Derek Thompson of The Atlantic has named San Antonio, Texas, as the most recession proof city in America. If you don't consider the nation's capitol, of course.
Mr. Thompson's provided lots of support for his position. He even came down here and looked around. That's good - we love people to come and visit our fair city.
However, I'm pondering that there's a huge economic cushion here in my town that isn't getting considered in the analysis here: that's all the drug money that flows through our area. Now, I'm not sure how you'd gather numbers for any real comparisons, but I do know it's here and it's huge.
How do I know? Well, the fact that there's a lot of drug money around here isn't news to those of us who live in the Alamo City. However, the extent to which my beloved hometown is a business hub for the transportation of illegal goods became clear to me during the three years that I was active in the Bexar County Children's Court, representing abused and neglected kids in CPS cases. Sometimes, yes, I represented the parents who were being threatened with their parental rights being terminated, too.
From these clients, as well as CPS Investigators, and various members of law enforcement (Border Patrol, Texas Rangers) I came to learn how the drug business is just like any other: it's a profit-oriented enterprise, and it has distribution and transportation concerns as well as manufacturing and marketing.
Interstate 35 and Interstate 10 intersect smack-dab in the middle of San Antonio. Last I heard, a lot of heroin was being moved along these routes by the cartels up and through the rest of the nation. From Mexico, San Antonio is an important link in the distribution chain.
Which brings lots of money into our economy, whether we like it or not. Not to mention the human trafficking (I learned about the coyote business during my CPS representations, too) and gun-running.
Is this illegal stuff a true cornerstone of our local economy? I don't know, because I have no idea how much we're truly talking about here. However, from what I gleaned from all the people that shared their information with me, it's big numbers. Millions, billions.
And that I think may be the real reason that San Antonio isn't hurting economically as much as other parts of the country right now.