This a response to an editorial by Harry Harelik at WacoTrib.com. Mr. Harelik deems the idea of Texas independence as “crazy,” incapable of fathoming such an event as Texas Independence, and believes there are “more pressing topics” for Texans to consider.
To his credit, Mr. Harelik offers a number of questions with which to offer his healthy skepticism. I attempt to address those questions:
“Would we Texans need passports to visit Disney World, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon or the Redwoods National Park?”
You might very well need them (that’s up to the USG), but if you fly to Disney World now, you need to show your ID at least once along the way (unfortunately). What difference does it make if it’s a Texas driver’s license (like now) or a Texas passport?
“Would Americans living out of Texas be required to have passports to get into Texas to visit the Magnolia Silos, the Alamo or the Waco Mammoth Site, which might not be a national monument anymore?”
Again, the same reasoning is offered, but that is up to Texas. Since tourism is a significant part of the Texas economy, ease of travel into the state would be beneficial, to say the least.
“What happens to Texas’ national parks? Would U.S. support and funding be denied?”
The parks become Texas state parks through some mutually beneficial transaction with the USG. Presently, Texas state parks return about three times their operating cost, yearly. That surplus would be a good place to start for funding. As regards “US support,” please remember that nearly every “federal dollar” sent from DC to Austin originated within Texas! Individuals send their federal tax dollars to DC which takes its cut than sends back the remaining with ideological strings attached. With independence, those dollars will not forcibly leave Texas at all! In 2014, total taxes collected from the IRS from Texas residents was $265 billion. With independence, that’s $265 billion that will remain in the wallets of individuals for private investment, contributions (as to supporting parks, etc.) and possibly some small portion of it to be taxed by the Texas government.
“Would Texas have to come up with financing to patrol our northern, southern, eastern and western borders? How could we do that?”
Look to the comment above as far as funding. Unlike the US, an independent Texas would not operate as an empire, sending legions of troops rampaging around the world in acts of conquest. A reasonably sized security force is all that is necessary, strictly for defense, not offense. Costa Rica and Iceland are good examples. Worried about invasion? Two large oceans to the east and west are still the best defense against that. And not meddling in other country’s affairs.
“The federal government can’t do it now. Maybe Oklahoma and Mexico would help?”
Of course, the USG can’t do it. They’re a financially bankrupt, incompetent, inefficient behemoth that has no interest in maintaining such security. Sure, Oklahoma and Mexico could help. Why not? It would certainly be in their best interests. Neighboring states often create mutually beneficial security alliances, just as do neighboring individuals in their communities.
“Would Texas students have to pay international tuition rates at U.S. colleges located beyond Texas’ borders?”
That’s possible, but such a situation would encourage the development of new universities within Texas, both state and private. The present university model, itself is becoming an anachronism with the rise of internet based education. Who knows what more effective and efficient educational models might be offered when such opportunity exists?
“Would students from other states decline invitations to study at Texas colleges because they would be considered international students and be required to pay international student rates?”
They would if they didn’t think it was worth the price, just like any other individual financial decision. Texas colleges may just decide that some students from outside Texas are worth having attend their schools and adjust their rates accordingly.
“Would out-of-state students in Texas need a green card to get a job?”
Not from Texas. Such a requirement only discourages employment. Why would Texas do that, particularly to a young student? As I envision it, any US citizen is welcome to live and work in Texas. They would pay applicable user fees and consumption taxes (to prevent a “free ride”) but would pay no Texas income tax, because there wouldn’t be one! Unfortunately, such a US citizen would still be stuck paying income tax to the USG- making being a Texas citizen all the more attractive.
“What of military service? Would Texas have to charge the U.S. government for having military installations on Texas soil?”
This would be a key point in negotiations. Texas could charge rent for such installations, or allow them to remain in return for some security arrangement, or a combination of the two. If having them leave was best, such a move and transfer of assets would occur over a prescribed amount of time.
“Could Texans interested in military service even join U.S. armed forces if they weren’t Americans?”
Who the US military recruits is up to them. I see no reason why Texas should prevent a Texas citizen from joining. I would certainly guess that the US would require such an individual to be a US citizen. My question is why would a Texas citizen want to join the US military?
“If the United States had to send the National Guard into Texas to help with a hurricane, would that be a form of foreign aid?”
The US National Guard wouldn’t “be sent” to Texas unless invited by Texas. Is that “foreign aid?” Who cares? That just looks like people helping other people, to me.
“And what of the Texas Legislature? Would it become a national parliament? Would the Texas Constitution need to be rewritten? (That project has been underway for years, by the way, and that is just for state purposes!)”
I see no reason why the Texas Legislature would not just remain….the Texas Legislature. Why would it change? It’s responsibility is to govern the geographic region within the presently defined borders of Texas. Independence wouldn’t change that responsibility. The legislature would probably adjust some present programs and spending priorities, but that would now occur without the constraints and interference of the USG.
Why would the Texas Constitution need to be rewritten? It may need to be amended somewhat to cover the new state responsibility of providing its own security. “State purposes?” What other purpose is there for the Texas state Constitution?
“Would Texas have to establish its own post office system? Would we pay higher international postal rates to get something from Waco to Oklahoma City? Would the mail get there faster?”
I see no reason why the US Mail couldn’t or wouldn’t continue to operate within Texas. If Texas is smart with its new found independence, it would ignore the present US monopoly on mail delivery and open up the service to private competitors. Everyone agrees the service literally forced upon us now is an inefficient dinosaur awaiting extinction. The inevitable success of private delivery firms within Texas would inspire the same action be taken in the US. I don’t know why the USPS would charge international rates when the mail is not traveling any farther than it has up to now. Rates are determined in part by distance traveled, correct?
“Could Texas A&M be in the Southeastern Conference? Could Western Virginia be in the Big 12?”
Why not? Why would anyone object? If the Big 10 decided to add a school in Canada, can you think of a rational reason why they shouldn’t? There are numerous institutions that claim members from around the world. Why not sports teams?
“What would the Texas monetary system be without the U.S. dollar and presidential coins? Might we need new printed paper money? Would Texas governors’ and Alamo heroes’ silhouettes’ adorn our quarters and pennies? What would the U.S. dollar’s exchange rate be with Texas’ dollar?”
According to the Texas Nationalist Movement, Giovanni Capriglione, a Texas state representative, has laid the groundwork for a metals-based debit system that could easily fill all the voids left in the absence of the Federal Reserve. The State of Texas and the University of Texas System Endowment are both repatriating metals from the Federal Reserve over a 5 to 7 year span. The first repository is supposed to be built this year. I would think that any Texas originated currency would be backed, at least in part, by gold, silver, and possibly other precious metals. Any “paper” currency would be “certificates” redeemable for such precious metals, not like the inherently worthless, fiat currency the US Federal Reserve prints.
I would think US dollars would continue to be accepted, at least as long as it remains the world’s reserve currency. If Texas is smart, they will allow any currency used within Texas (creating competition) and allow individuals to decide what is best for them. The exchange rate for any Texas originated currency would be determined by the currency markets, as all other currencies are.
“And what happens to restaurant franchises based in the United States? Can they continue franchise operations in Texas?”
Why not? McDonalds operates in 119 countries. Why not Texas? Why would the Texas government restrict any business in demand by Texans from operating within Texas?
“Would Texas-based companies have to continue their U.S. businesses as international businesses?”
That’s up to the USG. I assume you’re considering the tax implications here. This is something that could be worked out in negotiations. Meanwhile it is imperative that Texas remain a business friendly state/country with minimal taxation. The most successful and financially healthy political collectives in the world have the most economic freedom and the lowest taxation.
“Would Texas finally need a state income tax to finance national operations to support a military, postal system, treasury and park system? Ouch!”
Absolutely not! The issues of a military, postal system, and park system were addressed earlier. A treasury merely receives and deposits state monies, manages investments, and keeps track of budget surpluses and deficits. Why would it take a ghastly income tax to fund that? Heck, if the US actually operated within the confines of its constitution, it wouldn’t need an income tax either!
Of course, the true purpose of an income tax is income redistribution and social engineering. But I’ll leave that for another discussion.
“All this makes my head hurt. Especially when there are no answers.”
Please remember that the finality of Texas independence will not occur overnight. The solutions to such perceived problems would be discussed and negotiated over a considerable period of time- I would estimate over a period of two to five years.
Most of these questions offered by Mr. Harelik are quite relevant and welcomed. However, most can be answered with just a little bit of research and common sense. An additional value to his questions is they illustrate just how heavily involved the state (particularly at the federal level) is in the lives of individuals. Something to consider and not to repeat in an independent Texas.
Mr. Harelik’s head shouldn’t hurt. It should be activated and kicked into gear! Thinking is what it was created for!
“No answers?” I just offered many, all offered on my own time and at no charge. Think of it as payment for the opportunity to read Mr. Harelik’s piece for free. He and everyone else can find many more answers if minimal effort is made.
The perspective of these questions is from a viewpoint locked in the command and control, from-the-top-down method of problem solving. Absent such a restrictive viewpoint, one can then see that when individuals are given the necessary individual freedom to solve problems (and not ordered how to do so at the point of a gun) that there is no limit to their propensity to do so.
Texas independence will offer a less centralized, more bottom-up approach to problem solving necessary for effective, efficient, and cost saving solutions
I realize that many folks will read these questions and immediately surrender to the idea that answering them through problem solving is just too tough a task- that the comfortable status quo is preferable after all, despite its shortcomings.
But for each individual like that there are many more who see such questions as challenges to be met and an opportunity to build a better, freer world using their individual skills, creativity and imagination.
Please remember, Texas suffers no lack of problem solvers. And for every question asked, there is an answer.
Resistance is Mandatory