Perry criticizes government while Texas job growth benefits from it
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has leapfrogged to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates largely on the strength of one compelling fact: During more than a decade as governor, his state created more than 1 million jobs, while the nation as a whole lost 1.4 million jobs.
Perry says the “Texas miracle” rests on conservative pillars that he would bring to the White House: minimal regulation and government, low taxes and a determination to limit the reach of Uncle Sam.
What he does not say is that much of that job growth has come because of government, not in spite of it.
With a young and fast-growing population, a large and expanding military presence and an influx of federal stimulus money, the number of government jobs in Texas has grown at more than double the rate of private-sector employment during Perry’s tenure.
The disparity has grown sharper since the national recession hit. Between December 2007 and last June, private-sector employment in Texas declined by 0.6 percent while public-sector jobs increased by 6.4 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, government employees account for about one-sixth of the workforce in Texas.
The significant role of government in Texas’s relative prosperity stands in stark contrast to the “go-it-alone” image cultivated by Perry, who credits a lack of government interference for fostering a business-friendly environment in Texas.