Published August 29, 2011
Both Obama and Perry inherited an economy from George W. Bush, but here’s what happened in each case:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), under Obama, 2.4-million jobs have been lost in America.
In the first decade of Perry’s tenure, from June 2000 to June 2010, the BLS says that Texas had a net gain of 907,000 jobs—the best record in the country. Perry refers to research from the Federal Reserve’s Dallas branch that since the recession technically ended in June of 2009, Texas has created about 48 percent of the new jobs in America.
Since Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, unemployment nationwide has gone from 7.6 percent to 9.1 percent. The current unemployment rate in Texas with Perry as governor is 8.2 percent.
During the past seven years, CEOs polled by Chief Executive magazine have rated Texas first in the nation in business development and job growth. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in 2010, Texas’ economy grew 5.3 percent versus 3.8 percent for the overall U.S. economy.
Perry’s critics (especially those in the Obama White House) say that Texas’ job growth is attributable to its booming energy sector. However, USA Today reports that Texas has had “broad based” job increases in several sectors, including health care, education, professional and business services and leisure.
But even if you accept the White House’s premise, imagine how Texas energy development would have fared with Obama as its governor. As Washington State Congressman Doc Hastings wrote in a Roll Call op-ed: “When President Obama was elected, nearly all of our offshore areas were open to offshore drilling. Since then, President Obama has systematically locked-up the entire Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast and much of Alaska — preventing the creation of over 1.2 million jobs.”
The Obama administration—particularly its Environmental Protection Agency—has withdrawn permits and severely restricted development of shale oil, oil and natural gas leasing, coal mining, nuclear power plants, and even renewable energy projects on public lands, including wind and solar. This has caused the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and deepened the country’s dependence on foreign energy. President Obama has pushed hard for what Hastings describes as “a job-destroying cap-and-trade national energy tax, which even [the president] said would make prices ‘necessarily skyrocket.’”
While Obama has procrastinated as Democrats blocked free trade agreements (to cater to labor union protectionism), Texas reigns as America’s number one exporting state.
And while Obama pushed to raise the country’s debt ceiling and to increase taxes, Texas has a balanced budget (with $6-billion in a “rainy day fund”) and has the second-lowest tax rates in the country—taxing neither personal incomes nor capital gains.
Perry’s critics say that Texas leads the nation in minimum wage jobs. But Obama’s misguided championing of a higher minimum wage during a recession—when employers can least afford it—has contributed to the unemployment of 24 percent of teenagers who rely on low-paying, low-skill, entry-level work. For black teens, the unemployment rate is much worse—41.6 percent. Furthermore, the BLS reports that the average wage for all employees in Texas is climbing 48 percent higher than the nation as a whole—a testimony to many quality jobs in the Lone Star State.
Perry’s 4-point economic agenda is the total opposite of Obama’s. Perry recently described it to the Republican Leadership Conference as, “Don’t spend all the money; keep the taxes low and under control; have regulations that are fair and predictable so that business owners know what to expect from one quarter to the next; and reform the legal system so that frivolous lawsuits don’t paralyze employers that are trying to create real wealth.”
Perry told The Wall Street Journal that if he were elected president and if Republicans regained a Senate majority, President Perry’s priorities for his first 100 days in office would include repealing ObamaCare, cutting spending, and reforming corporate income taxes to give U.S. firms an incentive to repatriate more than $1 trillion held in offshore subsidiaries. Perry said this would,"give people an incentive to start investing in America again."
So, there’s Obama and Perry, side-by-side: Obamanomics versus Perrynomics. Imagine if the two men switched jobs. Would that put Texas in better shape—or America?
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.