The New York Times's Nobel laureate columnist, Paul Krugman, has a new article out about Texas's budget issues. At least two sentences are worth mentioning. The first:
Texas has a rapidly growing population — largely, suggests Harvard's Edward Glaeser, because its liberal land-use and zoning policies have kept housing cheap.
That Glaeser analysis was the topic of a post here back on December 30. In it, the word Professor Glaeser used to describe the land-use and zoning policies wasn't "liberal" but "laissez-faire." The policies are liberal in the sense of classical liberalism — free-market — not "liberal" in the Paul Krugman/Upper West Side sense. Anyway, it's nice to see Professor Krugman and the Times restoring the meaning of the word "liberal" to its original one.
The second point worth mentioning is Professor Krugman's reference to Texas's supposed "stinginess on health care." Eighteen months ago, Professor Krugman was commanding his followers: "read Atul Gawande!" What he was linking to was Dr. Gawande's New Yorker article on McAllen, Texas, which described it as, "one of the most expensive health-care markets in the country."
Dr. Gawande was writing mainly about Medicare, the program for the elderly, which doesn't have a cost-share that impacts state budgets the way that Medicaid, the program for the poor, does. Even so, if Professor Krugman is going to go so far as accusing the entire state of Texas of being stingy on health care, he might want to at least make reference to the Gawande article about how profligate Texas was on health care that he had earlier ordered people to read.
On the broader question of the Texas state budget, I defer to our Texas-based reader-participant-community member-watchdog-content co-creators — Lyle?
It's worth mentioning, though, that there seem to be some differences about the extent of the problem. Professor Krugman writes, "data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggest that the Texas budget gap is worse than New York's, about as bad as California's, but not quite up to New Jersey levels." Yet in the National Affairs article that we mentioned here the other day about the state fiscal crises, a chart citing the same Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (a liberal group not in the classical sense but in the Krugman-Upper West Side sense) lists the Texas revenue shortfall as a percentage of 2010 budget at a mere 10%, which is much better shape than fiscal disaster states such as California and Illinois, where the shortfalls are in the 40% or 50% range.