Texas to blackmailing Obama: Maybe you can just keep your federal funds

Gauntlet thrown.

Surely you heard this past weekend about the Obama threat to withhold federal education funds from states who don’t immediately embrace Obama’s transgender bathroom policies. The current shell game of collecting money through the IRS and then sending it back to the states in the form of federal aid is merely a way for the federal government to dictate to the state how they must operate. It’s certainly not a new phenomenon, either. Remember the nationwide 55-mile-per-hour speed limit? That was never a law passed by Congress. It as a gambit of Jimmy Carter to deny federal highway funds to any state that didn’t play ball.

Typically, states meekly capituate to these threats because they don’t want to lose the funds. Obama knows that perfectly well, and figured he could use the threat of withholding federal funds to force his transgender bathroom agenda on the entire nation.

But what will happen if the day finally comes when the federal government has pushed too far, and some state tells Washington it can take its federal aid and shove it? And if some state were to do that, which one do you supposed it might be?

You guessed right:

Texas’ lieutenant governor says the state is prepared to forfeit billions of dollars in federal funding for public schools following an Obama administration directive over bathroom access for transgender students.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday (May 13) that Texas “will not yield to blackmail” and urged superintendents to defy the new federal guidance. The directive says public schools are obligated to treat transgender students in a way matching their gender identity.

The guidance doesn’t impose new legal requirements, but rather clarifies expectations for districts receiving federal funds.

Patrick says Texas receives roughly $10 billion in federal education dollars. He didn’t say how that money might be replaced. Patrick’s remarks came only moments after more than half the state’s 1,200 school districts lost a major lawsuit claiming that Texas unconstitutionally underfunds public schools.

Consider what Obama is actually threatening to do here. Most federal education funds go to assist poor children. If Republicans were threatening to withhold funds to poor children to force some sort of agenda . . . well, I’ll leave it to your imagination how the media, and indeed Obama himself, would play that one. Since Obama typically has the media in his back pocket, he is probably confident they will play up the “transgender rights” angle and completely ignore the blackmail Obama is using to try to get his way.

But will they? I do not think anywhere near a majority of Americans supports this agenda, regardless of all the noise from the media, the political class and celebrities in favor of it. If Texas draws the line and Obama still withholds the funds, can his media allies really blame Texas for making poor children pay the price? They’ll try. Maybe their power to control narratives is so absolute that they can even pull this off, but I have my doubts.

Here’s bigger issue: If any state has the economic wherewithal to suck up the loss of these federal funds, it’s Texas. It has the strongest economy of any state and accounts for a wildly disproportionate share of the limited job growth that has happened during Obama’s presidency.

What if Texas turns away the federal funds and decides it’s doing just fine without them? You think other states won’t notice? More to the point, what if Texas no longer thinks it’s in its best interests to keep sending tax money to Washington, or to keep accepting its share of the federal debt? Texas was once an independent republic, you know. It’s rich with natural resources and clearly has little patience for the nonsense coming out of Washington.

You might think the left would be happy to see Texas and its 34 red-state electoral votes go, but the truth is America desperately needs Texas’s resources and its economic prowess – much more than Texas needs those federal funds.

And if Texas finally calls Washington’s bluff, it could be a greater game-changer than anyone realizes.

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