Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where is Texas Going

Living in Texas and occasionally commenting about it, I get some Texas related responses now and then. Recently Speedy asked what I thought was in store for Texas over the next several years. I don't have a single scenario but rather look at a range of scenarios for Texas (or any other location for that matter).

My optimistic scenario says that the US will get its financial house in order, slowly but painfully, learn to live within its means, and stop acting like a global empire. Those changes would produce dramatic changes here at home, not the least of which would be a more local focus and stronger control of the US/Mexican border. Stronger control could work out well if Mexico gets its own house in order as well by allowing both nations to create a fully operational guest worker program that avoids the illegals problem while providing access to jobs in the US (and Mexico).

But my pessimistic scenario is far closer to what is currently unfolding around us. Mexico is sliding into collapse as the government loses more and more control of anything other than Mexico City, as oil revenues plunge, and as dollars from the US dry up. Meanwhile the US seems hellbent on finding the worst of all possible solutions to its own fiscal crisis. Downstream this will result in one of two options occurring. Either the US will become a fully fascist state (instead of a simply proto-fascist state) or the US will collapse entirely. A fully fascist US would be a bad thing for Mexico regardless. Either Mexico would get absorbed into a greater political entity to be controlled from Washington, or the border would be sealed and illegal immigrants rounded up and dealt with, one way or another. Neither of those are desirable outcomes but they are what might happen if things implode badly.

On the other hand, a collapse by the US might be the best thing to happen to Mexico. There is a high probability that Texas would form the nucleus of a new nation and that nation would have extensive ties to Mexico, in all probability. That nation could consist of any part of Texas, the states immediately surrounding Texas, plus possibly Alabama and Georgia.

In any event, the ongoing events thus far simply indicate that we're all going for a ride that no one in the US has ever been on before. Either we're going to find fiscal sanity, social insanity, or we're all going to part ways. None of those scenarios is "business as usual" for Mexico by dumping its social issues over the border, so Mexico ought to begin facing those problems right now. Of course, they won't do that, which will make the ensuing nightmare all the worse.


Speedy said...

Hi, Thanks for the answer and food for thought. I'm equally pessimistic. I've also read that Global Warming will affect Mexico even worse than the US Southwest.

Do you think that as the economic pressure rises, people will be able to resist the urge to "take care of my own" and split along racial lines? I also wonder are recent immigrants and longtime Hispanic citizens fairly unified, or are there divisions between them?

Texas is also the transition zone from temperate forest to desert, and west and central Texas faces periodic droughts. With it's current population levels, I think Texas has a tough row to hoe if it ever were to be independent, despite the oil reserves.

Don't mean to pick on Texas, but I have family there so I'm concerned.

As you can see, I'm very pessimistic and having a tough time watching our civilization slowly chew it's arms and legs off. Sorry to spread the doom, but I would appreciate your thoughts.

Greyzone said...

Texas is not using its assets in the best manner at the current time but this state can easily support its current population, even as energy availability dwindles. Texas is the largest wind power producer in the US and has more nuclear power than almost any other state. Despite the problems with nuclear, it is one partial answer to declining energy, at least for a period of time.

As for immigrants, I'm finding both people who harbor racial prejudices and those who don't. Amongst those who don't harbor such prejudices, there's lots of live and let live sentiment and willingness to assist one another.

Another thing that is breaking down old barriers is marriage. My youngest son is married to a wonderful young lady who is a US citizen born of Mexican immigrants who arrived here and became citizens themselves. I think most of the angst that gets displayed is about illegal immigrants but that often gets twisted into accusations of racism. It's not racism, but rather simply wanting to know who is in your country versus allowing any criminal to walk in.

Many people I know are for both strict border control and a guest worker program. Those are not mutually exclusive at all and again it comes down to maintaining control of your own borders.

I think every state in the union is going to face difficult times ahead but Texas is better situated than many though perhaps not as well situated as some. I note that Texas currently has a budget surplus of $11.7 billion the last time I looked and is already cutting expenses in anticipation of further erosion of the tax base. Compare that to places like California that have been basically broke for 19 months, living on loan after loan, and now approaching doomsday when there will be no more loans and zero money in state coffers either. Unless the federal government steps in, I fear California may burn throughout much of its urban areas.

Finally, I suspect if the US actually collapses you won't see Texas go it alone. There's a good chance that a new nation might be comprised of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana or some subset of those states. That is an extremely rich resource base from which to draw to attempt stabilization of a civilization.