Texas … Gold standard, or fool’s gold?

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from The Fort Worth Star Telegram,

The eyes of the U.S. are upon Texas. But what exactly do they see?

The state’s fast-growing economy and Gov. Rick Perry’s extensive travels to boast about it and lure more business to the state are drawing greater attention, as well as scrutiny, to the so-called Texas Miracle.

In fact, dissecting the Lone Star State has become something of a cottage industry.

Time magazine ran a long cover story last month by Libertarian economist Tyler Cowen, “Why Texas is Our Future.” Discussing the state’s economic success, low taxes and widening gap between rich and poor, it says the Lone Star State portends trends that could spread across the country.

“Texas is already one of the most unequal states. America’s safety net is fraying under the weight of ballooning Social Security and Medicare costs [while] Texas’ safety net was built frayed,” wrote Cowen, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia.

Austin College in Sherman recently ran a symposium called “Texas Got It Right?” — paying cautious homage to the 2012 book Texas Got it Right! co-written by Dallas billionaire Sam Wyly.

This year, Texas Monthly editor Erica Grieder published Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas, and New York Times columnist Gail Collins took a more skeptical tack with As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.

During a recent visit to Israel, Perry said that since 2000, some 5.2 million people voted with their feet by moving to Texas. And, he tells audiences, a combination of low taxes and modest regulation has created the environment that allowed 1.6 million jobs to be created while he has been governor.

But others question the long-term effects of those policies.

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