Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving thanks in the face of adversity

Every state has its own list of what it supports, and what it does not.

Texas actually came out ahead in the short run on the deficit, because the state pays very little for anything besides roads, prisons, education,minimal social services,and law enforcement, but not in that order.

The legislature faces a $28 billion dollar shortfall. Legislature will be in session next year.
Beware. Euphoric Republicans are celebrating the fact that they now have the largest majority in the state legislature since Reconstuction. And I don't trust either party in a euphoric, "we're the 800-pound gorilla" mood.

A balloon has already been floated by our governor-who-isn't-running-for-President proposing cancelling Medicaid and CHIPS. Supposedly, we can fund this cheaper ourselves without any federal money. Even with Medicaid and CHIPS, Texas currently has either 5 million or 6 million uninsured.

Medical professionals are already saying this is nuts.

Fact is, Texas hasn't got much fat to trim. Politicians will have to go into the muscle.

One of the things I've learned is--we all want cuts in government spending, just not the program that directly benefits us. So it all is going to come down to who screams louder. The elderly with dementia, the homeless and mentally ill, the minor children who are being neglected or abused, these folks can't scream too loudly. The shell game with taxes and who funds education is apt to leave all but two state universities--Texas A&M and the University of Texas are protected by the state constitution--to be forced to raise tuition again as state support wanes further. School districts forced to fire teachers they can no longer afford to pay? Could happen. More potholes in the highways? less bridge maintenance? More toll roads? that's a big favorite. There are locations in the Metroplex I can't get to without a detailed pondering of highways if I don't want to pay several dollars in tolls for the trip.

The recession hasn't been fun. Nope. And whether we like it or not, the consequences are setting in. The debts always have to be paid. Most of us will survive.

Sounds grim on a holiday week, but the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by less than half the Mayflower passengers who set out for America. The others died. Those remaining gave thanks for their survival, for being alive. They looked forward to surviving another year, and making it better if they could. They gave thanks for each other.

That isn't bleak. That's core to the best of humanity. It requires steadfastness. Resolution. Hopefully a lack of self-absorption. Being alert as well.

Thar still be some bars in them thar woods.

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