas — this in the same week that the Texas Legislative Study Group updated its Texas On The Brink report, a periodic collation of state rankings on public policy issues. The report makes Texas look so bad this year that it should probably be renamed, Texas Going Down the Tubes.
After reading this report you might wonder why anyone would want to come to Texas to live. Unless they are a high-placed corporate executive, someone firmly-established in the upper to upper middle class with a guaranteed source of income, or a professional with qualifications that are in high demand, it beats the hell outta me why anyone would. The blue bonnets in Springtime and relatively mild winters here in Texas are just about the best the state has to offer for everyone else.
I am continuing this post borrowing heavily from Janes Moore’s article in Huffington Post, Texas vs. America, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-moore/texas-versus-america_b_3088725.html, and other sources as noted.
If you do decide to come to Texas, don’t consider failing. There is no safety net here unless you have family able and willing to pick you up when you fall. If you remember nothing else from this year’s update of the Texas on the Brink report http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/news/2013-04-15/texas-on-the-brink/, take with you these two simple facts about the state’s generosity to the less unfortunate: First, the average monthly benefit per person, for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) recipients in Texas is $29.30. That’s the WORST in the nation — not even enough for tuna and crackers from a governor who spends millions on his traveling security entourage. Second, the maximum Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant for a single-parent family of three is just $263 per month. So, if you don’t mind eating Ramen noodles for dinner every night and living in a shack, Texas has you covered.
Texas “firsts” and “worsts” that have occurred during the 13 years of the Rick Perry administration in Texas are even more astonishing than Perry’s lack of concern about the poor in this state. In his last legislative session, the Texas governor led a reduction of $5.5 billion in public school funding even though the state ranks dead last in the percentage of population that graduates from high school. According to the Texas on the Brink report, Texas also leads the nation in the percent of the population uninsured as well as the percent of non-elderly that are uninsured.
Here are some highlights from the new Texas On The Brink report:
• Elementary and Secondary Public School Enrollment — 2nd
• Average Salary of Public School Teachers — 31st
• Percentage of Population Graduated from High School — 50th
State of the Child –
• Percent of Uninsured Children — 2nd
• Percent of Children Living in Poverty — 7th (tied)
• Percent of Children (19-35 months), Fully immunized — 23rd (tied)
Health Care –
• Percent of Population Uninsured — 1st
• Percent of Non-Elderly Uninsured — 1st
• Percent of Low Income Population Covered by Medicaid — 48th
• Amount of Carbon Dioxide Emissions — 1st
• Total Amount of Toxic Releases into Water — 4th
• Amount of Carcinogens Released into Air — 4th
• Amount of Hazardous Waste Generated — 1st
• Industrial Toxic Air Pollution — 10th
• Percent of Voting-Age Population Registered to Vote — 47th
• Percent of Voting-Age Population that Votes — 51st
You may download the entire report at http://www.austinchronicle.com/documents/Texas%20On%20The%20Brink%202013.pdf.
Rick Perry may not be ashamed. But, as a citizen of this state, I sure am.
To many, it is a mystery why Texans continue to vote for a governor and a legislature that care so little for the majority of its citizens. Psychologists, however, tell us that it’s human nature. The reason they cite is something called cognitive dissonance http://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html. This is the distressing mental state that people feel when we find ourselves doing things that don’t fit with what we know or believe. We all experience it to varying degrees; we all want our expectations to meet reality, creating a sense of equilibrium. Accordingly, we will avoid situations or information sources that give rise to feelings of uneasiness, or dissonance. In other words, we’d rather be stupid than wrong.
Please feel free to leave a comment whether you agree with my reasoning or not.