WRITTEN BY R. CORT KIRKWOOD
MONDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2011 12:08
The Texas Miracle of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is little more than a Texas-sized myth.
That’s the upshot of reports across the political spectrum, Right to Left, that have evaluated Perry’s claims.
Chief among the tall tales is that Texas has become a jobs machine. That’s true, but Texans aren’t getting the jobs. Immigrants are. More than 80 percent of the new jobs in Texas went to foreigners, the Center for Immigration Studies reported last week, and 40 percent of those jobs went to illegal aliens.
That is no surprise, given that Perry is an open-borders, leftist Republican, but in any event, other reports show that most of the job growth in Texas came in one sector: government.
Border Jumpers Get the Jobs
Perry’s claim to fame is this: “No other candidate for President — Republican or Democrat — can match Rick Perry’s record on job creation. Rick Perry’s leadership has helped build the nation’s top economy. Since June 2009, more than 40 percent of all net new jobs in America have been created in Texas.
Technically, Perry is probably not exaggerating. But a look behind those figures reveals a few startling facts, starting with who the miracle has helped.
One of the most telling numbers in the CIS report is this: While newly arrived immigrants accounted for just 29 percent of the state’s population growth, they took 81 percent of newly created jobs. “There were 225,000 immigrants holding a job in 2011 who indicated that they had arrived in the United States in 2007 or later,” CIS reported. “This equals 80.6 percent of the 279,000 overall increase in employment in Texas between 2007 and 2011.”
As well, “the number of working-age immigrants accounted for 30.6 percent of the net increase in the overall size of the working-age (16 to 65) population in Texas from the second quarter of 2007 to the same quarter in 2011,” CIS reported. “The net increase in immigrant workers was 150,000 and this equaled 53.6 percent of the 279,000 overall growth in employment from 2007 to 2011.”
Beyond that, CIS shows, the number of native Texans at work declined from 71 percent to 67 percent during the same four years.
And, most importantly, “of newly arrived immigrants who took jobs in Texas since 2007 … 50 percent (113,000) were illegal immigrants. Thus, about 40 percent of all the job growth in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and 40 percent went to newly arrived legal immigrants.”
Perry Likes People Working for the Government
U.S. News and World Report also suggests that Texas isn’t the jobs machine that Perry wants people to think it it is — if by “jobs” you mean those created in the private sector.
Granted, U.S. News' Rick Newman wrote, the numbers back Perry’s claim that Texas is responsible for at least a third of the jobs created nationwide since 2009.
The overall numbers look good, with jobs in Texas increasing 0.7 percent since the beginning of 2008, while jobs across the country decreased 5.6 percent. “Since the recession began,” Newman wrote, “Texas has added about 75,000 jobs, one of the few states with any job creation at all. Overall, the U.S. economy has lost about 5.6 million jobs since then.”
But here’s what Perry doesn’t say: “virtually all of them” were government jobs, Newman wrote: “Net job gains in Texas have come entirely from government hiring, which accounts for 115,000 new jobs over the past three years. The private sector in Texas shed about 40,000 jobs during that time.
According to Newman, federal jobs in Texas jumped 7 percent compared to 4.3 percent nationwide. State bureaucracy increased 8.4 percent, while dipping 0.1 percent across the nation. And local government jobs shot up 6.1 percent, while diving 1.7 percent nationwide.
The private-sector picture isn’t as rosy as that for Leviathan. Private-sector jobs as a whole, Newman reported, dropped 0.5 percent, a much better figure than that for the nation: 6.6 percent, although individual sectors posted healthy gains. Health employment rose 12.6 percent, compared to 6.2 percent nationally, and Texas was way ahead of growth in private education jobs than the nation as a whole: 17.4 percent to 6.5 percent. Oil and gas employment jumped 6.7 percent compared to 4.5 percent for the nation, and the number of retail jobs increased 1.9 percent. Nationally, that figure dropped 7.2 percent.
Texas lost information jobs at the same rate as the country, 10.9 percent, and also like the rest of the country, manufacturing there is a mess. Texas manufacturing jobs nosedived 11.6 percent, a little better than the 15.8 percent hit the country took.
Harold Meyerson, a leftist at the Washington Post put it this way: “Perry’s calling card in the presidential race is his state’s record of job creation at a time when the national economy floundered. Yes, Texas has created lots of jobs, though that’s partly a reflection of the surge in oil prices, which in turn created tens of thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industries.”
What Perry touts in his stump speech, however, isn’t the oil boom but, rather, the low-tax, low-reg, handouts-to-business climate that prevails in Texas. It’s the kind of spiel that businesses hear every day from leaders of developing nations — Mexico and, even more, China.
Consider the Texas that Perry holds up to the rest of the nation for admiration. It has the fourth-highest poverty rate of any state. It tied with Mississippi last year for the highest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs. It ranks first in adults without high-school diplomas. Twenty-six percent of Texans have no health insurance — the highest percentage of medically uninsured residents of any state. It leads the nation in the percentage of children who lack medical insurance. Texas has an inordinate number of employers who provide no insurance to their workers, partly because insurance rates are high, thanks to an absence of regulations.
As well, New York Times leftist Paul Krugman noted in August, the unemployment rate in June was 8.2 percent, just a point behind that for the country: 9.2 percent.
And remember, as CIS demonstrates, that immigrants generally nailed down 80 percent of the jobs created since 2007 in the Texas Miracle, while illegal aliens in particular took 40 percent of those jobs.
The question that Perry’s adulatory, fawning boosters might ask is whether he performed a miracle for Texas or a miracle for Mexico.