Murdock, continued from page 11 Do you try to pretend it won’t happen? We know in a sense, it’s already happened with us. It’s happened in California, in Hawaii, New Mexico, a number of states. It’s growing. People say to me, “Isn’t what we’re going to be in 2040, isn’t that unusual, or isn’t that strange?” or something of that nature. And I usually say no. It’s where we’ve been that’s been unusual. We’ll look a lot more like the world in 2030 or 2040 than we do today. In both Texas and the United States as a whole. And so, it’s not so much that I’m advo 70.0 60.0 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 Anglo Black Hispanic Race/Ethnicity 02000 EB12040 I cating plurality, it is a reality that there will be a plurality. What’s not a certainty is the nature of that interaction and the nature of the financial conditions that will be evident for different groups. That’s something much more difficult to predict. TO: What are the implications for the future based on these numbers? SM: If you grow in the matter and form that we’re projected to grow and don’t change the income differences, for example, between Anglos and AfricanAmericans or Hispanics, or the educational differences, the reality is that Texas in an aggregate sense, becomes poorer. In 2000 constant dollars, the average Texas household in 2040if you didn’t change anythingwould be $6,500 poorer in 2000 constant dollars than the average household in 2000 was. In 2000, 30 percent of Anglos, 15 percent of African-Americans, and 8.9 percent of Hispanics had a college degree in Texas. Okay, if you don’t change those [numbers] you get the kinds of things we’ve been talking about. But what happens if we make as much progress as we did in the 1990s [when] there was some clear evidence of progress in educational attainment? For example, the proportion of African-Americans with a high school degree went up by almost 10 percent, which is phenomenal. Now, it was less dramatic for Hispanics, partly because of immigration. Immigrantswhether they were Irish 200 years ago or others 150 years ago, or Hispan 9.3 ics todaytend 3.0 o to come and be poorer and less well educated. TO: In the past, immigrants worked their way into the middle class. Is it different today? SM: The nature of the economy in which Irish, Italians, and others assimilated was one with high demand for manual labor, where you could go from manual labor into other kinds of jobs and progress. There are fewer of those kinds of jobs today. There are a lot of manual labor jobs but the steps forward seem to be fewer in number for those with the least levels of education. So it may require some additional generational adjustments. TO: Well, given the demographic constantsand just imagine yourself king of the world herewhat would be the ideal vision that you would have for Texas in 2040? SM: What we try to show very clearly is that because of the numbers, the conditions for groups become the conditions for the state. So we’re looking at 2040 and we’d like to see a situation in terms of the state’s welfare where the incomes for African-Americans and Hispanics have increased. Now, it doesn’t mean we want anybody else’s to decrease. Simply look at the numbers. By 2040 somewhere between 65 percent and 75 percent of the state’s population will be non-Anglo. And so if income differences don’t change, we think it’s not an exaggeration to say we’ll be poor and less competitive. If, in fact, we could have those income levels the same, we could be very competitive because we’d be a younger population, a younger labor force. And of course a lot of these issues are related to poverty. In terms of service needs that come along with reduced public resources, that would be decreased as well. We look at 2040, we’d like a society in which there was greater income, greater development, if you will, for all racial and ethnic groups. We say that the Texas challenge is really to ensure that all Texans have the skills and education necessary to be competitive in what we know is an international economy. It will help them, but it’s also essential to the state, both in terms of having service levels that [it] can accommodate and in terms of having resources in order to pay for such services. TO: I know creating policy is not part of your job description but the current leadership of the state has proven itself unwilling to invest in social services like education and health care for the population. Coupled with the demographic changes on the way, isn’t that a mistake? SM: Our elected people tend to reflect what our values are. And I say sometimes at the end of my speech”Now, remember this is me talking, I’m not representing anybody. It’s not anyone’s view but mine”but I say, “you know, that among the values in Texas is to be a low-tax and a low-expense state.” And I think most Texans would agree with that. If you’re going be low taxes and Percent of Total Consumer Expenditures in Texas by Race/Ethnicity for 2000 and Projections for 2040* Percent of Expenditures Other 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 18, 2005
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