Complacent Texas taxpayers have become captives of their rent-seeking civil servants.

In Jonathan Swift’s classic fable, Gulliver’s Travels, a shipwreck maroons Lemuel Gulliver, the ill-fated crew’s sole survivor, on a remote island (Lilliput) inhabited by people only six inches tall. Upon reaching shore, the exhausted Gulliver falls asleep, unaware of the island’s tiny occupants. When he awakens, he finds himself helplessly bound by a web of string, with which the puny creatures—called Lilliputians—have tied him to the ground. So it is that highly focused public employees can come to dominate the much larger group of taxpayers they supposedly serve, especially if—like Gulliver—the taxpayers fail to apprehend the threat until it is too late.

For the purposes of this argument, Texas is Lilliput, and the 27 million residents of the state are Gulliver. The nearly 1.5 million state and local government employees in Texas are the Lilliputians. The Lone Star State has more state and local employees per capita than Illinois or California. Approximately 325,000 of these employees work for the state of Texas; approximately 1.2 million work for local governments (cities, counties, school districts, and other “political subdivisions” of the state).

Texas is a fast-growing right-to-work state with a robust economy. Only 4 percent of the workforce in Texas belongs to a labor union, less than half the national average. Therefore, the common perception is that organized labor is weak in Texas. Moreover, Texas voters are overwhelmingly conservative. Both houses of the Texas legislature have lopsided Republican majorities, and for decades, only Republicans have been elected to statewide office. The “Texas Model” of low taxes, business-friendly regulation, and comprehensive tort-reform legislation is key to the state’s current prosperity, as is its ban on collective bargaining by public employees (a condition that has contributed substantially to California’s economic decline).

Read More at City Journal

  • “Mark Pulliam is one of the few truly fearless, devastatingly incisive, original and yet deeply learned commentators on the contemporary legal scene.  His new blog is a welcome addition and a splendid and provocative resource.”
    Professor Stephen B. Presser
    Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus, Northwestern University School of Law
  • “Mark Pulliam is the Walt Longmire of legal conservatism. You don't want to be on the wrong end of his pen. His commentary on law, politics, and policy is not to be missed.”
    Richard Reinsch II
    Director of Law and Liberty, Liberty Fund, Inc.
  • “Mark's blistering criticism of the foibles of the lawyering class and crackpot judges is a worthy penance for a recovering attorney. And it is our gain.”
    Michael Thompson
    Shareholder, Wright & Greenhill, P.C.
  • “Maybe this man’s degree is written in crayon."
  • "Mark Pulliam fancies himself a Paul Revere of the right."
    Froma Harrop
    Syndicated columnist
  • “With the flourish of a pen, Mark Pulliam makes bad guys rhetorically bleed and weak guys physically cringe. It's awesome.”
    Michael Quinn Sullivan
    President & CEO, Empower Texans
  • "Mark Pulliam, writer and thinker extraordinaire, has a new blog. Make sure to visit and register. Mark Pulliam's new blog is a thing of wit and intelligence."
    Bradley J. Birzer
    Professor of History, Hillsdale College, President of the American Ideas Institute, and editor at large of The Imaginative Conservative
Featured In

Sign up for updates

Get the latest updates, news, and alerts directly from the source.
We promise, we don't spam.

Featured Tweets