Texas

The Hypocrisy of “Local Control”

There’s much ado among the big-city Democrats of Texas about bills introduced by Republican legislators to ease the burden of city-imposed regulations. The Democrats like to accuse the Republicans of hypocrisy, saying that Republicans are against the federal government telling the States what to do; therefore (the Democrats say), Republicans should be against the government of Texas telling the cities of Texas what to do.

That’s a superficially appealing argument. But what the Republicans are trying to do is keep the cities of Texas from  telling their citizens and businesses what to do, and what not to do. In Austin, for example:

A property owner must have the city’s permission to remove a tree with a diameter greater than 19 inches. The doom-and-gloom scenario is the preposterous one that homeowners will have their trees cut down, which would — among other things — eventually cause more erosion and flooding. Give me a break. It’s costly to cut down trees, and homeowners appreciate their beauty, shade, and value to prospective buyers. A tree comes down only when it’s diseased or in the way of something essential (e.g., an addition to make room for mother-in-law).

Thin plastic bags and flimsy paper bags have been outlawed (with some exceptions). Why? Because the sight of a relatively small number of loose bags offends the greenies and artsy-craftsy crowd. But damn the inconvenience and expense to consumers, who must now carry their purchases in their hands or buy an approved bag if they leave their own approved bag at home. Picking up loose bags is good therapy for greenies and artsy-craftsy types, and an excellent form of community service for Austin’s ample supply of jailbirds.

The city is the monopoly provider of water and electricity to homes and businesses. It overcharges for utilities in order to subsidize the usual causes deemed “worthy” by the city’s left-wing government. And it doesn’t allow utility customers to shop around and buy gas or electricity from low-cost providers.

The city’s government — populated as it is with true believers in AGW — insists on stringent standards for the energy efficiency of new homes and replacement systems for existing homes (e.g., new windows and doors, new HVAC systems). The city, in other words, isn’t content to let property owners decide between investment and operating costs — the city preempts the decision and makes it for property owners.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Austin, like most other big cities, insists on micro-managing the affairs of the persons and businesses within its jurisdiction. Then, when Republican legislators threaten to deregulate something that the city regulates, local politicians appeal to “local control.”

Well, the ultimate in local control is the freedom to do as one wishes with one’s own property — barring actual criminality, of course. Dictation by Austin’s left-wing city council and the hired hands in the city’s various bureaucracies isn’t that kind of local control — it’s local tyranny.

Republican legislators (or some of them) are seeking to liberate me (and others) from local tyranny. It’s no different in kind than the Thirteenth Amendmentan initiative of the federal government — which voided State laws allowing slavery.

Texas, The New York Times, and Teen Pregnancy

There is something about Texas that irritates lib’ruls — especially those who write for The New York Times. The latest case in point is a column by Gail Collins (“Mrs. Bush, Abstinence and Texas,” Feb. 16, 2011), in which Ms. Collins notes that Texas “ranks third in teen pregnancies — always the children most likely to be in need of extra help. And it is No. 1 in repeat teen pregnancies.” Why? According to Collins, it’s because “Texas is doing as little as possible to help women — especially young women — avoid unwanted pregnancy,” and “it’s extremely tough for teenagers to get contraceptives in Texas.”

There is one thing to be said for lib’rul columnists — they don’t need facts, especially when they “know” that the world’s problems are caused by callous Republicans like Gov. Rick Perry. Ms. Collins was in such a hate-filled rush to blame the high teen pregnancy rate in Texas on its Republican governor (a busy man, he) that she overlooked the real cause of the high rate: the large Hispanic population of Texas.

Here are the facts, according to the 2011 Statistical Abstract, an official publication of the U.S. government (a.k.a. the omniscient, benevolent institution to which lib’ruls bow thrice daily):

Putting two and two together — a trick that Ms. Collins evidently has not mastered — yields the less-than-startling conclusion that teen-pregnancy rates are determined not by the political affiliation of a State’s governor but by the State’s demographic composition.

Incidentally, the demographic determinant is backed (unwittingly) be left-leaning PolitiFact Texas (PFT). Today’s PFT emission merely quibbles with Collins by pointing out that she “incorrectly referred to Texas’ teen birth rate as a pregnancy rate — Texas actually ranks fourth in teen pregnancies, not third.” Which States hold down the number 1, 2, and 3 spots? According to PFT, they are Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Guess what? Those States rank 4th, 5th, and 1st in percentage of population of Hispanic origin.

Get the picture? Gail Collins doesn’t. That’s what happens when your left-wing heart is filled with hate for Republicans.

P.S. to Ms. Collins: If you happen across this post, pass it along to your colleague, Mr. Krugman. He is another factually challenged, hate-filled leftist.

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