Be Careful What You Wish For: Go Ahead and Secede, Texas. We Dare You.
In the wake of news that more than 80,000 people have signed an online White House petition asking permission for Texas to leave the Union, a single grave concern has united the minds of Americans of all political colors: If the state secedes, where are we going to get our NFL-caliber wide receivers?
As a recent student not just of secession, but the traditionally Southern mindset that drives it in this country (similar petitions for Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina have all topped 20,000 signatures), let me be the first to say to the aggrieved liberal community: relax. No one is talking about building a Berlin Wall around the upside-down pistol grip part of Texas.
Texans may be stubborn, but they ain’t stupid. In the event of secession, mutually beneficial treaties would be drawn up between the United States and newly formed Texas Republic, ensuring both sides get what they need.
The U.S.A. would be guaranteed access to Texas’s critical military bases, and to necessities such as refined oil, natural gas, cattle, cotton and cheerleaders. (By the way, anytime someone mentions jazz as America’s singular gift to world culture, I hasten to remind them of the cheerleader outfit.) In return, Texas would receive from the rest of the nation such life-sustaining provisions as …
Come to think of it, what does Texas actually need from the rest of us?
It’s not just that the state leads the nation in production of most of those aforementioned resources. With a rock-solid infrastructure (Texas is the only state in the continental U.S. with its own independent power grid) and stable political tradition, it’s also a self-sustaining player in agriculture, aeronautics, computers, energy, high-tech research and manufacturing, telecommunications, transportation and just about any other economic category to which you care to attach a dollar value. It’s home to six of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhilips and AT&T, not to mention Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Dr Pepper. According to a 2011 Economist ranking, Texas’s $1.224 trillion GDP makes it the economic equivalent of Russia—and the fourteenth-largest economy in the world, second among U.S. states only to California.
Even during the recent economic downturn, commerce in Texas has remained robust. Employment is growing at 3.1 percent annually; its manufacturing and export figures are trending up; its unemployment rate currently stands at 6.8 percent, a full point below the national average; and housing starts are up 17.2 percent over the past year.