For years Rick Perry has championed Texas as the “example” Washington should follow when it comes to creating jobs and running an economy. And, to be fair, Texas has done fairly well economically the last few years, even during one of the worst recessions in nearly a century.
Though that has almost nothing to do with any sort of “genius” move championed by Perry or the Texas Republican leadership. Texas is a coastal state with a massive amount of natural resources, two big factors as to why Texas’ economy has done so well the last several years. When your state is sitting on top of a massive amount of oil, and oil prices have been high for nearly a decade, it’s going to be a massive boost to your state’s economy.
But oil prices aren’t high anymore. In fact, most experts are saying that they don’t expect them to go up for years. Heck, maybe even more ominous for those who rely on high oil prices, members of the Saudi royal family have come out publicly and said that they don’t believe we’ll ever see $100 oil again.
And without the “oil boom” to be the foundation for Texas’ economy, the state’s likely in a lot of trouble. Being that the state has relied heavily on tax revenue from oil production, lower oil prices means less revenue for a state budget that’s already stretched thin in many areas, especially when it comes to highways and education.
And just in case you were wondering, yes, Texas Republicans are still pushing for more tax cuts. Though at least a few members of the GOP in the state have said that the party needs to be realistic when it comes to tax cuts and Texas’ newest budget.
So, with oil below $50 a barrel and new permits for oil drilling down 50 percent, Texas is facing a fairly uncertain economic future. Especially in a state where raising taxes would be about as popular as President Obama becoming governor in 2018.
But without all that tax money coming in from oil revenue, where’s Texas going to turn?
Odds are they’re going to do what Republicans always do: Refuse to raise taxes, push for spending cuts.
But this is the issue I’ve had with the entire Republican economic stance on taxes: at some point you can’t just keep cutting them. There is a threshold at which eventually a government cannot continue to cut taxes and still function, and Texas might be at that point. Because it’s not just oil revenue that the state is losing, it’s jobs as well. And when people lose jobs, naturally that hurts the economy. Fewer jobs also means that consumer spending in the state will be down, which then leads to lower sales tax revenue that local governments also count on to run their cities.
The truth is, Republicans don’t have a “job creating ideology.” Nothing Republican leadership in Texas has done has “boosted the economy.” Texas would be just as poor as Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama if it weren’t for the massive amount of natural resources the state has.
Sure, Republicans here will go on and on about “low taxes and fewer regulations create jobs” – but that’s complete nonsense. This state is largely dependent upon jobs created thanks to its plethora of natural resources (especially oil) and if that’s down, the state’s economy is going to go down with it.
And at the end of the day, when that oil revenue starts to dry up, what’s the state really left with? Fewer jobs, huge shortfalls of revenue needed to adequately run the state, millions of people who still don’t have health insurance and no real plan to fix any of it.
They can’t magically make oil prices go back up and they damn sure aren’t going to raise taxes to help pay for anything.
So, what’s the magic cure? Cut taxes? How’s that gong to fix the “oil recession”? How’s that going to help pay for education and roads? How’s that going to provide health insurance to millions of Texans?
I’m just kidding about that last part. Republicans in Texas couldn’t care less about providing health care for the nearly 5 million (32 percent of Texas residents, highest uninsured rate in the nation) who don’t have any.
What Texas needs to do is take a good long look at what the tax cut-loving tea partiers did in Kansas, because that’s exactly where the state is headed under Republican leadership that doesn’t have a booming oil industry to fall back on.
Because at the end of the day, political rhetoric and propaganda won’t create jobs. You have to have a plan, and that’s something Republicans don’t have.