Let the South secede

Texas joins a majority of Southern states that have submitted petitions to the White House asking to secede from the Union, and Texas is one of the handful of deep-red states to reach the 25,000 signature threshold needed in order to elicit an official response from the Obama administration.

The simple solution? Let the South secede. (Other than Austin, we like Austin.)

This isn’t the first time that Southern leadership have flirted with the idea of breaking from the Union since that other time that didn’t go so well (for them). During the Republican primary contests, Texas Governor Rick Perry advocated secession as an option, adding that “if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

By all means, Rick, go ahead.

But you don’t mind if we check your pockets before you go?

Is that $17.4 billion in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

It’s well-known that red states generally take back more federal money than they give, with Mother Jones nothing that “Republican states, on average, received $1.46 in federal spending for every tax dollar paid.” (They also love their pork.)  While it’s true that Texas remains one of the few red states that bucks this trend, there’s plenty of other Perry-mooching that can be reimbursed, with those checks written back to President Obama and Uncle Sam.

Specifically, while Rick Perry condemned the president’s stimulus as “failed” and “misguided,” the governor quietly took $17.4 billion in those “failed” stimulus funds to plug the holes in Texas’ budget – twice.

The state’s own House Appropriations chair added that “when you’re short of money and a pot of money shows up, it’s hard for politicians or budget writers to turn it down.” Mind you, the state had billions stored in a rainy day fund, but instead chose to suck off the federal teat, simply because it was convenient, or as Bill O’Reilly would put it: Texans “wants stuff.”

It didn’t stop there with Perry and the stimulus. Perry went so far as to say that the stimulus “didn’t create any jobs,” leaving out the fact that stimulus funds created or saved almost 50,000 jobs in Texas alone, according to the Houston Chronicle. That same stimulus also plugged a hole in the state’s Medicaid funding, saved child abuse caseworker jobs, and funded child-care and job training programs.

President Obama will accept that $17.4 bn check, and the return of those jobs to the United States, before you leave, Mr. Perry.

While Texas secessionists proclaim their state as one of the largest and therefore most capable of maintaining independence, Texas remains one of the poorest states in the nation. Nearly one in four Texans are uninsured, with the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality ranking the state as worst in the nation for health care delivery. Yes, worst out of 50 states. This isn’t even including the nearly 4 million Texas residents relying on federal nutrition assistance.

And that’s only Texas.

Bloomberg notes that “70 percent of counties with the fastest growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008.” There’s going to be a lot of state residents knocking on the doors of their broke state governments come independence time for help.

Rick Perry via Shutterstock

Texas’ farming economy will also suffer under secession. The state remains the number one recipient of USDA farm subsidies, having received $25.9 billion in federal funds from 1995-2011. USDA notes that that the cotton, wheat, corn, rice, peanut, and livestock are among the top ten industries that have received anywhere from hundreds of millions, to billions of dollars in subsidies, all funding that will be cut off.

Everything is bigger in Texas – even the whining.

Then come the occurrences that can only be described as acts of God. After wildfires devastated the state in 2011, Perry loudly complained to the federal government that he had not received as much disaster assistance as neighboring states, crying to press that the president was “taking care of Alabama and other states,” but not Texas. This is ignoring the 25 FEMA grants totaling $18.5 million in reimbursements he had already been given.

So Rick Perry is both for and against sucking on the federal teat.  I’m not sure if that makes him bi, curious, or simply a federal teat-sucking closet case.  But one thing’s for sure, he’s a hypocrite.

If it’s secession Texas wants, it’s secession the state should get. But that means no more crying to the next-door neighbor, the United States, when there’s trouble. If the Republic of Texas burns, they are on their own. If they go hungry, they are on their own. If they’re drowning in a hurricane, go ask their good friend Alabama for help.  And if they need some cash to fill those holes in that budget, they are on their own.

But cheer up, Texas. You’ll always have the booming execution industry.  Maybe you can sell tickets?

Gabe Ortíz is a San Francisco-based writer. He has contributed to the Mission's bilingual newspaper "El Tecolote," and the political blogs AMERICAblog, AMERICAblog Gay, and Veracity Stew. He's also a Stevie Nicks lover and shameless catlady. Follow him on Twitter: @Tusk81.

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