erik lundegaard

Tuesday August 16, 2011

Your Liberal Media at Work

Rick Perry in the NY Times

The above screenshot is from The New York Times. Their lede? Perry drowned out a heckler with a Texas college football reference. Now you know who to vote for.

So let's see if we can't get away from the Times front page for a little perspective.

Over at, Joan Walsh puts the Texan on the grill:

Perry's Texas leads the nation in minimum-wage jobs, uninsured children, high school dropouts and pollution. He balanced the state's budget with stimulus money he railed against. His record won't back up his bragging.

The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed is hardly enthusiastic:

The questions about Mr. Perry concern how well his Lone Star swagger will sell in the suburbs of Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the election is likely to be decided. He can sound more Texas than Jerry Jones, George W. Bush and Sam Houston combined, and his muscular religiosity also may not play well at a time when the economy has eclipsed culture as the main voter concern.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman, the Times Op-Ed columnist, is perhaps sharpest on the matter. How is Perry's Texas doing so well economically? In “The Texas Unmiracle” he gives two reasons: Big Oil and surprisingly strong mortgage regulations—the kind Republicans are usually against. Plus they're not necessarily doing well:

From mid-2008 onward unemployment soared in Texas, just as it did almost everywhere else.

In June 2011, the Texas unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. That was less than unemployment in collapsed-bubble states like California and Florida, but it was slightly higher than the unemployment rate in New York, and significantly higher than the rate in Massachusetts. By the way, one in four Texans lacks health insurance, the highest proportion in the nation, thanks largely to the state’s small-government approach.

So what about all those jobs Perry claims he added in Texas? The result of population growth more than anything:

Many of the people moving to Texas — retirees in search of warm winters, middle-class Mexicans in search of a safer life — bring purchasing power that leads to greater local employment. At the same time, the rapid growth in the Texas work force keeps wages low — almost 10 percent of Texan workers earn the minimum wage or less, well above the national average — and these low wages give corporations an incentive to move production to the Lone Star State.

So Texas tends, in good years and bad, to have higher job growth than the rest of America. But it needs lots of new jobs just to keep up with its rising population — and as those unemployment comparisons show, recent employment growth has fallen well short of what’s needed.

What else? Perry talked about seceding from the union. His Christianism is so overwhelming and political, he pisses off men of God. Oh, and he put an innocent man to death.

Posted at 05:07 AM on Tuesday August 16, 2011 in category Politics  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard