Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rick Perry's Texas

Now that Paul Ryan has chosen not to run for the presidency this time, the field seems to have come down to Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Maybe Michele Bachmann… but she is more likely as a vice-presidential candidate.

As Rick Perry advances toward the nomination, he has attracted a strange group of detractors. Naturally, trial lawyers and labor unions consider him an existential threat. They, along with the environmental lobby, will be throwing everything they have in the path of the Perry juggernaut.

And, more than a few Republicans are more than unusually upset over Perry’s statements about God and evolution and even global warming.

It’s fairly clear that conservative political operatives would be more comfortable with Mitt Romney, and believe that they would have better access.

In my view, most of that is static. Democrats will trot out the alien culture argument-- as in, Rick Perry represents a culture that is alien to the values that pertain on the Upper West Side-- to whip their voters into line.

But, the election will be probably decided, and should be decided, by comparing the records of the two major candidates.

Executive leadership counts. How does Perry’s Texas record of job growth stack up against Obama’s? That will be the question. Or, how does Texas stack up against major blue states like California, Illinois, and New York?

You know that this is going to be the major issue because Paul Krugman and his ilk have been trotting out facts and figures to debunk the idea that Texas has grown its economy over the last decade. And you can be assured that the mainstream media will start running stories about misery in Texas.

I suspect that Joel Kotkin is a Democrat, but his analysis is fact-based.

He opens his analysis of the Texas economy with the following sensible observation: “You don’t have to like Rick Perry or his sometimes scary neo-confederate politics to admire what has been happening in Texas over the past decade. Rather than trashing the state in order to demean its governor, perhaps the mainstream media should be thinking about what the Lone Star’s success story means for the rest of the country.

“Texas has done what most of other states — notably the blue coastal ones — have failed to do: create jobs. Over the past decade Texas has created 2.1 million jobs — while New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois have all lost jobs.”

For the record, Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

Kotkin continues that your salary goes farther in Texas.  Housing is more affordable in Texas. For those who live in blue states, that is not a trivial matter.

In the big blue states, with their high taxes and bloated government bureaucracies, life is vastly more expensive. The Texas record does not just involve job creation but an affordable lifestyle.

To those who believe that Texas has unfairly profited from its energy industry, Kotkin, who lives in California, has an excellent rejoinder: “Energy-rich California has all but declared war on its fossil fuel industry, once one of the nation’s most important. Instead, the state has placed lavish bets on renewable fuel and the much ballyhooed notion that ‘green jobs‘ could provide a massive base for new employment — something even the green-friendly New York Times has called ‘a pipe dream.’  In fact, employment in this field has actually started to tick down, and the prospect of ever higher energy prices associated with ‘clean‘ fuels could prove another nail in California’s economic coffin.”

After explaining that a pro-business Democrat might also have presided over similar economic growth, Kotkin concludes: “Yet despite the state’s shortcomings — and those of its current governor –  Texas’ success remains remarkable, particularly in comparison with that of the other major states. Rigid adherence to low taxes and light regulation may  not be the panacea for all economic problems but the opposite approach of ever higher taxes and debilitating regulation clearly has failed in terms of creating jobs and opportunities.

“Rather than demean the Lone Star state, perhaps progressives should begin demonstrating an alternative approach for American prosperity that might actually work someplace other than in the fevered imaginations of academics and pundits.”

I think it unlikely that progressives will take up the challenge. Their political heroes are far too beholden to the special interest groups that fund their campaigns. And these special interests have no real interest in economic growth and prosperity.


Dennis said...

I wonder how many businesses, jobs and people have to leave Blue states before even they figure out that maybe tired worn out Leftist ideas do not work? How much political clout do they have to see go to Red states before they start to think that maybe it is they who are their own worst enemy?
The only downside I see to much of this movement away from Blue states is that some of these transplants, I call some of them parasites because they have sucked the life blood out of their former host and would like to do the same in other places, will bring the ideas they have run away from with them and attempt to ruin the Red states as they have the Blue states.
Texas and Perry have done an excellent job of creating a business friendly environment. His education programs are excellent.
The fact that the trial lawyers, et al don't like him only recommends him to the rest of us tired of the legal and other parasites sucking the blood out of everything they go near. The only "Due Process" they understand is the money due to them in the process.

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