Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some sanity in an error of insanity

Of all the reports, accounts, and opinions I've read about the current state of affairs in Arizona, one of the more balanced pieces appeared in the SFGate today by Debra Sanders. America is being divided -- hence the title "America's Political Grand Canyon" -- by the politics surrounding Arizona's new immigration law.

Let me lead with what should be an unremarkable observation: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer did not write federal immigration laws that require permanent residents to carry green cards, employers to check documentation or limit the number of legal immigrants admitted each year. Washington did. But because Washington has failed to enforce those rules, Brewer signed into law a bill passed by the Arizona legislature to beef up and expand enforcement of federal immigration law.
This is something similar to in a recent post by me:  Inaction by the Feds caused an over-reaction in Arizona. This may be tried in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry has been asking for federal help for more than a year.

There are always two sides to each story, it seems:
Why alienate Latinos who are good Arizonans when local police already can notify the feds after they arrest illegal immigrants?

By the same token, supporters of the bill feel alienated, too. Their belief in enforcing duly enacted federal laws earns them the tag of "racist" - whether they are or not.

Opponents of the new law drew swastikas on the Arizona Capitol, yet somehow pundits aren't asking whether they are inciting violence. Some critics have likened the bill to the "Your papers, please" authoritarianism of Nazi Germany. Please. If you think you shouldn't have to carry identification, don't travel abroad. And don't drive.

Then there's San Francisco's response - calling for a boycott.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera believes the Arizona law is "unconstitutional," and he may well be right. He was righteous when he told me, "We all know that racial profiling happens within the law enforcement community" - not only for arrests, but also when questioning innocent people.

I still have to ask: Why should San Francisco support a boycott of another government? Don't city politicians have their hands full governing this place, without telling other politicians how to run their turf?
One of her conclusions: This is how America gets torn apart.

This article is fair and balanced. We need more of this today, now more than ever. You can find the entire article here.

If for some reason, you don't like the SFGate article, try this one from the Los Angeles Times.

On a side-bar, most media reports of this issue are very intellectually dishonest. First of all, the law is not anti-immigrant, but anti-illegal-immigrant. A small, but important distinction, and the mis-reporting is driving me crazy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Burn this racist city down!

The message to "burn this racist city down" was reportedly spray-painted on a Phoenix sidewalk. Protesters in Phoenix are arrested for throwing rocks and bricks at police and 12 are arrested in Chicago for blocking a street.

Real nice. And it's the Tea Parties that have the left and the MSM worried about violence. No Tea Party demonstration or protest matched what is going on in Arizona and elsewhere.

But we should be more understanding, because it really does seem that the left in this country truly gets deranged over this subject of illegal aliens streaming across our borders. As opposed to "undocumented workers." So much nicer, makes you feel good all over, a tingly feeling running up your leg (right, Chris Matthews?)

Leo Banks, who covers the border for Tuscon Weekly, offers some context in an article for American Thinker:
This isn't your father's illegal immigration, when polite farm workers offered to do chores in return for some water and a sandwich as they walked north. Today, the drug cartels have taken over the people-smuggling business. They own the trails into the country and dominate the land, the same way urban gangs control neighborhoods...

Along the Chiricahua Corridor smuggling route north and east of Douglas, Arizona, residents have been screaming for some time about break-ins, threats, intimidation, vandalism, and home invasions. But the feds did nothing to keep citizens safe. Instead, they talked amnesty.
Then, a highly respected rancher in Arizona is gunned down by a suspected drug smuggler, still at large, presumably in Mexico. The State of Arizona reacts by saying they are going to enforce federal law.

Now, the Hispanic News in Tuscon says:
Arizona SB 1070, which will become Arizona law 90 days after the state legislature’s present session comes to an end, will bring havoc on Arizona directly turning Arizona into a Gestapo state violating the civil rights of Arizona Hispanics by significantly increasing police profiling of everyone with a brown face.
Gestapo? This shows no understanding of what really happened in Germany in the 1930s. Stopping illegal immigration (of all races, not just Hispanic) and its corresponding horrendous crime rates, is the motivation. The Nazis had different motivations.

Crime in Arizona is out of control. Phoenix is the number two kidnapping capitol of the world, behind number one Mexico City.

But keep crying racism. It won't do any good. If the federal government would get off its ass and do it's job, this would not be an issue.

And we have the President of Mexico weighing in as well. He should be ashamed, but he has economic motivations. The measure, which will make it a crime under state law to be an illegal immigrant, “opens the door to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement,” Calderon said.

So what would happen if an American citizen was in Mexico illegally? Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:
  • Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished. (Article 117)
  • Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. (Article 118)
  • Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison (Articles 119, 120 and 121). Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in Mexico — such as working with out a permit — can also be imprisoned.
Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,
  • A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally.” (Article 123)
  • Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)
  • Foreigners who “attempt against national sovereignty or security” will be deported. (Article 126)
Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals under the law:
  • A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison. (Article 127)
  • Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into Mexico will be fined. (Article 132)
Ah, so if the shoe fits, you'd better wear it, huh El Jeffe?

Hat tip to Cassio Fiano for some of this material.

Monday, April 26, 2010

One bad piece of legislation, followed by another?

I'm all for health care reform, and I wanted to get that said up front. But the more I learn about the current attempt, the more I think it is a bad piece of legislation and will have negative consequences. This happens quite often with government programs. Even the government's Medicaid office agrees. You can read about this here at MSNBC, or here at Fox.

My first experience with governmental aid programs was back in the late 1980s. Our next-door nieghbors were having financial problems, as well as martial problems. They weren't bad people, just having a problem getting their act together. The husband moved out and the wife and two kids whet on whatever welfare was called at the time -- I think it was a combination of programs.

As they worked on their problems, the husband moved back in. Then the government swooped in because they had heard or suspected (from where I do not know) that the husband was back in the house. If there were to continue receiving aid, the husband could not live there. I will now admit I lied to the agency worker, that the husband only visited, but wasn't staying there. It did not seem right to split a family up like this...but we know this has been happening for decades.

Now we face financial "reform." I'm no expert on the mattter, but I'm nervous about the outcome. More than 1,000 pages long, the new bill has to be filled with pork and handouts for special interests. I suspect it will do more damage than good.

But don't take my word. Read John Mauldin's take on it in his article First, Let's Kill the Angels and decide for yourself. A short excerpt:
When you draft a 1,300-page "financial reform" bill, various special interests get language tucked into the bill to help their agendas. However, the unintended consequences can be devastating. And the financial reform bill has more than a few such items...a new problem has surfaced that has major implications for the US economy and our ability to grow it. For all intents and purposes, the bill will utterly devastate angel investing in the US. And as we will see, that is not hyperbole. For a Congress and administration that purports to be all about jobs, this section of the bill makes less than no sense. It is a job and innovation killer of the first order.
There's more, and you should read it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Arizona: Is it an over-reaction to Federal inaction?

The recent law in Arizona is called racist. But I hardly think race is the motivation. For those who live in border states, and even more so for those who live along the border, Federal inaction has now caused an over-reaction to the problem of illegals and the ongoing drug wars.

Are we tired yet of playing the race card? This does not solve anything.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 70% of likely voters in Arizona approve of the legislation, while just 23% oppose it.

And for Obama to direct his people to investigate this law, I don't think it's his responsibility. What is he going to do. He can't repeal the law. This is up to the courts. He claims it might violate illegal immigrant's civil rights. But what about the rights of citizens who have to support illegals and put up with the crime that a small majority of these illegals perpertrate on U.S. residents. And it hurts our legal immigrants as much as citizens.

This is not a matter of immigration reform, but of enforcing the laws of the land. The last several Presidents have not lived up to their reponsibilities. Congress makes the law. The President is supposed to enforce it. If the law is bad, change it. But the President doesn't have the right to say, "I like this law, so I'll enforce it. But I don't like this one, so I'll ignore it."

But hey, that's just the Constitution.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Obama Youth Corps

It can't happen here. The hell it can't.

Have you checked out the latest on what Obama and his minions are doing behind your back? This is in addition to his Organize for America campaign, which is setting up TRAINING CAMPS for education in "political methods."

In a bill that received very little MSM coverage, the house last month passed by a 321-105 margin The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, known as the GIVE Act. Later that month, it passed the Senate and was signed into law.

Under section 6104 of the bill, entitled “Duties,” in subsection B6, the legislation states that a commission will be set up to investigate, “Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

Section 120 of the bill also discusses the “Youth Engagement Zone Program” and states that “service learning” will be “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.”

“The legislation, slated to cost $6 billion over five years, would create 175,000 “new service opportunities” under AmeriCorps, bringing the number of participants in the national volunteer program to 250,000. It would also create additional “corps” to expand the reach of volunteerism into new sectors, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps and Veterans Service Corps, and it expands the National Civilian Community Corps to focus on additional areas like disaster relief and energy conservation,” reports Fox News.

The Senate is also considering a similar piece of legislation known as the “Serve America Act,” which also includes language about “Youth Engagement Zones”.

Fears about Obama’s plans to create involuntary servitude were first stoked in July 2008, when Obama told a rally in Colorado Springs, “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”

Despite denials that Obama plans to institute a mandatory program of national service, his original website stated that Americans would be “required” to complete “50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year”. The text was only later changed to state that Americans would be “encouraged” to undertake such programs.

In addition, Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, publicly stated his intention to help create “universal civil defense training” in 2006.

Rahm Emanuel describes the Obama Youth Corps in enthusiastic detail. Apparently it is a very serious defense organization not associated with the current military. The Obama Youth Corps will counterbalance that failed degenerate US Military apparatus which is known by the Obama administration to be manipulated by greedy capitalists.

Now there is the City Year program, all dressed in their brown shirts red coats. And the Pledge of Allegiance and school prayer is under attack. What's next? How far will it go?

Who makes sure it doesn't go too far? Well, sometimes the little shit like refusing to fly the colors will tell a story about what a man believes.

The writing is on the wall. The truth is out there.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Contrary to popular belief, there are some people who label themselves as conservatives, libertarians, Republicans -- you know, those knuckle-dragging ignoramuses who clutch to their bibles and guns, spew toxic waste, are racists and pretty much your trailer trash citizen -- who actually prefer a cleaner environment.

Happy Earth Day to all you crazy liberals and tree huggers.

I think there should be a custom in Texas that if you see someone throw trash out of their car, you get to shoot them. But hey, that's just me. Or how about those old cars spewing black or white or grey smoke from their tailpipes. Can I run them off the road? Probably not, huh? Hey, it's my air too, ashhole.

This year we planted 10 new trees on our property, a new record for a single year. This makes about 40 new trees over the last decade, if memory serves. Twelve of these will be huge Cedar Elms, which can grow to 50 feet. And we got some maples, crepe myrtles, Mexican plums, sweet gums, mimosa's, among what has grown natually.

Over the last 3 years, we've spent about $20,000 on energy upgrades to the house -- hi-grade foil on the roof (we don't have an attic), new shingles and siding, new windows. In our harsh climate, this may save about 5-10 percent of our costs, which won't pay off until after I'm dead and gone. But the 40-year-old house is a little more comfortable, which was our primary motivator.

I drive a Buick, one of those big old Detroit models. GPA: 34 highway, 24 city. Not too bad. I traded my Cadillac (26 Highway, 18 city) for the Buick when the Cadillac started showing signs of decay.

Before I came along, it was common practice to use the woods as  a dumping ground -- hey, where else are you going to put the old shingles from the chicken coop or the old tractor oil -- but I put a stop to that right away and eventually I'll get it cleaned up.

I'm still trying to get my wife to lower the gas water heater temp by 5 degrees, but she just loves a very hot bath, and we are heating well water, which tends to be very cold from 85 feet underground.

When I first moved to Texas 17 years ago, I did noticed the lack of litter on the highways. The state was running a "Don't Mess with Texas" campaign, which seemed to work. Wish they'd do it again. I guess they are too many people coming in from around the country to make it work. I don't know why people got lazy again. Someone told me the prisoners from the county jail will take care of it.

I generally support environmental causes, if they are reasonable and don't hurt people. In my book, people come first, not some little 1-inch California fish. Screw the farmers and their families, right? Got to protect that little fish. But since we all are human, some of us will go to extremes.

Ever really studied what the environment was like in London in 1600? It might make you think hard about "how bad we have it today."

Every day should be earth day. Let's just not go off the deep end about it, and I don't want or need the government looking over my shoulder. And if someone tells me I've got to reduce my "carbon footprint" one more time, the footprint you see on your behind won't be carbon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A working laboratory for health-care

According to the New York Times, the liberal bastion of the elite east coast, the state's health insurance plan, which is similar to Obamacare, isn't working as well as planned, and has some unforeseen consequences.

New York’s insurance system has been a working laboratory for the core provision of the new federal health care law — insurance even for those who are already sick and facing huge medical bills — and an expensive lesson in unplanned consequences. Premiums for individual and small group policies have risen so high that state officials and patients’ advocates say that New York’s extensive insurance safety net for people like Ms. Welles is falling apart.
I have yet to hear or read one good thing about the U.S. plan that will actually help our middle and lower class people.

But this is how it's done:
“In this new marketplace that we envision, this requirement that everybody be covered, that should draw better, healthier people into the insurance pool, which should bring down rates,” said Mark Hall, a professor of law and public health at Wake Forest University. But he added, “You have to sort of take a leap of faith that that’s going to happen.”
A leap of faith? Is this how we plan to run this country? You're planning on helping people with programs that you hope will work BY A LEAP OF FAITH?

This is how our country is being run. You think the last recession was bad? Hold on. It will get worse unless we put a stop to this madness now.

Am I missing something, or have about half the people in this country gone nuts?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My liberal friend

I came across an article entitled "My Liberal Friend," and it was so well-written and to the point about the differences between American values and leftist-socialist values, that I wanted to mention it here and encourage anyone with an open mind to read it.

For example, on liberal "tolerance," Nancy Morgan writes that her friend will allow no dissent:
Though conservatives have yet to be included under the leftist’s much vaunted ‘tolerance’ and ‘multicultural’ umbrellas, Pam has decided that she will tolerate her renegade friend, as long as that friend doesn’t publicly air any conservative views. Which is becoming a problem for our friendship.
And of course her friend thinks that conservative ideas are based on hate, which any sane person knows is not the truth.
Pam wastes no time analyzing my weekly articles as being motivated solely by hate and 'lacking in compassion.' She has adopted the proven tactic of continually forcing me to proving a negative. And I just don't want to do that anymore, especially since I have lost respect for her.
With great regret, I realize Pam has become like so many of her fellow leftists. Willing to defend to the death leftists opinions (that are formed by others) and dismissing out of hand any facts to the contrary. If I don't agree with her, why, there must be something wrong with me. This attitude is not conducive to friendship.
You can read the rest at RightBias.

Golf is all the rage

Remember the rage over Pres. Bush playing golf? If you can remember, let this remind you.

If that ain't a case of BDS, I don't know...

There wasn't a liberal out there that wasn't on the front line condeming Bush for playing golf. In 8 years, he played 24 times.

So where is the outrage now? In just over a year, Obama has been on the links 32 times.

Oh that's right! If you're a liberal or a democrat, you can do whatever the fuck you want, because the ends justifies the means. If you're conservative or Repulican, watch out. Nothing you do will be right.

This is called a double standard, and is one of the problems with political discourse today. You can't have honest debate if one or either of the sides is dripping deeply of hypocracy.

Just another example of the bull shit out there.

(I'm now waiting for the Bush-haters to come comment. You can then get a glimpse into liberal insanity)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is government too powerful, out of control?

The Huge, Hidden Tax You Pay for Government
The Code of Federal Regulations is now over 157,000 pages long. Last year alone, 3,503 new rules went into effect -- that's a new regulation every 2 1/2 hours, day and night, seven days a week. Federal rules cover everything from pork rind imports to farm animal weighing procedures to what colors are allowed for surgical stitches.

There Oughta Be a Law
This article is in full compliance with all applicable state, federal, and municipal regulations.

DOE's Search and Seizure
The feds are coming to inspect your home if you want to sell it, according to regulations buried in cap-and-trade legislation and standards decreed by the Secretary of Energy. But there are numerous legal difficulties inherent in DOE "inspections."

Pelosi sends chill
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered a most disturbing promise to PBS’s Jim Lehrer on Wednesday, proudly announcing that the methods employed and nearly employed to force ObamaCare on the American people (formerly the most free people on the planet) would, from this day forward, serve as her “model for future reforms.”

Congress aims to ban chewing tobacco from majors
Chew on this: Congress is putting pressure on baseball to ban major leaguers from using smokeless tobacco during games. Smoking tobacco while in uniform and in public view is already banned, and don't get Tigers manager Jim Leyland going on that one.

Obama’s new tax on…Rainwater!?
Would President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency really force Americans to pay a tax on “rainwater runoff” from homes and small businesses?

Jay Ambrose: Democrats continue campaign against individual liberty
It's an absurdity that the federal government has the right to make Americans buy health insurance, but what's worse is the ha, ha, ha of the left that free people making their own decisions about the way they live is selfishness or shibboleth
Obama will now have his private army
Of course, SEC. 430, Establishing a Ready Reserve Corps. lists in detail the commissioned Regular Corps and Ready Reserve Corps that will be trained up, fired up, lined up and controlled by Obama himself. Naturally the purpose for this army is to stand by in case they are needed at short notice for a national health emergency or emergency response missions.

Big Government Crushes Christians
Massive spending means massive government - a system that reaches into virtually every corner of our lives. From house loans to student loans to light bulbs to toilets and even to the cars we buy and drive, we feel the government's direct hand. Corporate executives worry about "pay czars," doctors worry about government-set prices for their services, and we all wonder if the Internal Revenue Service will be monitoring our health insurance choices.

When George W. Bush was president, the ACLU and its liberal allies were driven nearly berserk by the possibility that the FBI might know what library books Americans had borrowed. Under the terms of the health care legislation that President Obama signed into law [on March 24], the IRS will have access to all of our most intimate medical records -- and not one peep from the ACLU or anyone else on the Democratic side of the aisle in either the House or the Senate.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The sad story of Initiative 960

It's a simple story actually, but one you wouldn't think you'd hear coming from these United States of America...until recently. Like the Democratic Congress passing a bill it didn't understand and the majority of voters -- however small -- didn't want, the democrats in the state legislature in Washington state recently thumbed their noses at voters.

Voters in Washington state passed I-960, as it's known, about two years ago to ensure that the state goverment couldn't raise taxes on them without a 2/3 majority in both houses, or by a referendum by the voters.

But times got tough. The state government overspent, and now they face a $2.35 billion budget deficit. So the Democrat-controlled Legislature repeals I-960 (which is allowed via a provision that this can be done after 2 years, and is more complicated than I can put down here).

In order to balance their budget, along with some $700 million in budget cuts, the Democrat-controlled Legislature is going to raise taxes on the fine people of Washington state by $780 million (that's $487.50 for each of Oregon's 1.6 million workers). The rest they think they'll get by begging at the federal trough.

So basically the State Legislature says to voters: "Fuck you. Pay up. Just because we can't effectively manage your money, you get to pay anyway." Nice, isn't it?

If anyone thinks the "liberal, progressive" democratic party is all about the power of the people, you're an idiot. The Republicans have become bad enough. But the dems are worse, much worse.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

National Defense: Down the Drain

History will show that Obama's national defense policy is like Carter's, only on steriods. Oh, it's all designed to make you feel good, thinking that now everyone must love us. But from a study of the historical record, this feel-good policy only comes back to bite you on the ass.
  • No missile defense for Eastern Europe, or any part of Europe for that part. I'm sure there won't be one for the U.S. Why we don't build systems to defend us from rogue missiles, I'll never know. Man, if there's one nuclear-tipped missile headed for our eastern seaboard, I want to shoot that fucker down. I don't want to wait and launch a missile of my own. Shoot theirs down, and not only have you defended the nation (President's first responsibility), but you now have the political leverage.
  • Suddenly, there is no war on terror. It's overseas contingency operations. So we're back to fighting terrorism as a law enforcement problem (which is reactive, not proactive) than a military problem (which tends to be more proactive, or preventative).

  • Next, sign a treaty with Russia to reduce our nuclear capability. And Russia gets to pull out if we start building defensive missile systems (I guess that was the reason we gave up Eastern Russia).

  • Now, Islamic terrorism is a thing of the past. Or at least we have to call it something else, namely in our defense policy documents. But you know what? Call a rose by any other name, and it's still a rose.
Recently, just this week, Obama made another change to our national defense policy. According to the American Thinker:
It says something profoundly disturbing that our president would base a nuclear strategy on the feel good notion that we are "setting an example" for the rest of the world to follow. Did it ever penetrate his skull that the very nations that threaten us - never mind Iran and North Korea which he exempts from the new policy - could care less about the US "good example?" What towering ignorance and breathtaking arrogance would lead a president to abandon the notion that we should forget about "good examples" and just protect the country?
And now, Obama advisers plan to remove terms such as "Islamic radicalism" from a document outlining national security strategy and will use the new version to emphasize that the U.S. does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terrorism, according to the AP.

The U.S. is now in appeasement mode. This is very dangerous, and is based on a false assumption, rather then real-politik.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This is where we're headed

Note the problem the Brits are having with their nationalized health-care system. Seems not all cancer patients are getting the medicines they need to treat their diseases. So the government increased taxes to cover the cost. From Health Insurance and Protection, from the UK:

All cancer patients would have access to the cancer drugs they need under a Conservative government, the Tories are claiming, thanks to a £200m cancer drugs fund [sic] created by raising the threshold for employers national insurance contributions.
The party claims that this policy will ensure that no cancer patient is refused access to drugs that have been licensed since 2005, if their doctors say they need them. Currently drugs that are licensed may still not be available on the NHS, if the national institute for health and clinical excellence (NICE) deems them to be not clinically or cost effective.
Note that they have a national institute making decisions about who gets a drug, and who doesn't. Not necessarily the doctor, nor the patient. And for all of this, the average Brit pays about 11 percent more of his smaller average salary in taxes than does a worker in the U.S.

This is where the Democrats want to take us to. But I think the majority of Americans were thinking something different when they heard "Health Care Reform."

Monday, April 5, 2010

How does Texas do it?

Texas has a lower unemployment rate than most states, and nearly 2 percent below the national average of -- still -- 9.7 percent. Our housing market here has also not experienced the shakeup going on around the country. Reports the Washington Post:
It's one of the great mysteries of the mortgage crisis: Why did Texas -- Texas, of all places! -- escape the real estate bust? Only a dozen states have lower mortgage foreclosure and default rates, and all of them are rural places such as Montana and South Dakota, where they couldn't have a real estate boom if they tried. Texas's 3.1 million mortgage borrowers are a breed of their own among big states with big cities. Fewer than 6 percent of them are in or near foreclosure, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association; the national average is nearly 10 percent.
The land in Texas might look an awful lot like its Sun Belt sisters Arizona (with 13 percent of its borrowers in foreclosure) or Nevada (19 percent) -- flat and generous in letting real estate developers sprawl where they will. Texas was even the home base of two of the nation's biggest bubble-era homebuilders, Centex and D.R. Horton. Texan subprime borrowers do especially well compared with their counterparts elsewhere. The foreclosure rate among subprime borrowers in Texas, at less than 19 percent, is the lowest of any state except Alaska.
Part of the reason is that Texas didn't experience the stratospheric run-ups in home prices that other states did. On average, the home-resale prices of the 20 metro areas in the Case-Shiller Home Price Index peaked in 2006 after more than doubling since 2000. In Dallas, one of the 20 areas, they rose just 25 percent, gradually, and have barely declined. But there is a broader secret to Texas's success, and Washington reformers ought to be paying very close attention. If there's one thing that Congress can do to help protect borrowers from the worst lending excesses that fueled the mortgage and financial crises, it's to follow the Lone Star State's lead and put the brakes on "cash-out" refinancing and home-equity lending.

No wonder places like California and Michigan are losing residents, and Texas in gaining residents.