Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#TXLEGE: Straus' loathsome "economic competitiveness" dog and pony show wastes everybody's time

“The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

“And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore:"
Revelation 18:9-11

[Note: There's no reason to do so, but if you're so inclined you can view the hearing here.]

The house 'select committee' on 'economic competitiveness' had it's final hearing today; we sat in on most of the first three hours before leaving because the whole thing was boring and pointless.

It was the usual mix of buzzwords, cliches, and euphemisms one hears at these sorts of events.  Centrally planned "economic development" via "incentives," "investments" in "workforce development," alongside the omnipresent "diversity" and "inclusion."  Like we said, it was a waste of time.

Chancellor McRaven spoke first.  He claimed concerns about "keeping higher education affordable."  This came from a man whose institution is currently pursuing a tuition hike despite its endowment being worth more than ever.

A lovely gentleman from the Corpus Christi chamber openly spoke in favor of local governments raising tax rates on regular taxpayers to create carve-outs for big businesses.  That was euphemistically titled "local control" and "property tax abatements."  He also called for more secrecy in corporate incentive packages.

For his part, Byron Cook was obsessed with anti-privacy act and pro-illegal immigration hysteria.  Cook asked each witness loaded questions on those subjects.  That being said, Cook did get one representative of the Houston construction industry to openly state "we need cheap labor."

But the greatest act of chutzpah came from the Texas State University chancellor.  He spoke about his "mission" to produce "qualified workers" (which, of course, required "more funding").  If this committee had any self respect, they would have asked if last week's student editorial calling white skin an abomination was consistent with a "mission" to produce "qualified workers."

Bottom Line: Today's hearing was a bastardized hybrid of the latter chapters of Atlas Shrugged, the bar scene from Star Wars, and Chapter 18 of the Book of Revelation...which is a pretty good metaphor for how the Texas house has been run in recent sessions.

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