Manipulating Consumers

During its regular session, the Texas Legislature revived a program that offers a tax rebate of $2,500 for the purchase of an electric car. This is on top of the $7,500 tax credit offered by the federal government. While I am certainly in favor of lowering taxes, these programs are intended to manipulate consumers.

Much […]

Mayors Versus Freedom

On Monday, Gov. Gregg Abbott warned that local governments were threatening property rights. As examples, he cited tree regulations, permitting, and property taxes. The following day, eighteen mayors, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner submitted a letter to the governor asking for a meeting.

In part, the letter states:

Harmful proposals such as revenue and spending […]

A Victory over Evil

For three years, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) investigated Spec’s Wine, Spirits, and Finer Foods, the state’s largest liquor retailer. At the conclusion of its investigation, the TABC sought to pull the licenses for Spec’s 164 stores, unless the company paid a fine of $713 million.

The TABC alleged that Spec’s had accepted millions […]

A Dictator in Dallas

In late May, one of the items on the agenda of the Dallas City Council was a proposed settlement with a property owner regarding an eminent domain case. Councilwoman Sandy Greyson spoke against the settlement,

I’m not blaming anyone that we’re settling this case, but it’s just infuriating that if you’re rich enough you can […]

California (and the Chronicle) Vs. Texas

Last week, the Chronicle announced that California is winning in its rivalry with Texas. Over the past year, the paper reports, the Golden State has outperformed the Lone Star State. Wages grew faster, the economy grew more, and unemployment was lower in California. Perhaps, the article opines, it wouldn’t be so bad for Texas to […]

Protecting Fairy Tales

A recent piece in the Chronicle raised the question: What is a sincerely held religious belief? The question was raised in the context of the Legislature’s ongoing efforts to protect religious freedom. The article offers no answer, but instead illustrates the problems that arise when one attempts to protect fairy tales.

For example, the article […]

The Ideology of Texas Republicans, Part 5

To Rick Perry, and many conservatives, Progressive policies are guided by the “shifting sands of moral relativism.” Moral relativism, he has written, “would remove any mention of God from the public square, would sanitize our society of bright lines dividing right and wrong, and would elevate doing what ‘feels good’ as a moral imperative higher […]

The Ideology of Texas Republicans, Part 4

Many on the right, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, argue that the economic examples provided by Texas will ultimately sway voters to reject an intrusive, interventionist government. As he writes in Fed Up!,

In order to find like-minded people, under federalism Americans can exercise true liberty and ‘vote with their feet’—choose to leave a climate […]

The Ideology of Texas Republicans, Part 3

The Texas Republican Party platform of 2010 called for an outright ban on pornography: “We urge more stringent legislation to prohibit all pornography including virtual pornography and operation of sexually–oriented businesses.” While expressing support for the principle of free speech in theory, Texas Republicans seek to limit free speech in practice.

Free speech means exactly […]

The Ideology of Texas Republicans, Part 2

In Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, the United States Supreme Court overturned a Texas anti-sodomy law that banned certain voluntary, consensual acts between individuals of the same sex. The “Homosexual Conduct” law made it illegal for an individual to engage in “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.” The statute had been […]