These are tough times for state governments. Huge deficits loom almost everywhere, from California to New York, from New Jersey to Texas. Wait—Texas? Wasn't Texas supposed to be thriving even as the rest of America suffered? Didn't its governor declare, during his re-election campaign, that 'we have billions in surplus'? Yes, it was, and yes, he did. But reality has now intruded, in the form of a deficit expected to run as high as $25 billion over the next two years. And that reality has implications for the nation as a whole. For Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting—the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending—has been implemented most completely. If the theory can't make it there, it can't make it anywhere.