A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Poverty Grows In GOP "Miracle" State

(The image above was found at the site called Vintage Texas Blog.)

The GOP loves to brag about the state of Texas, where there hasn't been a Democrat elected (or appointed) to a statewide post in twenty years. They like to call this bright red state an economic "miracle". And it is true that for the rich and corporations, Texas is a pretty good place to live and do business. There is no income tax at all, and most of the stae's income comes from a sales tax (where the poor pay a much larger percentage of their income than the rich do). It is also an anti-union "right to work" state, which allows corporations to abuse their workers without much recourse. And many of those corporations don't even have to pay property taxes.

But if you are rich (or a corporate "person"), then the state is not so good. Texas has the largest number and highest percentage of workers working for the minimum wage (or below it). And Texas has the largest number of people who are not covered by any kind of health insurance. It should be no surprise then that Texas also has one of the highest rates of poverty in the nation. It 2011, poverty rose again in the Lone Star State as 214,000 more people fell into poverty. That brought the number of Texans living in poverty to more than 4.6 million. And the only reason that number is not higher is because there are a lot of families with two low-wage workers -- families that would join the poverty ranks if either of those workers lost their job.

There are at least 18.5% of all Texans who are living in poverty now (or nearly one out of every five people). That's a full 3 percentage points above the national average for the United States. That's a pretty sad commentary on the state that is supposed to be the showcase for Republican economic policies. Texas may be a wonderful place for rich people and corporations, but for many millions of ordinary Texas citizens it is a hard place to make a decent living.

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