[Vision2020] Wen Jiabo for President? Rick Perry's Job Growth Deception

nickgier at roadrunner.com nickgier at roadrunner.com
Fri Sep 30 11:47:09 PDT 2011

Hail to the Vision!

I've been meaning to post this column for some time.  I plan to write a least a half dozen columns on Perry, and you can get a preview of the topics by reading the full version attached.

Paul: Here is a partial answer to your question--an already damaged GOP front runner.

We are sunk if Obama us bit re-elected.

NFG (guess what my pear picking boss made of these initials?)


Since the end of World War II Democratic administrations have created 55.7 million jobs, while their GOP counterparts have produced only 36.2 million.  As a percentage of GDP, Donkeys have presided over an average annual drop in the national debt of percent, while the Elephants have run up the debt by an average 5 percent. Under the former the economy has grown 3.6 percent while under the latter it has moved up only 2.8 percent.

The reward for such incredible achievements should be to skip elections and declare a universal mandate for Democrats to rule the nation, right? There is a standard answer to such bluster: there are many factors—world economy, business cycles, and policies of previous administrations—over which no Congress or president has any control. 

Why then can Gov. Rick Perry claim that he should be president because, under his three terms, Texas has experienced more job growth than any other state?

The four states that have created the most jobs —New York, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Texas—have one major thing in common: a natural gas bonanza. Perry has been governor during a period of the highest oil prices in history and he is enjoying the increased revenue that comes from a resource for which he was not at all responsible. Now at $168 billion, oil and gas revenues have grown from 7.4 percent of the state’s economy in 1999 to 15.7 percent in 2006. 

A chief executive should boast about job creation only when most of the people looking are able to be employed.  Half the nation’s states have unemployment rates lower than Texas at 8.4 percent—the highest in 24 years.  In 2009 the rate was 7.7 percent and it went from 8.2 to 8.4 percent in July.  It has been above 8 percent for 23 months. The Fiscal Times (8/12/11) reports that Texas lost 34,000 jobs in June alone, and during the Great Recession it lost 227,000 construction and manufacturing jobs.

The key to Lone Star raw job growth is a huge increase in the labor force. If raw numbers were the only measure, and population and job losses are ignored, then the GOP should nominate Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for president. With tens of millions of jobs created, Premier Wen could also top Gov. Perry’s safety and environmental violations. Perry could counter that he executes almost as many people per capita as China does. In 2009 Texas executed one criminal per million while China hung 1.2 per million. 

Using on 2009-2011 data, researchers from the Center for American Progress calculated net change in jobs minus net change in labor force, and found that Red State Texas actually ranks last and Blue States Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania were the top three. New York’s increase of 98,000 jobs and Pennsylvania’s 92,000 are significant because both states have experienced slow increases in population. The 12 of the 20 states that created jobs voted for Obama in 2008.

Texas leads the nation in the number of hourly-wage jobs that pay at or below the minimum wage.  In 2010 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Texas added 211,000 positions, but 76,000 of those were at or below $7.25/hour.  Since 2008 the number of these non-living wage jobs has doubled. 

Perry claims that he has a model that will turn the American economy around, but a policy that has been successful in luring companies to one state alone obviously cannot work nation-wide.  Economist Paul Krugman plays logician: “Perrynomics involves the fallacy of composition: every state can’t lure jobs from every other state.”

The New York Times aptly illustrated the style of Perry’s Texan economic model when it ran an article about a company with an abysmal safety record.  Complaining about OSHA rules, its management bragged that it would set up shop only in the Third World or Texas. 
Corporations have been flocking to Texas because of low wages and low taxes, just as they did in Ireland when the government lowered the corporate tax to 12.5 percent. The Irish government also reduced regulation on its banks, and now the economy has crashed after all the major banks failed.  

After taking a big hit in the Reagan administration created Savings and Loan crisis, Texas made sure that its mortgage laws were strong enough to prevent subprime predation among its prospective homeowners.

California’s budget deficit gets all the attention, but in per capita terms Texas’ is far worse.  Last year Texans were in the red $740 per person, while each Californian was down $522. Because of a failed tax swap engineered by Perry, Lone Star budget deficits are now structural, which means that without tax increases there will be a $5 billion annual gap between revenue and spending for the indefinite future. 

Governor Perry believes that most government programs—except perhaps crop subsidies (Farmer Perry always claimed his) and NASA—are unconstitutional, and he proposes that Medicare, Medicaid, environmental and labor regulation be run by the states.  This is a clear recipe for turning the entire nation into a Third World nation. In terms labor laws, worker safety, environmental regulation, health care, and social services the Lone Star State is already in that position.

	Nick Gier taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years.

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