Whoa, Nelly! Rick Perry announced that he was running for President and the dump truck hired by the left-wing media unloaded the next day. They rolled out their columns disparaging the “Texas miracle” quicker than a Nolan Ryan fastball. As always, the serious question is: How accurate are their stories?
Before we investigate, allow me to introduce some perspective. At a recent party, I was engaged by two gentlemen who were fascinated that I was a columnist. One of them works for a major East Coast university. When he found out that I regularly read the left-wing media, he asked my opinion of Paul Krugman’s writing, and, in particular, if I had ever found inaccuracies in his columns. I stated that the problem is not whether his facts are wrong; rather it is his selective choice of facts and the misguided conclusions he draws from them. That is certainly the case with the barrage of attacks on Texas.
Here is a recap of what the echo chamber from the left is claiming about Texas:
1. The jobs exist because of the oil and gas industry.
2. It has the fourth highest poverty rate of any state.
3. The state is tied for most jobs that are minimum wage.
4. Texas has the largest number of adults without a high school diploma.
5. 26% of Texans have no health insurance – highest percent in the nation.
If you listen to the echo chamber, it certainly seems like Texas is one rotten place to live. But there’s something missing here – the population of Texas grew by 20.6% between 2000 and 2010, and it’s not all because of childbirth. People are moving to Texas in droves, an American migration that’s been taking place for a long time.
In order to see the big picture, let’s compare Texas to a highly unionized state like Michigan. In 1970 Michigan had 9 million residents; in 2010 there were 10 million. In 1970 Texas had 11 million residents; now there are 25 million. Let’s look at it another way. In the 1970’s, Michigan had 21 electoral votes, New York had 27, and Texas had 26. In 2012, Michigan has 16, New York has 20 and Texas has 38. See a trend here?
People, and businesses, are moving in herds from high tax, heavily-unionized states like Michigan to states like Texas that have low taxes and few job-killing regulations. Even though the left-wing media thinks that all Texans are gun-slinging Neanderthals, no one has put a gun to the heads of the people now calling Texas their home. That bears repeating: no one has forced them to relocate. They are moving to escape over-regulated, over-taxed, union-burdened states in order to be able to make their own choices about their lives.
Here are some facts that the left-wingers won’t tell you. 50% of the jobs created in the country in the past decade have been in Texas, including 40% of all new jobs since 2008. Sure, Texas has an 8.2% unemployment rate, but it’s because people keep coming. New York has an 8% unemployment rate, but it’s because people keep leaving.
The left’s problem with energy jobs in Texas is ironic, because they’re the ones preventing the creation of real energy jobs throughout the United States. North Dakota is booming because of energy jobs and Pennsylvania has added thousands of jobs extracting natural gas. Liberal New York State, on the other hand, sits on its hands restricting exploration because of imaginary fears related to fracking. In fact, we could have a job boom in the energy industry throughout the country if it weren’t for the policies of the Obama Administration and their environmental extremist cronies. Just think how that would affect our balance of payments.
But that’s not the whole story on Texas jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Texas is also numero uno in new manufacturing jobs, new aerospace jobs, new professional and business service jobs, new finance jobs, and new construction jobs. Low-tax Austin is now a booming high-tech area that competes with high-tax Silicon Valley. Incidentally, the Bureau also stated that median hourly wages in Texas are now 93% of the national average, and increased at a 3.4% clip in 2010. So much for being a low-wage haven.
How much of this is due to Governor Perry is for you to judge, however it’s clear that he did not stand in the way of enterprising businesspeople and investors. The same cannot be said about President Obama. Almost every one of his economic policies has drained the private sector of financing and smothered their incentive to grow and create jobs.
Harold Meyerson made a clear statement of what is really at issue here. In his New York Times column, he wrote “Perry wants to unravel the national social contract.” What national social contract? That is what socialists aspire for all of us – a government, run by Ivy League elitists, that takes care of us from cradle to grave. But Americans – who clearly understand this scam – are packing up and moving to states like Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia to escape their grasp.
Doesn’t that say it all?