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Perhaps it is impolite to pound my fist on the table and yell, "I told you so, mofoes!" But I'm going to say it. I told you mofoes to beware of the hazards of one-party states! Nobody listened, and here we are. Power outages, covid cases, and hypothermia cases out the wazoo...
Who remembers Valu-Jet, the low cost airline which cut too many corners, had multiple unsafe events, then hit the jackpot and suffered the loss of flight 592? The company had the usual internal tensions between safety and marketing interests, but marketing came to disproportionally dominate the outcomes. It was a decision of leadership to not do costly things for safety while pitching the company as a great service / low cost product. It was a game of chance, risking profit against the probability of a catastrophic loss. The crash of Critter 592 was the catastrophe which cost human lives, wiped out all of the prior cost savings, and put the airline's future at risk. The corporate failure was so bad that ValuJet bought an airline named AirTran and hid behind the new name and corporate image. That company was a miniature version of what I am talking about when I refer to one party states. Know that one party states, with poor risk management and little diversity in thinking, are precursors to failed states.
I wrote my rant years ago, about countries suffering from poor governance and corruption when one political faction has disproportionate power. Little did I imagine that we would suffer a pandemic and harsh winter in the United States early in year 2021. Federalism being what it is, the example "failed state" turned out to be one of America's fifty states.
States of the USA function somewhat like countries in their own right. They have their own governors, legislatures, and court systems. Bound by the U.S. Constitution, the states are under a rule-set shared with the other states, But each does have some wiggle room. This ability to do things somewhat its own way can help a state better serve its residents, but it can also be abused by malign political leadership.
The Republican party has for years embraced a platform favoring industrial deregulation: fewer rules and regulations so that companies can have fatter profit margins. They argue that thicker margins promote higher employment and innovation. I would argue that fatter margins translate to higher share prices on the stock market and higher dividend payouts and CEO compensation. No, the employment gains are less than the gains of owners and executives. Employment is bait. You are the prey; do not take the bait.
Deregulation drives employment to a lesser degree than creation and growth of whole new industries. Look at employment in information technology and new energy enterprises based on renewable sources and battery storage. Again, it is whole new industries which actually drive greater employment. Guess what else? The profitable new companies also generate plenty of tax revenue...
Republicans, especially in Texas, are under the thumb of old, dying industries. Legacy fossil fuel, tobacco, and the military-industrial complex all have plenty of dinosaurs waiting for their meteor strike to happen. Texas has allowed Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to operate with insufficient regulation for years, to the point that it failed miserably when challenged by extreme winter weather. They built an insular "Texas-first" electrical grid, and did not invest in robustness or ability to operate without collapse during extreme weather.
ERCOT is the Valu-Jet of power utilities. They knew what situations would cause them to suffer a serious service interuption, situations bad enough to cause deaths. To prepare would reduce margins, stray from the ideological narrative, and disappoint financial stakeholders. "Oh, but the probability is so low..."
Low probability is not zero probability. It will happen. Maybe today; maybe in a decade. Maybe today...
Republicans, in their alliance with the fossil fuel industry, have been in denial about climate change from day one. Likewise, when the pandemic began, Republicans were in denial, as science conflicted with business interests. Hence, the half dozen critically important best practices weren't followed. Suffering and death results. "Oh, but it is not our problem, is it? Muh freedom. Muh taxes." To dismiss safety in deference to profit is to be a Valu-Jet. "Oh, but maybe the science is wrong..."
Get real, friends. The science is correct. Not only is two plus two always equal to four, but there is little doubt about the chemistry.
Democrats in Texas have had limited effect on how the state has handled both ERCOT and the pandemic. They should, but have not, functioned to check overbearing influence on issues affecting the safety, health, and wellness of Texans. Since they have so little influence in comparison to Republican lawmakers, I shall continue to assert that Texas is a one-party state. With impunity, Texas has behaved as a Valu-Jet and indeed suffered the crash, the crump, and the very bad press.
Forget about buying another state and changing your name, Texas. you are not going to rebrand yourself as "California v2.0." Own your situation and fix it. Or look in the mirror and say hello to the world's newest banana republic.
Tags: MAGA, Texas, Trumpism, Failed-states, Federalism