Texas Government Assaults Economic Freedom
By David Henderson
Two pieces of bad news for economic freedom came out of Texas this week. Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason writes about the more recent one:
In a performative bid against “human trafficking,” Texas has raised the legal age for working at a strip club from 18 to 21 years old, putting many employees out of work and putting clubs that hire them—even inadvertently—in risk of serious legal penalties, including up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The state also updated part of its penal code to define “child” as anyone under age 21.
This is from Elizabeth Nolan Brown, “Barely Legal Strippers Now Fully Illegal in Texas,” Reason, June 3, 2021.
Brown also notes:
Texas is also following a regrettable trend toward infantilizing young adults in America, carving out ages 18 to 20 as a liminal period between being a child and full adulthood. Not only is this cohort unable to consume alcohol legally, but the legal age for purchasing cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products is now 21. Alaska considers anyone who “causes or induces” an 18- to 20-year-old to be paid for sex to be a criminal sex trafficker, even if no force, fraud, or coercion is used. The FBI lumps 18- to 20-year-olds in with children for purposes of missing kids statistics. And so on.
On Tuesday, Governor Abbott announced a new restriction on day care facilities. Robert T. Garrett and Dianne Solis of the Dallas Morning News write:
Escalating his showdown with President Joe Biden, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday ordered state child-care regulators to yank licenses from facilities that house minors who crossed the state’s southern border without papers and were detained.
Currently, 52 state-licensed general residential operations and child placing agencies in Texas have contracts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to care for undocumented immigrant children. ORR contracts with about 200 facilities in 22 states.
I had had some hope for Texas because of the governor’s and many legislators’ recognition that it was well past time to end the lockdowns. I have less hope now.