The great state of Texas levies no income tax on individuals or corporations. Its "tax freedom day" arrives before most other states' "freedom days," and its business tax climate is ranked #8 in the nation. The total tax burden on Texans is among the lowest of any state in the USA.
Texas was also the incubator for George Bush's No Child Left Behind program, implementing that program's principles and methods before any other state in the union. Texas has spent more on abstinence-only education than any other state.
In Texas, it is illegal to sell "devices including a dildo or artificial vagina, designed or marked as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs," though if you're purchasing it merely as an educational tool, it's ok. You actually have to sign an affidavit to buy a dildo. (Side note: God, I miss Molly Ivins. We didn't deserve her, we really didn't. Rest in peace, you beautiful thing.) Update: It's not actually illegal anymore to purchase sex toys in Texas, and hasn't been for two whole months now! And of course buttsex has been legal in Texas for 5 1/2 years, which is pretty amazing, really.
It's true that not everyone in Texas is a hardcore, reactionary conservative. Amanda Marcotte alone will keep Texas from being the most conservative state in the USA no matter what else they do. It should also be noted that while he has since moved, Neil graced Texas with his own brand of awesome enlightenment for several years.
So what does it mean for those fortunate enough to grow up in such a conservative wonderland? What's it like for the children of Texas, those who are raised in an environment of patriotism and godliness?
- Texas has the worst graduation rate in the USA.
- Texas ranks last in health coverage for children.
- Texan children are more likely to end up in prison than children in any other state.
- Infant mortality rates are climbing in Texas, while holding steady in the rest of the USA.
- Texan teen girls are more likey to become pregnant than those of any other state.
- The number of Texan children repeating kindergarten has increased by 32%, suggesting a decrease in school readiness.
- Only 18% of Texan kids with a diagnosed mental illness receive treatment.
The full report is here. It's worth reading and knowing this, because the end of George W. Bush's reign of destruction is unfortunately not also the end of Texas's influence upon the USA as a whole.
Conservatives cannot govern because they don't want to govern. Conservatives will intentionally ruin whatever government programs they're tasked to run. These results from Texas are not anomalies, they are not unfortunate mistakes. These results are exactly what the architects of that state's system of non-governance intended, because I can guarantee you that children of wealthy parents do not have these problems. They have medical care, they don't get sent to prison because they can afford lawyers, they survive infancy, they get treatment for mental illnesses. The conservative vision of government is that the poor live and die in misery while supporting the comfortable and lavish lifestyles of those lucky enough to have been born rich.
I've never wanted to live in Texas, but after reading this report of the destruction caused by conservative governance, I wouldn't move my children to Texas to save my life. Kansas is a red state, but we're pikers compared to Texas.
As liberals, we need to make sure that we not only know these facts, but that we spread them as far and wide as we can. We need to make sure that the truth about conservative governance is known. Spreading this message is the only way we can hope to inoculate our fellow Americans from being infected with obfuscatory conservative rhetoric