Let me start with a bit of disclosure: I am proud to be a native Dallasite and a native Texan. I'm not quite sure how many generations my family has lived in Texas, but thanks to a cousin whose tracing our roots, I'm pretty sure its at least 6-7. So this is not a post intended to slam Texas.
There's a great deal of talk recently about how Texas well Texas is doing weathering the recession and suggestions that it is a model for America's future. I wouldn't want to argue the point...but let me argue the point.
Texas' economy generally tends to be somewhat counter-cyclical. Meaning, Texas tends to do well when the rest of the country does poorly. I think some of that has to do with the state's oil industry. But I think pundits and political experts might want to tap on the brakes and read the fine print on Texas' 'strengths'...
- For instance Texas has the 2nd highest birthrate in the country, but it also leads the nation in uninsured children and is 4th in the nation in children living in poverty.
- Texas is last in its per capita spending on mental health, 48th in the percentage of the population with employer based health care, 49th in the percentage of low income people covered by Medicaid, number 1 in the percent of population that is uninsured and number 1 in the percentage of elderly unemployed.
- Texas is 4th in the percentage of people living below the poverty level, 2nd in the population living with food insecurity, and ranks 47th in average monthly WIC (Women Infant Children) benefits.
- Texas ranks number 1 in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions, in the amount of volatile organic compounds released into air, in the mount of toxic chemicals released into water and the amount of recognized cancer-causing carcinogens released into air.
- Texas has the 9th highest level of wealth disparity between rich and poor and the 5th highest income inequality between the rich and the middle class.
You can find more information at Texas On the Brink...
Again, I love Texas and I try and do all I can to make it better. But shouldn't we improve these figures before we support the export of our 'product'?!