It’s time to do for Texas what Charlie Wilson and George W. Bush said they wanted to do for Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s time for nation-building. It’s time to fix infrastructure and invest in human capital. It’s time to train for high-wage, long-term jobs, time to recognize that as a part of a global economy all Texans should have a free K-16 education, regardless of whether they have papers. Education is economic development. Let freedom ring! Or to paraphrase Merle Haggard, “Let’s get out of Iraq and get back on the track. And let’s rebuild America [and Texas] first.”

Cortes is the Southwest regional director of the Industrial Areas Foundation. He lives in Austin.

(On the Web: related ideas from Robert Rivard, the editor of the San Antonio Express-News, and Democratic political consultant Paul Begala.)

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