Some More Facts About Rick Perry’s ‘Texas Miracle’

There’s a lot more to the picture than ‘job creation’
Politics • Views: 25,938

Here’s a good piece by Harold Meyerson on the sad facts behind Rick Perry’s Texas miracle.

Consider the Texas that Perry holds up to the rest of the nation for admiration. It has the fourth-highest poverty rate of any state. It tied with Mississippi last year for the highest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs. It ranks first in adults without high school diplomas. Twenty-six percent of Texans have no health insurance — the highest percentage of medically uninsured residents of any state. It leads the nation in the percentage of children who lack medical insurance. Texas has an inordinate number of employers who provide no insurance to their workers, partly because insurance rates are high, thanks to an absence of regulations.

Perry seems quite comfortable with the state’s lagging performance in what we might term the pursuit-of-happiness index. Consider his indifference toward education: In 2008, the state comptroller found that 12 percent of Texans lacked high school diplomas and that the level would rise to 30 percent by 2040 unless the state’s commitment to education was considerably increased. This year, though, when confronted with a $27 billion budget deficit, Perry did not raise taxes but instead slashed $4 billion from K-12 schools. In this regard, the equation of Perry with China’s leaders is unfair to China: The Chinese understand that the better educated their people become, the more high-skill and high-compensating jobs their nation will attain. No such understanding seems to have permeated Perry’s brain.

On the education front, Perry is actually even worse than Meyerson describes; Perry has been pushing religious fanatic ideology into science classrooms for years. He’s not just “indifferent” to science education — he’s actively hostile to it.

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23 comments

1 Obdicut  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 9:48:33am

This is what happens during a race to the bottom. The overall quality of life goes down. Hard-won victories for those that work for a living get lost in a tide of short-sighted nitwits thinking that the hole has no bottom.

2 Targetpractice  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:02:00am

Like the Right, China's looking at America of the 1950s and taking notes. Except we're both reaching very different conclusions. China's looking at the 50's and seeing that an emphasis on education (particularly the sciences), investment in new technologies and ideas, and bringing all that to the masses is the way to becoming a true superpower.

Meanwhile, the Right looks at the 50's and goes "Hey look! No Medicare! No EPA! Oil ruling the landscape! God enshrined and 'socialism' being stomped out! That's the way we need to go!"

3 Achilles Tang  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:03:07am

Catch this


Rick Perry: Climate science skewed by ‘dollars’

I can't wait for him to revive the birthers from their nap.

4 garhighway  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:04:03am

The article misses the point, in that it assumes that from Perry's point of view having a high poverty rate, high percentage of minimum wage employees and low health insurance penetration are bad things.

Perry's version of nirvana is a place where labor is cheap and desperate, taxes are low and capital mobility is high. And that is precisely what he has achieved.

5 wrenchwench  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:04:34am

If you look at the direct nexus of Texas and its jobs competitor, you're looking at El Paso and Juarez. El Paso is considered a parasite, economically speaking.

[...]

Sometimes I wonder what El Paso lives off of,” says Tony Payan, a professor of political science at UTEP. To a large extent, the answer is that it subsists off of Juárez. There’s no real agriculture in its arid climate, and much of the city’s once-significant industrial sector has closed down or moved away. El Paso’s income and education levels have long been far below the national average. For the last few decades, the city’s prosperity has been tied to production in the maquiladoras, the outsourced manufacturing industry across the border, and to public-sector employment in border security, law enforcement and at the fast-growing Army base at Fort Bliss — institutions that are all there, to one degree or another, because of the city’s proximity to Mexico. Then, of course, there’s the hidden economy of the narcotics trade, which generates anywhere between $6 billion and $36 billion a year, depending on whose estimates you credit.

Howard Campbell, an anthropologist who studies drug trafficking, told me that the relationship between the two cities “is both symbiotic and parasitic.” When I asked him who was the parasite, he gave me an amused look — silly outsider — and said, “The U.S.”

[...]

In the race to the bottom, it's the landing at the end that gets you.

6 makeitstop  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:05:09am

re: #3 Naso Tang

I can't wait for him to revive the birthers from their nap.

Re-posted from below - one of them woke up in Germany

7 Lidane  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:06:17am

re: #3 Naso Tang

Catch this

Rick Perry: Climate science skewed by ‘dollars’

I can't wait for him to revive the birthers from their nap.

What nap? The birthers are still ranting. Check WND and Free Republic sometime.

8 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:10:21am

re: #2 Targetpractice, Worst of Both Worlds


Meanwhile, the Right looks at the 50's and goes "Hey look! No Medicare! No EPA! Oil ruling the landscape! God enshrined and 'socialism' being stomped out! That's the way we need to go!"

Racism! Sexism!

9 allegro  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:11:59am

My happy day fantasy... Perry resigns from his position as Tx Gov. immediately if not sooner, then gets his ass handed to him in the national election. I realy, really would love to never hear his name or see his face ever again.

I know. *sigh*

10 Lidane  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:14:20am

re: #9 allegro

My happy day fantasy... Perry resigns from his position as Tx Gov. immediately if not sooner, then gets his ass handed to him in the national election. I realy, really would love to never hear his name or see his face ever again.

I know. *sigh*

You're not the only one with that fantasy. I just Liked this page on FB:

[Link: www.facebook.com...]

11 Targetpractice  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:15:18am

re: #9 allegro

My happy day fantasy... Perry resigns from his position as Tx Gov. immediately if not sooner, then gets his ass handed to him in the national election. I realy, really would love to never hear his name or see his face ever again.

I know. *sigh*

Was just thinking the other day that a great way to sort the wheat from the chaff would be to make a requirement that any of those seeking higher office must first resign the office they hold.

12 allegro  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:15:40am

re: #10 Lidane

You're not the only one with that fantasy. I just Liked this page on FB:

[Link: www.facebook.com...]

Excellent! Thanks!

13 Interesting Times  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:16:57am

re: #9 allegro

re: #10 Lidane

Okay, I just know someone is going to post this eventually (it was already paged, and dumped on a prior dead thread about Perry): [Link: www.politicalmathblog.com...]

I get a strong sense of "lies, damn lies, and statistics", but don't know enough details about the Texas situation to properly fisk it.

14 OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:17:07am

re: #4 garhighway

The article misses the point, in that it assumes that from Perry's point of view having a high poverty rate, high percentage of minimum wage employees and low health insurance penetration are bad things.

Perry's version of nirvana is a place where labor is cheap and desperate, taxes are low and capital mobility is high. And that is precisely what he has achieved.

Yep. Sharecropping, 2.0, the goal of states rights secessionists.

15 engineer cat  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:17:28am

- It has the fourth-highest poverty rate of any state
- It tied with Mississippi last year for the highest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs
- It ranks first in adults without high school diplomas
- Twenty-six percent of Texans have no health insurance — the highest percentage of medically uninsured residents of any state
- It leads the nation in the percentage of children who lack medical insurance
- Texas has an inordinate number of employers who provide no insurance to their workers

there's your whole republican platform right there

16 Targetpractice  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:20:24am

re: #15 engineer dog

- It has the fourth-highest poverty rate of any state
- It tied with Mississippi last year for the highest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs
- It ranks first in adults without high school diplomas
- Twenty-six percent of Texans have no health insurance — the highest percentage of medically uninsured residents of any state
- It leads the nation in the percentage of children who lack medical insurance
- Texas has an inordinate number of employers who provide no insurance to their workers

there's your whole republican platform right there

Thing is, I'm becoming more and more convinced that all folks are gonna hear is "I cut taxes and regulations and jobs sprung up! Hallelujah, I'm a miracle worker!"

17 OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:24:46am

re: #16 Targetpractice, Worst of Both Worlds

Thing is, I'm becoming more and more convinced that all folks are gonna hear is "I cut taxes and regulations and jobs sprung up! Hallelujah, I'm a miracle worker!"

What's the old cliché, people who stand for nothing will fall for anything? I think you're right on in the above post. I don't think it can be underestimated, just how many dupes there are out there.

18 Targetpractice  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:27:47am

re: #17 OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin

What's the old cliché, people who stand for nothing will fall for anything? I think you're right on in the above post. I don't think it can be underestimated, just how many dupes there are out there.

My worry is that the desperate factor's gonna set in between now and next November. What I mean by that is folks are gonna become so desperate for a job, no matter how shitty, that they'll jump onto the bandwagon of a candidate who says he can create millions of new jobs just by dragging the country further down the rabbit hole.

19 allegro  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:31:09am

re: #13 publicityStunted

re: #10 Lidane

Okay, I just know someone is going to post this eventually (it was already paged, and dumped on a prior dead thread about Perry): [Link: www.politicalmathblog.com...]

I get a strong sense of "lies, damn lies, and statistics", but don't know enough details about the Texas situation to properly fisk it.

Thanks for that link. I pretty much agree with most of it in the sense that Texas has, in the 38 years I've lived here, been the Go To state for jobs and opportunities when things are bleak elsewhere. I remember a popular bumper sticker about circa 1980 that said, "Will the last person out of Michigan please turn out the lights?" We still are home to a very large population of the Gulf Coast, Louisiana in particular, as the result of Katrina.

The one thing I will disagree with on a gut level is that the jobs being created here are higher wage jobs. I think that most of them are minimum wage. The numbers are skewed by the many fewer, by much higher paying, oil related jobs that have recently come about.

20 Obdicut  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 10:43:21am

re: #13 publicityStunted

There's a number of odd assumptions, among them being this:

If this were true, all these new low-paying jobs should be dragging down the wages data, right?

Which, obviously, would be untrue if Texas were also adding high-wage jobs at a high enough clip that paid enough.

So, if you start out with a $10 an hour average, and have fifty people get hired at $10/hr and one get hired at $500 an hour, you've still got a $10 average wage.

21 blueraven  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 11:17:55am

re: #13 publicityStunted

re: #10 Lidane

Okay, I just know someone is going to post this eventually (it was already paged, and dumped on a prior dead thread about Perry): [Link: www.politicalmathblog.com...]

I get a strong sense of "lies, damn lies, and statistics", but don't know enough details about the Texas situation to properly fisk it.

Well first of all the author says this about his conclusion:

People are flocking to Texas in massive numbers. This is speculative, but it *seems* that people are moving to Texas looking for jobs rather than moving to Texas for a job they already have lined up. This would explain why Texas is adding jobs faster than any other state but still has a relatively high unemployment rate.

Mmmm...OK??

Secondly, his claim about "energy jobs" not having a big impact. If you just look at "energy jobs" as a specific range of oil and gas related jobs, that may be true. However, small towns in south TX especailly, are growing like crazy in order to service the influx of workers. New hotels, apartments, restaurants, etc... have added a lot of work. Not necessarily very high paying. Also the big tucks and equipment are tearing up the roads=road work.

TX has more uber wealthy people per capita than most states and the biggest disparity in income between rich and poor. So the median salary chart is way off base, when you consider the huge salarys of oil execs and other big corporations.

22 Arceuthobium  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 12:15:26pm

Texans actually fared better under Gov. George W. Bush. 'Nuff said?

23 lostlakehiker  Wed, Aug 17, 2011 4:45:23pm

The Economist has an article on Texas' economy. They've got no dog in this fight...Economist's take on the Texas economy.

The drift of the article is that in-migration to Texas has been good for the economy, and of course having oil and gas hasn't hurt.


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