Friday, January 7, 2011

Another Texas "Miracle" Dashed

 Ed activists have been on the case of the Houston so-called miracle that vaulted Rod Paige into the national spotlight under George Bush only to find out that there was massive cheating going on. It's too bad that Paul Krugman, who with every column nails the scams and crooks running their jive through the political economy doesn't make the connection to the ed scam artists.

Today he gets closer but doesn't close the deal in an article about the Texas economic "miracle."
These are tough times for state governments. Huge deficits loom almost everywhere, from California to New York, from New Jersey to Texas.
Wait — Texas? Wasn’t Texas supposed to be thriving even as the rest of America suffered? Didn’t its governor declare, during his re-election campaign, that “we have billions in surplus”? Yes, it was, and yes, he did. But reality has now intruded, in the form of a deficit expected to run as high as $25 billion over the next two years.
And that reality has implications for the nation as a whole. For Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting — the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending — has been implemented most completely. If the theory can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere.
How bad is the Texas deficit? Comparing budget crises among states is tricky, for technical reasons. Still, data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggest that the Texas budget gap is worse than New York’s, about as bad as California’s, but not quite up to New Jersey levels.
The point, however, is that just the other day Texas was being touted as a role model (and still is by commentators who haven’t been keeping up with the news). It was the state the recession supposedly passed by, thanks to its low taxes and business-friendly policies. Its governor boasted that its budget was in good shape thanks to his “tough conservative decisions.”
Oh, and at a time when there’s a full-court press on to demonize public-sector unions as the source of all our woes, Texas is nearly demon-free: less than 20 percent of public-sector workers there are covered by union contracts, compared with almost 75 percent in New York.
Krugman concludes with:
Right now, triumphant conservatives in Washington are declaring that they can cut taxes and still balance the budget by slashing spending. Yet they haven’t been able to do that even in Texas, which is willing both to impose great pain (by its stinginess on health care) and to shortchange the future (by neglecting education). How are they supposed to pull it off nationally, especially when the incoming Republicans have declared Medicare, Social Security and defense off limits?
People used to say that the future happens first in California, but these days what happens in Texas is probably a better omen. And what we’re seeing right now is a future that doesn’t work.

Read it all here

If we could only get Krugman to take a hard look at how the future of ed deform won't work either before there is barely a shell of teacher unionism left.

And let me say right here, no matter how deep my criticisms of the people leading our union I feel teacher unions could be the major defense against the onslaught against children - yes, policies that keep kindergarten children from being allowed to play. That is why my hostility towards teacher union leaders is so great - they have walked on the other side of the line.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

1 comment:

  1. Incoming Republicans may have declared Social Security off limits, but unfortunately Barack Obama has not.

    As Bill Clinton's major (insufficiently acknowledged) legacy is that of the Democrat who eliminated welfare - thus removing the most basic income floor that a person could sink below), so will Obama's legacy be that of the Democrat who opened the gates to attacks on Social Security.


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating). Or because your comment is irrelevant or idiotic.