Miracle Faker: Rick Perry's Texas Teaches America the Wrong Lessons

image
Illustration by Jesse Lenz/ photo from NewsCom

In his quest for the presidency, Texas Governor Rick Perry says three things: His state's economy is better than America's. Low taxes and small government are the reasons. He gets the credit.

Almost none of that is true.

Governor Rick Perry speaks to supporters in Ventura County.
Brian Cahn/ZUMAPRESS.com
Governor Rick Perry speaks to supporters in Ventura County.
Bernard L. Weinstein of the SMU Cox School of Business.
Mark Graham
Bernard L. Weinstein of the SMU Cox School of Business.

The Texas economy isn't stronger than the national economy, and it may be fundamentally weaker. Poverty is increasing much faster in the state than it is across the country. Despite Perry's chief campaign message — that thanks to him, Texans have damn near too many jobs to go around — unemployment in the state isn't bucking any trends. In fact, it's at an all-time high.

Perry's narrative is attractive from afar but crumbling on close inspection. And its foundation is just as wobbly. When the Republican contenders (and the media covering them) talk about taxes, it's not a matter of if Texas' are low but how low they are — and whether Perry played any role in making them that way. But lost in that concession is the fact that Texas' taxes are not, on the whole, among the country's lowest. At best the state's in the middle of the pack in terms of the actual tax burden on its citizens, and it's actually more expensive than most in business taxes. He's right that it's a small-government state: lots and lots of small government.

As for that government-is-the-enemy card he keeps playing: Perry's personal political biography includes episodes of naked disdain for local prerogatives, leaning instead toward a top-down governance style that at times has alienated both farm folks and city dwellers, including some Republicans.

But critics who don't know Perry well, including those obsessing over his recent oratorical flubs, have said one thing about him that is not true, according to those who have faced him in battle: He's no lightweight. Enter the ring assuming that and you could wind up on the mat counting stars.

"When we see him govern, he's awful," says Jason Stanford, a campaign consultant who ran former Democratic state Congressman Chris Bell's unsuccessful race against Perry for governor in 2006. "But when we see him campaign, he is a genius."

You've seen it by now, on the campaign trail or at the debate podium: Perry cocking that cowboy smile and vowing to "get America back workin' again." He will do it by making Americans more like Texans, who are not, he says, "over-taxed, over-regulated and over-litigated." In Washington he will force government to do what he claims he made it do in Austin: "get out of the way and let the private sector do what the private sector does."

It's a powerful 10-second pitch. Of course, smart, well-paid wonks employed by his opponents are working hard to create a good 10-second anti-Perry pitch. But the truth about Perry's "Texas miracle" can't easily be packaged in a sound bite.

At the heart of Perry's so-called miracle is his state's edge in job creation. He cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers to show that Texas added a million jobs during his 11-year tenure as governor of Texas, while the national economy shed 2.45 million jobs. On the surface it seems like a slam dunk.

But those numbers, heavily cherry-picked for effect, are where the wonks will go when the wonks get going. Perry's cheery picture ignores a darker storyline in which unemployment under his regime has increased much faster than the national rate. It's now at a 24-year high, putting Texas at mid-pack among the states.

Perry's favorite window in time is from June 2009 until now — "since the recession ended," if you believe it ever did. He keeps saying Texas produced 40 percent of all the new jobs in America during that period, and the BLS numbers back that up. What Perry doesn't say is that in that same time frame Texas unemployment ran up from 7.7 to 8.5 percent — the highest since the devastating 1987 Texas oil and gas bust — while the national unemployment rate dipped from 9.5 to 9.1.

How did Texas add jobs and suffer greater unemployment at the same time? By growing its population. During Perry's tenure, the state's population has grown at more than twice the national rate, the larger share of that growth coming from the birthrate — in other words, not only from folks flocking down to Texas for all those jobs Perry's allegedly making. New jobs in Texas have not kept up with new Texans.

Bernard Weinstein, an energy economist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a consultant to national corporations and associations, says the Texas climate is more business-friendly than the national one, and he gives Perry credit for being "a good steward of Texas values." But even Weinstein balks at giving Perry credit for the state's economy. Much of Texas' good fortune, he says, derives from what the rest of the country has been doing for the last 50 years.

"Texas is in the middle of the country," Weinstein says. "That used to be a liability. Now it's an asset. As the population has moved west, as we have developed highways and air corridors and air conditioning, all of a sudden instead of being in the middle of nowhere we're in the center of everything."

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
6 comments
jokedoctor
jokedoctor

Perry will crumble, as he's already proven. The administration has been quiet about Perry because they want him to win. He'll fall apart under close scrutiny. We live in interesting times and I love the way the SFW covers the stories. We need more folks like you providing independent-style journalism. Thanks!

...the science behind the art of comedy...http://www.standupcomedyclinic...

Obamaistheone
Obamaistheone

SFW a good comprehensive and insightful observation of a 'I'll do anything to stay-in power' kind of guy. When Perry was a democrat he had a soul, but apparently selling your soul is the price you have to pay when you become a republican.As a Christian, I find his ethics self serving and situational-convenient, He either believes in the doctrine of Jesus Christ which includes, Matthew 22:21“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” or not, he can't have it both ways.

Dram Catchers
Dram Catchers

YOU ABSOLUTELY CORRECT ON RICK PERRY... HE IS A FAKER AND WHAT IS CAIN'S BOOSTER OR IN ANOTHER WORDS WHAT IS TRAITOR !!! JUST A CHEAP SHAM AND SCAM IS WHAT PERRY IS WITH HIS LOW STATEMENTS(fault racial slurs/ language used to propagate even someone like Cain).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

F**** PERRY !!!

WHITES AREN’T WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! WE DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE !!! OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES !!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... OR http://www.youtube.com/user/Bo... <== OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE(OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE in 2009 and is pointing out undisputed facts of genocide against whites - visit website bellow for all details including original documentation).

Make sure to play one from beginning as youtube is censoring proofs of genocide against whites by either playing video in the middle or blocking one entirely from play

Just in case or if not functioning, use http://www.dailymotion.com/vid...

VISIT ALL NEW “OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION” http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c...

MULTYCULTURALISM = TERRORISM !! OBAMA = OSAMA !!!http://stateofterror.blogspot....

Dram Catchers
Dram Catchers

YOU ABSOLUTELY CORRECT ON RICK PERRY... HE IS A FAKER AND WHAT IS CAIN'S BOOSTER OR IN ANOTHER WORDS WHAT IS TRAITOR !!! JUST A CHEAP SHAM AND SCAM IS WHAT PERRY IS WITH HIS LOW STATEMENTS(fault racial slurs/ language used to propagate even someone like Cain).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

F**** PERRY !!!

WHITES AREN’T WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! WE DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE !!! OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES !!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... OR http://www.youtube.com/user/Bo... <== OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE(OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE in 2009 and is pointing out undisputed facts of genocide against whites - visit website bellow for all details including original documentation).

Make sure to play one from beginning as youtube is censoring proofs of genocide against whites by either playing video in the middle or blocking one entirely from play

Just in case or if not functioning, use http://www.dailymotion.com/vid...

VISIT ALL NEW “OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION” http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c...

MULTYCULTURALISM = TERRORISM !! OBAMA = OSAMA !!!http://stateofterror.blogspot....

Dram Catchers
Dram Catchers

WHITES AREN’T WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! WE DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE !!! OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES !!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...ORhttp://www.youtube.com/user/Bo... <== OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE(OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE in 2009 and is pointing out undisputed facts of genocide against whites - visit website bellow for all details including original documentation).

Make sure to play one from beginning as youtube is censoring proofs of genocide against whites by either playing video in the middle or blocking one entirely from play

Just in case or if not functioning, use http://www.dailymotion.com/vid...

VISIT ALL NEW “OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION”http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c...

MULTYCULTURALISM = TERRORISM !! OBAMA = OSAMA !!!http://stateofterror.blogspot....

 
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...