For many years now, Texas has been carrying out a great experiment: they’ve been pursuing Republican policies to a far greater degree than other states, and Texas is therefore a little glimpse into the American future, if we continue as we have. And that future seems prosperous, with a strong pro-business environment fostered by a government that would do anything to help a millionaire.
So why don’t I want to live in that future?
It turns out that the price Texas pays to prop up business is paid for with the dreams of children. Happy corporate income reports are gouged out of the next generation’s potential for prosperity.
“A sick, uneducated, unskilled work force does not propel a state forward,” Garcia writes in the report’s preface. “The devastating forecasts depict a Texas that few of us would want to visit, let alone call home.”
The bi-annual Texas legislative session opened this month to news of an estimated $27 billion budget shortfall. But even before legislators took their seats in the capitol, Texas lagged every other state in per-capita spending. Before considering budget-cutting proposals, Texas also ranked 50th among states in health care coverage for children, mental health services for children with diagnosed challenges, preventing childhood homelessness, preventing childhood food insecurity, and preventing obesity among adolescent girls, according to the report.
The cumulative impact of previous budget cuts has put Texas children behind the rest of the nation. When compared to children in the rest of the U.S., a Texas child is 93 percent more likely not to have access to health care, 33 percent more likely not to receive mental health care services, 35 percent more likely to grow up poor, and 16 percent more likely to drop out of school. Given that Texas is not a poor state — its citizens’ median wealth ranks 27th out of 50 — the dire status of its children is all the more startling.
Texas ranks third among the seven worst states in overall child well-being, according to the advocacy organization Every Child Matters; the other six states are the nation’s poorest.
In the area of child protection — a fundamental measurement of child well-being — Texas ranks last again. In the last decade, more children in Texas than in any other state have died as a result of abuse or neglect. The state invests far less in prevention than it does in child welfare services, which are provided after the abuse or neglect has been identified.
I’m glad to hear your banks are doing well, Texas; it’s too bad the kids are dying or lacking education, and that your economic well-being isn’t benefiting the actual people living in your state, but if the blood and sweat of of the people is needed to grease the Happy Fun Slide of bidness, well, that’s what it takes.
You can read the full report here.