The Editorial Board's Nov. 14 thoughts on a proposed Texas secession drew interest -- in a negative way.We erred, some people told us, when we pointed out that leaving the union would have left a $32.9 billion hole in the state's 2011-12 budget but failed to note also that the Internal Revenue Service took $198.3 billion from Texans and their businesses.Giving up the $32.9 billion but keeping the $198.3 billion would leave Texas ahead by $165.4 billion. That's a good deal any day, these folks pointed out.Fair enough. Take the good with the bad.It's important to point out that some people are very serious about this, and they have every right to bring up the idea and talk about it. By Tuesday, almost 116,000 people had signed a Texas secession petition on the White House "We the People" website.It's no joke, says U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson."Secession is a deeply American principle," Paul wrote on his website. "This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those 'traitors' became our country's greatest patriots."So it is with due respect that we say folks who see this as a repeat of 1776 are mistaken.The patriots of that era correctly saw themselves at a perpetual disadvantage in their relationship with Great Britain. Given their distance across the Atlantic and the snail's pace of communications in that day, they knew Great Britain would never see the American colonies as anything other than a treasure to be pilfered.By contrast, Texas today is irrevocably linked economically, socially and legally with the United States.The online petition requests that the administration of President Barack Obama, newly re-elected by a solid majority through a fair democratic process, to "peacefully grant" Texas permission to withdraw from the Union. Setting aside the fact that far more than 116,000 Texans might like to have a say in the matter, what would a serious federal response be?Let's say it's something like, "OK, y'all go ahead." Isn't that likely to be followed by a "But..."?Isn't that "But..." likely to cost Texas a lot of money?For example, isn't the Army likely to leave Fort Hood? There go more than 50,000 active-duty men and women, 9,000 civilian jobs and an economic impact that Comptroller Susan Combs has estimated at $10.9 billion a year. Say goodbye to Killeen and some other Texas towns.Multiply that impact by 14 other military installations in Texas, none as big but all important to their local economies.Won't the U.S., before peacefully granting this petition, want to be repaid for some portion of the massive federal investment in Texas?Dallas/Fort Worth Airport receives millions each year in federal grants for construction and other purposes. Shall we negotiate a price to keep those runways and the airport's $16.6 billion annual economic impact? Add in the cost of other Texas airports.Our federal highways have been very expensive. Rebuilding the mixmaster on the southeastern edge of downtown Fort Worth got a $147 million federal investment. Add in the cost of all our other Interstate highways and their mixmasters.Shrink Texas universities, because they'll lose federal research dollars -- $235.5 million at UT Arlington last year.Are we breaking even yet?The point is, we have a federal government that's designed to give unhappy people a chance to come back and change things in the next election.The secession idea is for sore losers.