Texas and Its Miracles

The more I look at Rick Perry, the more he seems to have all the worse attributes of George W. Bush on steroids.

He’s already running on a “Texas Miracle,” which is that his state somehow escaped the worst of the recession. In 2000, George W. Bush ran on a “Texas Miracle” also, which was that education reforms that went forward during his administration — which I dimly remember he had actually opposed, but I may be confused about that — had resulted in miraculous improvements in test scores and dropout rates. You might remember that these miraculous results came about because school principals were strongly incentivized to report phony numbers.

Well, something like that is going on with Perry’s Texas Miracle. It is true that Texas has had stronger job growth than other states in recent years. But it has had stronger population growth as well, which means its employment rate remains high. Its unemployment rate in June 2011 was 8.2, which means it has the 26th lowest unemployment rate of all the states, or pretty much exactly average.

At the same time, Texas has very high poverty rates compared to other states. The most recent data I found was for 2009, but at that time 17.2 percent of the population of Texas lived below poverty level, giving it the 9th largest population in poverty in the nation. Wages are low in Texas; in his column today Krugman says almost 10 percent of Texans are earning minimum wage or less. And have I mentioned lately than a quarter of Texas citizens have no health insurance?

Gov. Perry says lots of businesses are moving to Texas, and there’s some truth to that. Texas offers cheap land, cheap labor, and minimal regulation. It’s like having a third world country here in our own backyard. So much more convenient than Bangladesh!

And under Gov. Perry, Texas promises to become even more competitive. Thanks to a whopping budget shortfall and politicians’ aversion to raising taxes, teachers are being laid off by the truckload. As the education level of the state declines, Texas is poised to become the number one supplier of domestic and agricultural migrant workers in America! Hey, who needs Mexico?

From Steve Benen:

I’d add, by the way, that Texas has also benefited from state government spending that’s risen “faster than inflation and population growth,” and spending in Texas increased even more under Perry than under his predecessor, George W. Bush. Perry has also taken on more state debt at a pace that eclipses the national government, “paying for much of [Texas’] expansion with borrowed money.”

The only thing we don’t know he would do as much as or even worse than Dubya is start wars.

14 thoughts on “Texas and Its Miracles

  1. Seems to me that some of the GOP candidates for president, particularly Perry and Bachmann, (and Palen if she runs) could meet the definition of typical cult leaders – self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and with charisma.

    (A further indication that they and their rhetoric make them cult figures is that their loyal followers seem to have lost, if they ever had any, any ability to reason.)

  2. We need to start calling “The Texas Miracle,” ‘The Texas Mirage,’ lest it become ‘The Texas Mirror.’

    Most of the jobs created under Governor ‘George W.’ Perry are low-wage shitty ones, with few, if any, benefits.
    Which of course will be economic model of our coming Dominionist Christian Fascist Feudal state:
    Undereducated, poorly paid serfs, who will work at any age, any hours, with no breaks or vacations, with no benefits, under unsafe conditions, and have to depend on prayer, because no one else will help them. Least of all from that greatest of all evils – goverment. And that’s one thing that will become true – the coming government may very well be truly evil. Oh, and the prayers had better be to Jesus, Buster, or else!

    And that’s why we need to debunk ‘Littleler Cowboy Boots’ from this BS myth of Texas job creation. We can’t allow the stupid MSM to make this incurious, stupid and ignorant, W-clone look like a serious person with a viable economic fix, like they did in 2000.

    Also, there are huge national security concerns about a Chinese company he invited to move to Texas:


    Does anyone want to bet that this will NOT become an issue? I’d love to be wrong on that one.

    I commented a little about what the government under a Perry or Bachmann might look like on the last post, “Three Way Race?”

    We may end up all looking back fondly on the Little Boots/Darth Cheney cabal. They may end up seeming like reasonable centrists compared to what we may end up with. I mean, those of us who survive may look back fondly…

    • Thanks for the link, c u n d gulag. It makes most of the GOP presidential field sound like stealth agents for Beijing.

  3. maha,
    You’re welcome.

    There’s also THIS gem from Bruni when he’s talking about the Iowa nonsense in yesterdays NY Times “Review” section:
    Rick Perry wasn’t around, but that didn’t preclude a constant discussion of him, my favorite bit of which was a CNN segment in which it was revealed that his father-in-law had performed his vasectomy. I’m not sure where on the spectrum of family values that falls or why voters need to know it. ”

    Here’s the link to that Op-ed:

    His father-in-law performed his vasectomy?
    His father-in-law!
    Jesus, Freud would be mainlining 7% solution if he were alive to hear that. Never mind, he’d probably up that to 14%, and OD.

    Also, too, wouldn’t that mean that he took Jesus and God’s decision away from them?
    Does that mean that he enjoys sex? But isn’t the sole purpose of sex to procreate? Conclusion: HE’S A SEX MANIAC!
    If every woman’s egg is sacred, isn’t EVERY mans individaul sperm too?

    You can shoot all of the bullets you want when you’re jogging, Gov, but God didn’t intend for your meat pistol to shoot blanks – unless he wants it that way.

    I’ll be curious to see how the Evangelical Dominionists handle this information.
    Ok, ‘handle’ may have been a poor choice of words…

  4. The Republicans have perfected the look-back-fondly effect. Reagan made Nixon look good in retrospect. W made Reagan look good. Now the R’s are lining up candidates for making W look good.

    Improve the past by debasing the future? What a clever ploy! Why didn’t I think of that?

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed my dose of Jim Kunstler this morning:

    Looking every inch the Assistant Manager of a J.C. Penny, Rick Perry of Texas stepped on-board the touring evangelical freak show that the Republican pre-primary parade has turned into. I like to think of him as George W. Bush without all the encumbering intellect. I give it three months before media snoops catch him in bed with Michele Bachmann. The two of them will claim it was all right because Jesus was there as chaperone and anyway, “…alls we did was watch the Vikings-Cowboy game….”

    Oh these sons and daughters of the high corn! Make no mistake (to borrow a favorite war cry from the presidential cheat sheet), both of these heartland bozos are dumb enough to lead America straight into the graveyard of failed states. Imagine a summit between Rick Perry and whoever succeeds Hu Jintao – the incredulous side-glances of the Chinese leader and his interpreter when Mr. Perry presents the official gift from our nation: a miniature Bible made by the inmates at Stringfellow State Prison and “prayed over by qualified preachers twenty-four hours a day!” Or how about Michele Bachmann and Vlad Putin. I’d sooner watch a gerbil in a terrarium with a King Cobra.

    Meanwhile, the other day poor Mitt Romney tried to explain to a crowd of Iowa hot-heads that “corporations are people!” Wasn’t that just the right thing to say to folks whose employment opportunities have dwindled down to eviscerating chickens on an assembly line or humping boxes on the WalMart loading dock for $8 an hour. He was heckled mercilessly. I don’t see how a candidate recovers from that kind of caught-on-camera mockery – but then again, in a culture that has no shame, just about anything goes.

    One thing I’d really like to know about the Republican party, though: if they’re so all-fired up about fiscal rectitude and the honest disposition of money, and stuff like that, then how come not a single one of these dissembling ninnies has suggested the investigation and prosecution of the entire Wall Street matrix of swindling grifters – including the officials who rotate between the too-big-to-fail banks and the regulatory agencies like the SEC and the CFTC and all the other utterly failed official watchdogs who stood by whistling Dixie while the future of this country was blatantly sold down the river?

    Of course, nobody on the Democratic side asks anything similar of President Obama as he hops from fundraiser to fundraiser….

  6. Texas is the new China. Compliant, non-union workers with no expectation of Constitutional rights. Sub-minimum wage.

    Perhaps one or more of them will kick one or more of the Texas corporate citizens painfully in the gonads. One can only wish.

  7. I wonder if Warren Jeff’s conviction will negatively affect Mitt’s chances for the Presidential nomination? After all, bird’s of a feather flock together!

  8. There was a great story on The Real Rick Perry this a.m. on DKOS, consisting of a list of felonious and other conduct that constitutes enough oppo research to sink “Little Admiral” Perry’s boat good and quick.

  9. Undeclared Republican wars:
    The lower class
    the middle class
    polar bears
    people of color, particularly from other countries.
    the unemployed.
    Have I left out any big ones?

    • Have I left out any big ones?

      Nobel Prize winners.
      Experts not employed by the Koch Brothers or other right-wing benefactors.

  10. The late great Molly Ivins, who christened Rick Perry with the name Governor Goodhair, would have had a field day with Perry and Bachmann and their presidential ambitions. I didn’t think it was possible, but Rick Perry is if anything even dumber than GWB. Bachmann is intelligent, but crazy.

  11. Another great quote from Begala, from the above link:

    Even among state representatives, even among Texas Aggies (graduates of this cute remedial school we have in Texas), Perry stood out for his modest intellectual gifts. Hell, he got a C in animal breeding. I have goats who got an A in that subject. But lack of brains has never been a hindrance in politics.

    Of course there are worse schools than Texas A&M – Sarah Palin should know, she went to five of them.

Comments are closed.