Tenthers When They Wanna Be

I guess this is pick on Texas week at Southern Beale’s place.

Texas, you annoy me to no end. Sorry, but you do. Get your shit together, please. First we’ve got ignorant legislators mistaking “rape kits” for abortions, now we have major outrage that FEMA is only covering 75% part of the cost associated with the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion (sorry that was 75% of the state’s costs associated with debris removal and emergency response, not total costs):

Federal officials have so far paid or agreed to pay an estimated $25 million to the state and to affected families after the explosion — about $17 million for emergency work and nearly $8 million in grants and low-interest disaster loans for individuals. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency determined that under the federal disaster law, called the Stafford Act, the $17 million in uninsured public infrastructure damages were within the capabilities of the state and local governments. The state’s request to the president was denied because Texas failed to provide evidence that it “lacked the fiscal resources to address the remaining $17 million,” a FEMA spokesman said.

Mr. Perry has called the state’s strong economy “the envy of the nation.” Texas leads the country in job creation, and the two-year, $197 billion budget recently passed by state lawmakers provided Texans with more than $1 billion in tax relief. The state’s Rainy Day Fund, generated largely by oil and gas production taxes, has about $8 billion. The Legislature approved $2 million for West relief.

If you’re going to pass $1 billion in “tax relief” and deregulate your industries, then I’d say it takes a shit-ton of hubris to then demand the Feds bail you out when your chickens come home to roost.

Let me add, as was reported back in May, the fertilizer plant carried only $1 million in liability insurance, and Texas state law didn’t require any more.

Here’s how it looks from where I sit: Texas has lax laws governing hazardous industrial operations and even worse oversight. The Feds are chronically underfunded because the Tea Party Congress believes in small government, and is therefore ill equipped to do the kind of oversight needed in places like Texas, which are constantly touting their small-government Freedom-n-Founding-Fathers-States-Rights “business friendly” environment. Texas Governor Rick Perry has been going around the country touting that “business friendly” low-regulation, low-tax environment and how wonderful it is.

But when that “business friendly,” “low tax,” “low regulation” environment results in the predictable disaster as we saw in West, Texas? They still want the Feds to bail them out. And by “Feds” let me borrow a page from the Tea Party playbook: that’s you and me, bub. Mah Tax Dollahs.

I don’t think so. This is textbook “privatize the gains, socialize the losses” policy. And this shows just what big whiny babies the Tenthers really are. I seem to recall Rick Perry campaigning for president as a “state’s rights” Tenth Amendment guy, screeching about the Tenth Amendment when it’s something he doesn’t want to do (like Medicare, clean air standards, and education funds) — but when it’s something he wants (like disaster aid) he’s got his hand out like all the rest of them.

I’m just not feeling very sorry for Texas these days. Sorry your town exploded but maybe y’all should have shown some personal responsibility and actually regulated your hazardous industries and maybe even funded some inspectors. Or how about telling the idiots you guys send to Washington, D.C. that maybe funding agencies like OSHA and FEMA and the EPA is a good thing because you may need those folks some day? Instead of all your bluster and swagger about being rugged individualists who don’t need nobody fer nuttin’ and we’re better than y’all and churches can pay for it etc. etc. etc.

You know, that personal responsibility stuff you guys are always talking about? It’s not just for brown people and slutty ladies.

Adding ….

From the story:

Presidents have been generous to Texas when it comes to disaster declarations, despite the anti-Washington sentiments of the state’s political leadership. From 1953 to 2011, Texas received 86 major-disaster declarations, the most of any state in the country, according to a 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service. California received 78, and New York 65.

That’s fine, I don’t have a problem with giving aid where it’s needed. But don’t be flapping your jaws about how evil Washington is and the oppressive hand of the gummint and all that. The Mayor of West, Texas says:

“We don’t ask for a lot of handouts here in West,” he said. “But at the same time, if West is to survive, the support and the aid needs to be available.”

Yes. That’s right, your town may not have asked for a lot of “handouts,” but others in Texas have. And trust me, I have nooo problem with that, none, zip, we all come together to help out when help is needed. But you guys need to stop whining about the requests for aid that come in when natural disasters not the result of corporate negligence and lax oversight are needed — the kinds that come in from some other town in some other place, a liberal place perhaps (*cough*cough*New Orleans*cough*cough*Hurricane Sandy*cough*cough*California wildifres*cough*cough).

And also? If you’re going to refer to FEMA aid as a “handout”? Really I have no time for you. You need a big attitude adjustment.

Texas, get a reality check.


Filed under corporations, Texas

17 responses to “Tenthers When They Wanna Be

  1. Jim in Memphis

    I agree that federal aid should not be sent for this. Texas is more than capable of handling these expenses on their own and it is not a federal issue.

    Off topic, but it seems the comments on the labor post are closed and I was wanting to discuss the Marketplace information you pointed me to. It seems something is backwards in the tax credit they set up for small businesses. The credit is bigger if you pay your employees less. In fact, if you average higher than $50,000 for salaries, then the small business does not get a tax credit for paying for insurance. But, if you pay the employees less than $25,000 then you get a credit for 50% of your health insurance premiums if you pay for their coverage. Seems like they have set up an incentive to keep salaries lower.


    • I close comments after 7 days because of all the comment spam I get hawking penis pills and sexxxxy Taiwanese ladies.

      Anyway, I don’t know about any of that stuff but that is definitely a question worth asking at that meeting I directed you to. Perhaps the point of the tax credit is not to help underwrite high-wage salaried employees who can afford to pay for their own insurance but to help low-wage, hourly workers who are the ones most likely to do without health insurance in the first place.

  2. GregH

    RE; Texas – where is the ghost of H.L. Mencken when we need him?

  3. Basically, they want to have it both ways. It’s a human thing. Although they would probably consider that an insult.

    GregH: He’s having tea with the ghost of Molly Ivins, and they are both tsk!ing.

  4. ThresherK

    From Connecticut, a link to the biggest media examination of the Texas miracle.

    Gov. Perry was invited, but didn’t show. He did whore himself with our felonious ex-governor John Rowland, on the biggest AM radio station in the state. (You couldn’t pay me to listen to that crap.)

    So we’ve got another chickenshit Republican who wants to stand up to China but is afraid of going go toe-to-toe with a couple of people on CT public radio. I never saw that coming!

    • For all Rick Perry’s efforts to lure the guns manufacturers to Texas, even then he failed. They picked South Carolina, instead.

      • Jim in Memphis

        “Maintaining as many employees as we can was really crucial to us being able to make the transition. So we took a vote,” Fiorini said. “You can drive back [to Connecticut] in 12 to 13 hours and you catch a flight from Charlotte . . . People liked the idea of being in striking distance of everyone they’re leaving behind.”

        Not sure I would have used the phrase “striking distance” when discussing the relocation of my gun manufacturing facility.

      • Not sure I would have used the phrase “striking distance” when discussing the relocation of my gun manufacturing facility.


  5. democommie

    “Perhaps the point of the tax credit is not to help underwrite high-wage salaried employees who can afford to pay for their own insurance but to help low-wage, hourly workers who are the ones most likely to do without health insurance in the first place.”

    Sounds about right.

    Of course that might mean giving a fuckton of teh moolah to Walmart if they can figure out a way to game the system.

    You know who Walmart does pay well? Their fucking lieyars.

    • Jim in Memphis

      There is currently a screwed up situation with the immigration bill and how it relates to the Affordable Care Act.. Basically the immigration bill does not allow the newly legalized immigrants to be eligible for ACA so they can be hired full time but not count against you if you do not offer them insurance. So there is an incentive to replace current citizens with newly legalized workers and not have to worry about a penalty for not insuring them.

      • Just GOP fearmongering and party politics. For my readers not in the loop, here’s a backgrounder, and also here:

        Senate Republicans are insisting that immigrants be ineligible for federal health subsidies for five years after they become legal residents — and that’s after the decade-long path to becoming a legal resident, during which they’re also ineligible. House Republicans are considering legislation “that would deny publicly subsidized emergency care to illegal immigrants and force them to purchase private health insurance plans, without access to federal subsidies, as a requirement for earning permanent legal residency.”

        So yes, Republicans are being obstructionist dicks, as usual. This after fearmongering about undocumented immigrants getting free healthcare, which doesn’t exist.

        Surely to win them fans in the Hispanic community. Not.

      • Jim in Memphis

        SB – if you read the statements made by even the Democrats, they all say that the newly legal immigrants will not be covered under the ACA for the 10 years they have to wait to get a green card. This means that they would not count as an employee seeking benifits under the ACA for those employers of more than 50 people that do not offer insurance. Therefore, a business could fire a current citizen, hire a newly legal immigrant and not have to offer them insurance without facing the penalty aspect of the ACA. This is what I was saying above.
        Your quote below is about Republicans wanting to extend the waiting period even further and also insisting that the newly legal immigrants follow the individual mandate called for in the ACA. Of course they do not want to offer the subsidies to them, so it would be a large financial burden on them. I wonder what the financials of the ACA would look like if they did extend the subsidies to these people?

      • … the newly legal immigrants will not be covered under the ACA for the 10 years they have to wait to get a green card.

        Because they are not citizens. They may be “legal” in the sense that they won’t be deported, they are no longer in that gray area of the undocumented, but they are working towards their green card and are therefore not eligible for benefits.

        And please, these are all people who have been living and working here already for years. It’s just not plausible that everyone is going to all of a sudden lose their jobs because immigrants are suddenly cheaper because you don’t have to pay their healthcare. I mean, that’s already happening here every damn day in certain job sectors.

        Just more irrational fearmongering from the right.

  6. democommie

    ” Therefore, a business could fire a current citizen, hire a newly legal immigrant and not have to offer them insurance without facing the penalty aspect of the ACA.”

    And do you know what this would prove? That said company is run by a piece of shit who places value on cash only. A real fucking asshole would do something like that–the overwhelming majority of those who currently call themselves Tea Partiers and a lot of old line republicans.

    • But they’re not “newly legal” immigrants! They’re “on the path…”

      This BS got three pinocchios from the Fact Checker. It’s nonsense started by Ted Cruz and repeated all over Faux Noise.

      Cruz is off the mark here. He says there will be a “huge incentive.” But there is literally no incentive — unless Cruz expects companies to routinely break the law when looking for potential hires.
      In any case, the pool of companies that could even, by coincidence, possibly take advantage of this quirk is too small to be even worthy of notice.

      Cruz should have thought twice before he tweeted.


  7. GregH

    OOOOHHHHH! You said the D-F word…and you were talking about Ted Cruz! Uh-oh! (That guy makes Rand Paul look like a bridge-playing, Lutheran CPA from Cedar Rapids, IA.)