A large and growing component of international trade won't fit in a tanker, container, barge, or crate. In fact, no matter how hard you look, it is nearly impossible to find some of it with your eyes; much of it is lodged in the cranial cavities found between millions of pairs of ears. The United States has long run a trade surplus in the services category, meaning that we as a nation export significantly more services than we import. In addition, the United States is the world's leader in international trade in services, trading substantially more than any other nation.
There is much to be done when the Texas Legislature convenes on January 10 for the 85th regular session. Meeting only 140 days every two years naturally leads to a long to-do list, but this time the stakes are particularly high. It is time to take action and deal with several difficult issues lest we face even larger challenges down the road.
More than 16,000 Texas children are presently in foster care. However, this crucial safety net for thousands of the state's most vulnerable residents has experienced challenges in recent years. Children are spending nights in offices and hotels because there aren't enough places to stay, reports of ongoing abuse and neglect make headlines, a federal judge called the system broken and mandated changes, and it is difficult to keep caseworkers from quitting.