Sara Paretsky’s Blog

Adios, Texas?
April 23, 2009, 10:58 pm
Filed under: reading, U S Politics

Texas Governor Perry isn’t ruling out secession as the statement of the proud and independent people of Texas to the U.S. government.  Texas is tired of paying federal taxes and getting nothing back, apparently.  And 51 percent of Texas Republicans support Perry and secession.

However, Texas has benefitted mightily from their association with the United States, and if they’re serious about leaving, then on their way out the door they should return the wealth they’ve accrued .  Texas came into the union originally because they couldn’t meet their debt obligations from their war of independence from Mexico.  They decided the easy solution was to get Uncle Sam to take on their debt.  

The fiercely independent Texans demanded that they come into the Union as a slave state and that the federal government assume their debt as a condition of participation in the United States.  Through a complicated set of transactions, including spinning off part of Texas into current-day New Mexico, and turning Texas’ low-valued land into debt collateral, the United States agreed to Texas’ terms.  Slavery continued in Texas until well past the Civil War; the state didn’t think it necessary to implement the Emancipation Proclamation, and it took President Johnson a while to decide that African-Americans could be free there.

In 1850, Texas’ $15 million in war bonds represented a quarter of the federal budget.  Inflation-adjusted, that’s $370 million.  On the other hand, one could argue that they owe us a quarter of the current federal budget. It wasn’t cheap to force them to comply with abolition.

Moving forward 130 years, when Ronald Reagan deregulated the Savings & Loan business, free-wheeling S & L managers managed to create a financial crisis that cost U.S. taxpayers $1 trillion.  Texas had led the pack with deregulation, starting in the 1960’s; half of the failed S & L’s were in Texas.  That’s another $500 billion.

And it was a president afrom the great state who mired us in a war whose off-book cost is $3 trillion and rising.cagle00luck_war_slogan_500

So–give us back our $3.87 trillion, and you can return  Texas to independence, or to Mexico, with our blessing, Governor Perry.


4 Comments so far
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Quebec keeps threatening to do the same thing to Canada. Most of the rest of us (at least, out here in the west) have a similar response to yours.


(Oh, and don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave.)

Comment by the Bag Lady

Excellent history post, Sara!

Comment by Rachel

Oh please let us go!!! We have ALWAYS been Texans first, americans second or third. When we go, we can just be Texans again.

Comment by Seth

Seth, if it was up to me…

Comment by saraparetsky

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