Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle is a Big Fat Lie

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It takes all of two minutes of research to see that just about everything Rick Perry has built his campaign around is a lie.

The economy in Texas is not great, and certainly is not booming the way Perry and his disciples like to spin it. Take unemployment, for example.

The unemployment rate in Texas is 8.2 per cent. That’s better than the national average of over 9 per cent.

However, it’s higher than the rate you’ll find in liberal New York, and much higher than what you’ll find in liberal, tax-and-spend Massachusetts.

Perry likes to claim that Texas’ unemployment rate is because of his good old tax cutting, low-government spending conservatism. The facts tell a completely different story.

First, Texas is not creating private sector jobs. Texas, like the rest of the United States, is losing private sector jobs. The employment gains in Texas come solely from government spending. Yes, that’s right: Rick Perry, the anti-government candidate, is bragging about tens of thousands of new government jobs.

Federal government jobs in Texas are up 7 per cent since the recession began, and state government jobs are up a whopping 8.4 per cent. Local government jobs have been booming, too, in Texas. They expanded their payrolls by 6.1 per cent. All together, Texas has created a total of 115,000 new jobs — and every single one of them was in government.

Second, Texas lost a net total of 40,000 private sector jobs over the same time period. Is that a miracle? Only in the sense that they should have lost more. They were saved by direct government spending, in this case, stimulus money provided by the Obama Administration. That’s right, folks: for all the Tea Party bluster about government spending, their home turf Texas took in massive amounts of stimulus dollars.

How much did Texas take in stimulus money? $17 billion worth. That, according to some analysis, accounted for over half the growth that Texas has experienced the past three years. In other words, if Texas should be thanking anyone, it would be Barack Obama, not Rick Perry.

Third, the jobs that have been created in Texas are a testament to why pure capitalism simply doesn’t work anymore. They are, by and large, minimum wage jobs — jobs which by definition do not offer health insurance nor enough money to live off. 10 per cent of Texans make the minimum wage or less. 10 per cent! It’s a miracle anyone in Texas can afford the goods they produce.

20 five per cent of Texans have no access to health care, including tens of thousands of children. Despite this, Perry calls the Texas health care system the best in the country. Best for who? It certainly doesn’t benefit the one in four people who can’t see a doctor.

I know that Republicans are desperate for a candidate who can push their message of low taxes and economic growth. Whatever the truth is behind that theory (I happen to believe it’s poppycock), Rick Perry certainly has no right to claim his governance represents that GOP ideal.

Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle is, by and large, a product of accounting gimmicks (debt pushed off to 2013, after the election hides an actual shortfall in Texas’ budget) and federal government spending in the Texas economy.

The only Texas Miracle is that Rick Perry has gotten away with claiming a good economy the past few years. Any objective look at the Texas economy comes to one conclusion: Rick Perry is a flat out liar. He implies that his policies have created all these good, private sector jobs, when in fact, they have not. He says he can use his plan to create jobs for America.

The evidence suggests that he cannot.

— John Thorpe

You can reach the author by email [email protected] or on twitter @johndthorpe.