Petition to Let Texas Secede: Lowdown on the Hoedown

There's been a fair bit of buzz on a petition to let Texas secede from the Union.  The logic is (a) they want to, and (b) the rest of us would be better off without them.  It's hilarious nonsense, of course, but let's look at why.

Is it Practical?

Texas receives more money from the federal government than it pays.  The petition says Texas manages to balance its own budget, but that's only because it gets additional money from the feds; $148 billion in 2005.  If Texas were to secede, it would have an instant budget deficit of almost $2 billion.

Will it Ever Happen?  

The online petition has received almost 120,000 signatures, which is impressive at first glance.  But a quick perusal showed that the vast majority of signatories were non-Texans.  Obviously if Texas is to secede, it should be at the will of its own people, just like last time.  And while 120k seems like a large number, it's less than half of one percent of the population of Texas.  

Plus, bombastic ultra-conservative governor Rick Perry has already said he won't support secession.  (Ironically, neither did Sam Houston.)

Wouldn't it Be Nice?

On the other hand, some nice things would happen if Texas seceded.  They'd lose their representation in Congress, which means the Democratic majority in the Senate would automatically increase by two.  People have been worrying about Obama tapping Kerry to replace Clinton, which would erode the Democrats' thin margin in the Senate.  Having Texas secede would certainly help.  Texas' US Representatives would also be sent home, including 23 Republicans and 9 Democrats.  That would help narrow the Republicans' majority in the House, but not quite enough to tip the balance.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, this is a funny anecdote that probably won't even warrant a footnote in the history of the United States.  It's a comparatively small group of whiners who only think it's fun to play if they're winning.  Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I guess we'd have to move NASA Mission Control, too.  The good news: we already have backup facilities in Alabama and Florida.