Am I the only one here getting a little perturbed by the collective masturbation over Texas?
Texas is the future! There’s so much land! It’s cheap to live! Diverse! Smart people! Great weather! Jobs! Rick Perry personally shakes each new citizen’s hand!
And on. And on. And fucking on.
Now look, I have nothing against Texas. I’ve visited it a couple times and found it quite lovely, inasmuch as you can find concrete lovely. (It’s no wonder there are so many JFK conspiracy theories. You could fit the population of Fort Worth in one lane of Dealey Plaza with more shooters than the goddamn Czech army.)
I also delight in the fact that the entire world population could comfortably live in Texas with the population density of NYC. It makes all those “ahhh scary population growth!” Chicken Littles look like the damned fools and closet eugenicists that they are.
Plus: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Any state that can tell effete East Coast elites to shove it is definitely a friend of mine.
(What’s little acknowledged is the fact that George W. Bush is to thank for all the good he did as Governor of Texas during his term–because all those good policies are playing out now. That’s an uncomfortable fact for many said elites that I relish.)
But all this “OMFG TEXAS IS AMAZING” talk reminds me of San Francisco 1849. Or Los Angeles 1920. Lots of people shifting somewhere else because they just can’t cut it where they’re at.
There are a few things about Texas that may be uncomfortable for some of y’all Dallas/Houston/Austin/San Antonio (the sleeper big city—seriously, where the hell did you come from?) denizens—but it’s time to face the honky-tonk music.
First: illegal immigration. Texas has a real goddamn illegal immigration problem and doesn’t seem to be doing a darn thing about it. I’d care less if it affected just Texas—but Texas is the funnel for illegal immigrants to travel throughout the Midwest and towards the East Coast and Mountain West. Good news: the recession caused illegal immigration to drop by 1 million people last year. Bad news: illegal immigration increased by 200,000 that same year to Texas alone. The number of illegal immigrants in Texas combined would form the second largest city in Texas—and the fifth largest in the country. Memo to Texas: you have the largest border with Mexico compared to any state in the Union. Get your shit together.
Second: you have a lot less going for you than you think. The analogy that I can think of to best describe your situation is a male model who stuffs his jock with a sock. Or a female model who balloons two cup sizes with the help of Mr. Kleenex. Libertarian economist Tyler Cowen has a Time magazine cover story this week of “10 Reasons Texas Is Our Future”, a dystopian look forward if I ever saw one. Let’s read through them:
1. Everyone’s moving there (big fucking deal, lots of people eat at Subway and it sucks)
2. The middle class squeeze (surprisingly not a trendy new juice bar concept, unrelated to Texas entirely)
3. Automation (still on the middle class squeeze topic, Texas is not responsible for me scanning my own groceries at the store and gleefully avoiding the cashier’s glacial, Parkinson’s-addled scanning hand)
4. The skills gap (still about the middle class squeeze. Weren’t we talking about Texas in this article?!)
5. Cheap land, cheap houses (finally, we’re back to Texas! And it’s only to give them a reach-around for having the same thing that…39 other states have!)
6. Cheap living generally (goddamn, we’re really trying to stretch to get that magic ‘10’ on this list, aren’t we?)
7. Jobs (thanks for reminding me of recently departed Steve, you heartless bastards. Let’s see here…oh yes: YOU CAN MAKE OR GET A JOB ANYWHERE YOU WANT IN THIS COUNTRY IF YOU WORK HARD ENOUGH. Texas’s new motto should be: ‘If You’re Fucking Lazy, Come to Texas!’)
8. Low Taxes (will address this below)
9. The rise of the ‘new cowboys’ (I don’t know what the hell this is supposed to mean and I doubt the author does either. All I know is that, in Texas, there’s steers and queers drinking beers listening to Tears for Fears or something like that)
10. The rise of micro-houses (ladies and gents, this is what’s called in the writing world as “pulling something directly out of your ass”. I can think of nobody who would enjoy living in a 400 sq. ft. box. This is a downgrade for solitary confinement inmates for gawd’s sake. And weren’t they just bragging about all the land available? This is like having a Porsche and then driving it only to the mailbox and back. Or that model from earlier, but you only penetrate her in the belly button.)
I promised I’d go back to the Low Taxes point, and goddammit I don’t break a promise unless it’s in ring form.
The author brags about how much lower state taxes are in Texas compared to other states like California (appx. $1400 more/person) and New York (an eye-watering $3900 more/person). This is mostly because Texas has no income tax.
That’s fine—that’s one place you have California beat, and good on you for that.
But six other states: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming all have no income tax too. You’re not fucking special, Texas.
According to About.com Tax Planning (which I trust more than my actual accountant…keep your hands off my CVS receipts! I don’t need your number-crunching judgment!):
“States need revenue to function, and these states will have to make up for the lack of income tax somehow. New Hampshire [which has limited state taxes like Tennessee] and Texas, for example, make up for it in property taxes. Both states have some of the highest property taxes in the nation.”
Enjoy your cheap little Hooverville hovels, Texas—you’ll soon be paying out the ass for the privilege of occupying a Lilliputian sliver of that prime, abundant Texas soil.
Even the author of the Time piece (heh) admits:
“[p]eople are going to Texas because it’s a low-cost, low-tax state. But they’re also migrating to other Sun Belt states, like Colorado, Arizona and South Carolina, which have similar policy profiles.”
Welp, there goes the one advantage Texas has.
It boils down to this: Texas is not some humble escape from the braggadocio East Coast or all-too-cool West Coast lifestyle. In fact, the number one thing people from Texas can’t stop bragging about is Texas. They’re just as bad as New Yorkers who think they’re the shit or LA people who don’t understand that there’s a world north of The [dreaded] Valley.
So to all the Texas fetishists, emigrators, commentators, and Rick Perry: do everyone a favor and shut the fuck up about your shitstain five-in-one Republic.
Or better yet: do good on that secession promise. If you’re nice, we may even let you borrow the “New Mexico” name. After all—in a few years, you’ll need it.