Some Republicans haven’t learned their lesson.
Following North Carolina’s lead, state senators in Texas have introduced the “Texas Privacy Act,” a somewhat misleadingly titled legislation that meddles in transgender individuals’ privacy, barring them from using the restroom that corresponds to their sexual identity.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick – a noted social reactionary – has declared the bill “the right thing to do,” lending the weight afforded by his office to the effort by branding the bill a legislative priority.
But what Patrick and other culture warriors fighting a losing effort against 21st century progress have failed to realize is that such discriminatory legislation only has negative effects on the states that enact it. In North Carolina’s case, dozens of high-profile businesses boycotted the state because of its own version of the bill. An industry group called the Texas Association of Business has already rolled out a report predicting economic loses resulting from the “Texas Privacy Act” between $964 million and $8.5 billion.
Rest assured, the Texas Association of Business has no partisan interests other than maintaining its members’ profitability.
So why roll out such self-defeating laws in the face of substantial evidence indicating that it’s all not only a waste of time, but also a veritable shot in the foot?
Perhaps it’s to cover the state legislature’s failure to mitigate the damage it’s wrought on a number of other issues, including education. As the Texas Tribune points out, the state is spending more money on education than it ever has before, but is somehow spending less per student. This stems largely from the fact that the state has redirected resources earned from school property taxes instead of spreading those resources among school districts with fewer means, spending money earmarked for education on non-education issues.
The result has been greater social stratification and greater financial waste.
But so long as pandering reactionaries have bogeymen to direct blame and hate toward, such issues are easy to cover up.