The big truth here is that we need to do better, and we’ve needed to be doing better, for a long time now. It will not surprise me if the Obama Administration and his political advisers start trumpeting these numbers as proof that their policies have worked to get the country out of the mess that bad policy created and exacerbated. But the truth is, they could and should have pursued a different economic approach that would have gotten the economy moving much faster, and created more jobs for all kinds of workers faster. They had an example in my state, Texas.
In Texas, we have consistently followed a few basic, common sense principles where economic policy is concerned. First, don’t spend all the money. Second, keep taxes low. Third, keep regulations in check. On my watch, the state has seen the addition of one million net new jobs, while the rest of the country lost two million. These jobs cut across industries, too: Some were in the energy field (oil and gas, but also wind power), some were in the tech sector (as anyone who has visited Austin recently could guess), some have been in the service sector, and so on. We’ve created jobs for high-skilled workers, unskilled workers and everyone in between.
We have also gotten more people into the labor force, while the country as a whole has seen a decline. From November 2010 to November 2011, Texas added 168,500 people to the labor force. From just October 2011 to November 2011, we added over 20,000 new workers; in the other 49 states, close to 150,000 dropped out.
America needs to start implementing policies we know will work based on experience. We can do this. We just need the right leadership, and the courage to end the statistical shell games that Washington uses to hide the truth from the American people.