Rick Perry, who has been pulling down a government paycheck for the past 26 years, will campaign, nevertheless, for president much as he has campaigned for governor – as an antigovernment “outsider.” It’s funny how that gimmick has worked….Well, maybe not too funny.
In Perry’s oftenrepeated view, the most important function of government is to help the private sector create jobs, a role in which Perry fancies himself as something of an expert, as he reminded the country in an interview with the Associated Press, published over the weekend.
The AP story is linked below, and if you manage to wade through all the conservative, red meat rhetoric about gay marriage and evolution, you will notice Perry praising his own job creation efforts while belittling those of President Obama, including the federal stimulus funds Perry readily accepted in Texas.
“I think we poured about $4 trillion down that (stimulus) rat hole, and government has not created a job,” Perry said.
The comment is a variation of what the governor often has claimed, that government doesn’t create jobs but that it can help private industry create jobs with low taxes, a businessfriendly regulatory climate and with corporate welfare in the form of outright grants of tax dollars.
Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Perry’s view of government’s role in job creation is, at best, incomplete.
The bureau reports that Texas has gained more than 1 million jobs since the end of 2000, about the time Perry became governor, and that about 300,000 of the new Texas jobs, about which he loves to brag, were in…government. More than half of the government jobs were in the public schools, thanks to a rapidly growing student population, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.
Moreover, the single biggest contributor to job growth – or, at least, the creation of highpaying, quality jobs – is a good public education system, a fact Perry doesn’t seem to comprehend. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have presided over more than $5 billion in cuts to the public schools this spring and signed the worst public education budget in Texas in at least 60 years.
Thousands of school district employees already have lost their jobs, and only in Perry’s view of the world does that merit a promotion for the governor.