What Texas should focus on (other than seceding)

The petition to peacefully grant the state of Texas permission to withdraw from the United States of America has 109,119 signatures at the time of writing. That’s 84,119 signatures more than needed to qualify for a response from the White House.

Clearly, there is a strong-ish movement for the state of Texas to become Texas the country.

Seeing as so many people care about it, it stands to reason that the biggest problem facing Texas’ long-term prosperity is the fact that it’s part of the United States, right?

The petition states that it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union thanks to its balanced budget and its economy, which is the 15th largest in the world. So long as those claims remain true, thousands of people in Texas are confident in their state’s ability to be independent.

It’s too bad that they choose to ignore a number of state-level issues that are more troublesome for Texas than the fact that Obama was reelected.

Let’s look at some indications that Texas won’t succeed after its improbable secession..

It’s hard to imagine a functional, successful country without a well educated population; welp, too bad for Texas.

According to the U.S. Census, 79.9 percent of the adult population in Texas held a high school degree in 2010 — the lowest percentage for any state in the nation.

That doesn’t mean that Texas is the dumbest state in the U.S. (and I’m not insinuating anything by choosing to include that remark), but it doesn’t bode well for the future of Texas R&D.

It seems the educational failings start rather young, because — also according to the Census — average reading test scores for 8th and 4th grade students in the state of Texas for 2009 fell below the national average for students performing at basic levels.

Texas, however, does alright on the math side (give credit where credit is due).

Maybe the low graduation rates and sub-par reading performance have something to do with the amount of money educators in Texas are paid. According to the Census, the average salary for an elementary or secondary school teacher in Texas in 2009 was $47,200. The national average for the same year was $54,300.

Obamacare, a law that Texas and its Governor, Rick Perry, seem to hate with a fervor, is another sticking point for the secessionist movement, but it might not be the worst thing for Lone Star State.

As we all know by now, Obamacare makes health insurance a tax, effectively ensuring that all U.S. citizens have health insurance. People in Texas don’t like this.

It’s hard to understand why, seeing as Texas has the greatest percentage (26 percent, actually) of uninsured residents for any state in the country.

Additionally, Texas has fewer doctors per 100,000 citizens than 40 other states, averaging just one for every 467 citizens, and is one of 12 states with an obesity rate higher than 30 percent (the U.S. Census is wonderful).

So Texas has lots of unemployed citizens, fewer doctors and a higher obesity rate than can be found in most other states. Seems like Texas could use some help on the healthcare side of things.

If looming health care disasters and poor education statistics aren’t enough to make 109,119 Texans rethink their choice to support secession, then maybe the fact that 213 of Texas’ 254 counties are currently designated natural disaster areas due to extended drought will.

That’s right. It’s a particularly tough time for Texan farmers. Good luck feeding yourself, Texas! Try not to get conquered by your neighbors.