Morning Report – News: Perry's Jobs Record, the Big Sort, Republicans Against America, and Rick Know-Nothing Perry

Morning Report – News: Perry's Jobs Record, the Big Sort, Republicans Against America, and Rick Know-Nothing Perry August 19, 2011

1.  Texas has produced over the past five years more net new jobs than the rest of the American states combined.  This presents a problem for those — especially Obama partisans — who are eager to undermine Governor Rick Perry, or even to undermine conservative economic policies.  The Wall Street Journal considers the argument:

The critics claim demography is destiny, and of course jobs and population tend to rise and fall in tandem. The number of Texans is booming: According to the Census Bureau, the population grew 20.6% between 2000 and 2010, behind only Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Arizona. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the seasonally adjusted size of the Texas labor force has increased by 5% since December 2007, faster than any state other than North Carolina at 5.4%, though the Tar Heel State has declined 0.4% over the last year. The labor force has shrunk in 28 states since December 2007.

Some of this Texas growth is due to high birth rates, some to immigration. But it also reflects the flight of people from other states. People and capital are mobile and move where the opportunities are greatest. Texas is attractive to workers and employers alike because of its low costs of living and doing business. The government in Austin is small, taxes are low, regulation is stable, and the litigation system is more predictable after Mr. Perry’s tort reforms—all of which is a magnet for private investment and hiring.

The critics also claim that Texas’s new jobs somehow don’t count because the wages are supposedly low and the benefits stingy. Yet BLS pegs the median hourly wage in Texas at $15.14, 93% of the national average, and wages have increased at a good clip: in fact, the 10th fastest state in 2010 at 3.4%.

Andrew Rotherham at Time also finds little to agree with in criticisms of Texas’ educational system.

2.  I just edited a column from J.E. Dyer — it will be published on Monday — in which she references “The Big Sort,” the book from Bill Bishop that argues that America has increasingly self-segregated not only on political and socio-economic lines, but on political lines as well.  This leads, Bishop argues, to more radicalized political opinions (as you are surrounded mostly by people who share your views), and to the election of more extreme politicians.  Dyer raises some great questions, but she also points to the evidence Bishop cites.  Check out this map for the legacy of gerrymandering and political self-segregation.

3.  Charles Krauthammer chides Obama for blaming the souring economy on luck.  But it’s his comments on the rest of Obama’s story that interest me:

In Obama’s recounting, however, luck is only half the story. His economic recovery was ruined not just by acts of God and (foreign) men, but by Americans who care nothing for their country. These people, who inhabit Congress (guess which party?), refuse to set aside “politics” for the good of the nation. They serve special interests and lobbyists, care only about the next election, place party ahead of country. Indeed, they “would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.” The blaggards!

For weeks, these calumnies have been Obama staples. Calumnies, because they give not an iota of credit to the opposition for trying to promote the public good, as presumably Obama does, but from different premises and principles. Calumnies, because they deny the legitimacy to those on the other side of the great national debate about the size and scope and reach of government.

Charging one’s opponents with bad faith is the ultimate political ad hominem. It obviates argument, fact, logic, history. Conservatives resist Obama’s social-democratic, avowedly transformational agenda not just on principle but on empirical grounds, as well — the economic and moral unraveling of Europe’s social-democratic experiment, on display today from Athens to the streets of London.

Obama’s answer? He doesn’t even engage. That’s the point of these ugly accusations of bad faith. They are the equivalent of branding Republicans enemies of the people. Gov. Rick Perry has been rightly chided for throwing around the word “treasonous” in reference to the Fed. Obama gets a pass for doing the same, only slightly more artfully, regarding Republicans. After all, he is accusing them of wishing to see America fail for their own political gain. What is that if not a charge of betraying one’s country?

Read on to see why Krauthammer considers the charge “not only ugly, but laughable.”

4.  In the interest of balance: Check out Jonathan Alter‘s program for recovery for Obama’s reelection prospects, and Michael Tomasky‘s attack on Rick Perry as someone who glories in ignorance.

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  • This highlights what frustrates me the most about politics: the misinformation that candidates throw out there win trying to convince people to vote for them.

    Actually, what’s worse is that so many voters fall for it.

    I don’t profess to know everything about everything. As a Texan with a history degree who is certified to teach economics, let me share the following truths, all of which are inconvenient for anyone running for office:

    The governor or Texas is not like the President. The position holds much, much less power. In fact, one could argue that the Lieutenant Governor has more power. A Governor can veto bills and sign bills into law. He can issue executive orders (which backfired on him; see below). He can appoint people to important positions. That’s about it. Beyond that, he’s slightly more able to initiate change in TX than the Queen can do so in Britain.

    His ability to affect the economy of our state is limited. To assign him blame for our economic troubles, or to give him credit for the good stuff, ignores the true root causes of our situation.

    One significant thing Perry did have the power to do was refuse much of the federal stimulus packages being offered, because of the stipulations that came with them. Those strings that were attached were more like chains.

    That said, that’s about the only good thing I can say about Perry. As an evangelical Christian who’s a political conservative, I should be right in the middle of his targeted demographic, but I’d rather vote for liberal Democrat than Perry. He’s a snake. He’s pro-business (a good trait, IMO) but to such an extent that he has no problem stepping on the rights of individuals if it will make a big business owner (and contributor) happy. He tried to force elementary school-age girls to be inoculated against a sexually transmitted disease. He did it without a vote. Issued an executive order making the HPV virus vaccinations mandatory. Parents could opt out, but the red tape was substantial. The vaccine was $350 per dose, and was made by only one company. Oh, and by the way, that company was a donor to Perry’s campaign, and the main lobbyist for that campaign happened to be a former Perry employee.

    He also pushed people out when they got in the way of his agenda. A man had been executed for killing his kids, and a commission was assigned with the task of producing a report because there were so many red flags related to the evidence used to convict him. Less than a week before the commission was to issue its report, Perry canned the members who he felt were going to give an unfavorable report, and replaced them with new members, hand-picked by Perry. he justified it by saying that the dead man was “a monster”. In other words, because he had a past, we can ignore the evidence which led to ending his life. And if we find people not willing to ignore that evidence, we will replace them with some people who will.

  • One more thing: watch these two short clips, and tell me that Perry is presidential. Nothing is edited creatively here. We simply get a glance at Perry’s response when asked to think on his feet:

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I’m not a fan of Perry, personally.

  • sdb

    Perry strikes me as an opportunist. His crass use of of religion to curry favor with evangelicals is a red flag. I’m not thrilled with Romney for a number of reasons (including his own cynical pandering), but one thing he certainly is is a competent executive – something that sets him apart from the other GOP candidates with a realistic chance to win.