QUESTION: With all the talk, again, about Texit, I have seen nothing addressing Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, or any of the other programs that affect a large number of Texans.
Everyone in Texas has their opinion, but what are the facts? Can you shed any light on this?
ANSWER: Answer Line is going to admit that as I researched this, I just came up with more questions to which I don’t have good answers.
I wrote about some of this on Saturday, but for those of you who missed it, state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, has filed a bill calling for state voters in November to consider whether Texas “should leave the United States of America and establish an independent republic.” The bill has been referred to committee.
The election itself doesn’t trigger secession. Instead it’s a non-binding election to find out if voters agree with the idea. If they do, the bill calls for creation of a committee to explore all the related issues and make recommendations to the Legislature. The committee would consist of four state senators and four state representatives appointed by the lieutenant governor and house speaker. Those two also would serve as co-chairs for the committee.
I found a Q&A on this topic on Biedermann’s website, but honestly I’m not sure the answers are as clear as Biedermann makes them out to be. The underlying question I have is if Texas were to secede from the Union, would those of us who were born in the United States or who are naturalized citizens become dual citizens? That’s an important question, I think, and I’m not sure there’s a clear answer when you’re talking about a state leaving the country it belonged to, or at least there isn’t right now.
Here’s what Biedermann’s Q&A on some of these issues says, although I’ll add this caution — his Q&A at kylebiedermann.com/texit-faq/ — says in more than one place that the joint interim committee would have to discuss some of these topics. Also, these are interpretations he offers up of various laws, while also pointing to the Texas Nationalist Movement website at tnm.me.
What would happen to Social Security dollars Texans have paid into the system?
Any Texan who has paid into the Social Security system and is currently receiving benefits should continue to receive them. This is an obligation of the federal government to those who paid into the system and should, therefore, be met without question, hesitation, or reservation. The federal government allows Social Security recipients to move to a foreign country and still collect their benefits. Additionally, those who have paid in should be able to preserve their accrued benefits for exactly the same reason. This will be included as a topic of discussion for the joint interim committee.”
Here, Answer Line will note that the Social Security website says “that as of “December 1, 1996, or later, you must either be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present alien in order to receive monthly Social Security benefits.” The same is true for Medicare and Medicaid.
That’s why I’m curious about how our citizenship in the United States might be affected by secession and what that means to these benefits.
How can we become citizens of the Republic of Texas?
Obtaining citizenship will be determined by the Texas Legislature’s joint interim committee as the plan for independence is formulated.
What would happen to veteran benefits?
If you are a Veteran who lives abroad, you remain entitled to the benefits and services you earned through your military service. Most VA benefits are payable regardless of your place of residence or nationality.
What would Texas do for national defense?
Using the NATO target average of 2 percent of GDP for military and defense spending would provide approximately $37.74 billion annually, making Texas 11th in the world in defense spending. Funding at this level would cover the costs of recruiting, training, equipping, and maintaining an active duty enlistment in excess of 125,000 troops. This would be in line with the number of Texans currently serving in the United States military in all branches.”
So, here are just a few things we don’t know right now: What federal facilities would we have to buy and how much would it cost? Would we like the decisions about who could be Texas citizens, and what happens to the people living here who don’t want to be Texas citizens? I have a lot of other questions, but again, I’m not sure there are concrete answers at this time.