Texas and Employment

Taking an initial look into the Texas economy.

Rick Perry’s primary weapon (no pun intended) in this campaign is going to be jobs.  The litany goes something like this:

“We are home to fewer than one in 10 Americans … but four in 10 new American jobs are in our state,” he told a conference of state legislators from around the nation this week.

And, indeed, as CNN Money notes (also the source for the above):

Texas has gained more than 1 million net new jobs in the decade Perry has led the state. And it’s been going strong since the recession ended.

Now, as a Texan by birth, I have a substantial helping of that thing that Texans consider a modest and realistic pride in the land of the Lone Star (but that others in the country seem to regard simply as annoying—go and figure), so I am wired to like the idea of a “Texas Miracle” i.e., the idea that Texas has discovered the cure for our economic woes.  However, I am also keen on evidence and such and not just grandiose claims.

If we look, for example, at the unemployment rates in the country as of June 2011 (via the Bureau of Labor Statistics) we find that, in fact, Texas’ unemployment rate, while better than the country as a whole, is smack in the middle of the pack.  Specifically, Texas was 26th out of 51 units (the measure includes DC) with an unemployment rate of 8.2%.  The national rate as of June was 9.2%.  At a minimum, the job creation number has to be discussed in the context of the overall unemployment rate.

Let’s consider some of the states that have better unemployment rates (ranks in parentheses):

Vermont 5.5% (6)

Massachusetts 7.6% (18t)

Pennsylvania 7.6% (18t)

New York 8.0%  (23)

I pick these states because they clearly are ones that would hardly fit a Perry model, and these numbers do suggest a more complex situation, than the one that Perry is suggesting, yes?  How can high tax, high regulation states like NY and MA have lower unemployment rates than low tax, low regulation Texas?  This is a legitimate question because the current policy arguments being made by the GOP are based in the notion that low tax/low regulation is what we need to be doing to create jobs (and not to mention that MA has that universal health care thing going that I thought was supposed to be a jobs killer…).

Back to the CNN Money piece, there are serious issues in Texas that have to be taken into account when evaluating the overall economic story.  To wit:

Texas leads the nation in minimum-wage jobs, and many positions don’t offer health benefits. Also, steep budget cuts are expected to result in the loss of more than 100,000 jobs.


Many of the positions that have been created are on the lower end of the pay scale. Some 550,000 workers last year were paid at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25, more than double the number making those wages in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s 9.5% of Texas’ hourly workforce, which gives it the highest percentage of minimum-wage hourly workers in the nation — a dubious title it shares with Mississippi.

There is also the fact that roughly 100,000 teacher have lost, or about to lose their jobs due to state budget cuts.

Also, in terms of policies that can be translated from Texas to the nation as a whole (which is what Perry is going to claim he can do), we have niggling problems like:

Rich in natural resources, the state has been benefiting from the high price of oil and the expanded interest in natural gas exploration. Energy employment has soared by 16.8% over the past year alone.

Another thing that has to be taken into account, is that a lot of the job growth has come from luring businesses from other states to Texas, which has lower taxes and is less regulated than many other states.  All well and good, but that means that rather than having a secret formula to actually create new jobs, Texas has found a way to siphon new jobs from other states.  This is not a policy that can be transferred to the national level.   As Paul Krugman noted over the weekend “every state can’t lure jobs away from every other state.”  As such, even if Perry can take all the credit for what has happened in Texas, it does not provide a model for a national jobs policy.

One area that has been a clear positive for Texas has been that the state did not suffer as much from the bursting housing bubble as did most of the country.  WaPo (h/t:  Krugman) had a piece on this in April of 2010 (How Texas escaped the real estate crisis):

Texas’s 3.1 million mortgage borrowers are a breed of their own among big states with big cities. Fewer than 6 percent of them are in or near foreclosure, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association; the national average is nearly 10 percent. The land in Texas might look an awful lot like its Sun Belt sisters Arizona (with 13 percent of its borrowers in foreclosure) or Nevada (19 percent) — flat and generous in letting real estate developers sprawl where they will. Texas was even the home base of two of the nation’s biggest bubble-era homebuilders, Centex and D.R. Horton.

Texan subprime borrowers do especially well compared with their counterparts elsewhere. The foreclosure rate among subprime borrowers in Texas, at less than 19 percent, is the lowest of any state except Alaska.

One reason for this, according to the piece, is that Texas avoided the massive run-up in housing prices seen in places like Arizona and Nevada.  Another reason is, actually, regulations (yes, regulations) that affected the ability of Texans to take out home equity loans, which made it more difficult for Texans to take so much cash out of their homes that they ended up underwater once the market collapsed:

A cash-out refinance is a mortgage taken out for a higher balance than the one on an existing loan, net of fees. Across the nation, cash-outs became ubiquitous during the mortgage boom, as skyrocketing house prices made it possible for homeowners, even those with bad credit, to use their home equity like an ATM. But not in Texas. There, cash-outs and home-equity loans cannot total more than 80 percent of a home’s appraised value. There’s a 12-day cooling-off period after an application, during which the borrower can pull out. And when a borrower refinances a mortgage, it’s illegal to get even a dollar back. Texas really means it: All these protections, and more, are in the state constitution. The Texas restrictions on mortgage borrowing date from the first days of statehood in 1845, when the constitution banned home loans.


A borrower [in Texas] can secure a home-equity line of credit from a bank. And she can refinance her mortgage or take out a home-equity loan. But the total amount of debt on a home cannot exceed 80 percent of its appraised value, and any proceeds cannot be used to pay off other debts.

States like Florida and California, which had a huge run-up in real estate prices also had a lot of such cash-out refis.  Also, the bolded part is quite interesting, insofar as such a stricture means that Texans with debt problems could not use their homes to pay of other debts, and therefore the incentive structure would be different for indebted Texans than it was for indebted Californians or Floridians or whomever.

And while I certainly understand a politician claiming credit for something that s/he did not do, it is worth nothing that the lack of a housing collapse helped Texas quite a bit over the last several years and it is ironic (to put it mildly) that government regulation was part of the reason.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. James Joyner says:

    I’m not sure that Texas can fairly be compared to Vermont, since it’s a mere state while Texas is like a whole ‘nother country. Additionally, when making comparisons with New York, you have to factor in the superiority of Texas’ salsa products.

  2. @James Joyner: You do raise some salient points that need consideration, to be sure.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Now, as a Texan by birth, I have a substantial helping of that thing that Texans consider a modest and realistic pride in the land of the Lone Star

    I too am a born and bred Texan, and my mother had more than a little of that “thing”, but the best thing my parents ever did was get me out of that cesspool.

    As to Rick Perry, Tom Archer has little use for him.

  4. john personna says:

    As a tech person I’ve been called about going to jobs in Texas a few times. I can’t recall being “called to” any other state.

    There probably has been a tilt as people went from California to lower taxes and land prices in Texas. Of course, they also got the one-time win, selling California RE and buying in Texas. My buddy moved from Irvine (median price $545K) to New Burnsfels (median price $122,376).

  5. john personna says:

    (It might be interesting to know how much “Texas Miracle” is “California Money.”)

  6. @john personna: This has been a long-standing situation. I had friends who did a similar move in the late 1980s and went from a really nice home in Orange County to a HUGE house in Austin.

  7. john personna says:

    Sorry, “New Braunfels.” I trusted my spelling because the real estate search matched. It must have corrected for me.

  8. Trumwill says:

    To add to John Personna’s point, I was recently hired by a Texas company, despite living several states away. When I passed through for business, it felt almost like they were giving jobs away at the airport. Nearly everyone I met seemed to be wanting to hire. I work in the IT sector, which is a pretty good place to be, but I saw Now Hiring signs on every storefront, just like in the old days. I was really astonished.

    As to the article, I think unemployment numbers are something of a mixed bag. One of the reasons for the high unemployment numbers is interstate migration. If an unemployed person moves from Pennsylvania to Texas, the former’s unemployment rate goes down and the latter goes up. On the other hand, the point about Texas having simply taken jobs from other states is a very good one. And I think it’s a stretch to give Perry much credit for a state that has been performing well for quite some time.

  9. Tea Parties are for Little Girls (formerly Hey Norm) says:

    Shorter Version:
    If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  10. DavidL says:

    It appears that Rick Perry did not preside over any economic miracle in Texas. However he does at least understand the process for promoting the growth of private sector jobs and is in fact not hostile to them. Not so for Barack Obama.

    To paraphrase the first law of holes, the key to promoting private sector job growth is to stop waging war on it. Obama ia idealogicallty bound to wage war on private sector jobs. Perry is not.

  11. Rick DeMent says:

    It should also be mentioned that they have no state income tax because they tax oil and gas. You could almost make the case they are socialists, stealing the hard earned cash from oil and gas companies in order to relieve the residence from the burdens of financing state government.

  12. Tea Parties are for Little Girls (formerly Hey Norm) says:

    Oh please do tell DavidL…how exactly has Mr. Obama waged war on private sector jobs? Please enlighten us.

  13. Dave Schuler says:

    I agree with the thrust of your post, Steven. However, I think that New York is a horrible comparison to Texas if only because the Fed has pumped something like $5 trillion into banks, mostly located in New York, over the last several years. As a consequence Long Island property values continue to rise and luxury retailers are hard put to keep stock on the shelves. That’s no model for the rest of the country.

    Not only does Texas have low state taxes but the overall tax burden is lower there than for other large states as a consequence of the relatively high federal spending (much of it military spending) there. Something like 94 cents out of every tax dollar that Texas sends to Washington comes back in the form of federal spending. That’s nearly half again the return seen in California or Illinois. That’s not a model for other states, either.

  14. Adrian says:

    It’s always comical when these energy rich parts of the world claim to be such a miracle of modern economics. Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that you have no income tax due oil being at $80-$100/barrel. But that correlation will escape the media and therefore we will all be misinformed as usual. Bah, mondays!

  15. anjin-san says:

    @davidL. Does bithead pat you on the head and give you a biscuit when you repeat this nonsense?

  16. Trumwill says:

    It’s always comical when these energy rich parts of the world claim to be such a miracle of modern economics.

    Indeed. Like Norway.

    That being said, with both Texas and Norway, the fact that they exploit their natural resources does count for something. Natural gas is discovered in Texas and natural gas is discovered in New York State, and one moves on it while the other blocks it for environmental reasons, that does count for something. Regardless of which state’s policy you agree with.

    As a tangential matter, it’s also worth noting that when we talk about high energy prices being good for Texas, we’re not just talking about the natural resources that Texas exploits, but also (a) the fact that they lured the energy corporations into moving white collar jobs into the state and (b) they built refineries and took the environmental hit. These were decisions that, for better or worse, the state made.

  17. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Wow, this post is stunningly ignorant, even by Internet standards.

    Comparing unemployment rates of growing states like Texas versus shrinking states like those in the Northeast is an apples to oranges endeavor. It belies a complete misunderstanding of how unemployment is calculated and analyzed.

    Unemployment measures those who do not have jobs but who actively are seeking employment. When people are not bothering even to look for work they are not “unemployed,” which all other things being equal has the paradoxical effect of lowering the employment rate.

    Of course Texas has a higher unemployment rate than those of New York and Massachusetts. Texas has a rapidly-increasing population, a rapidly-increasing workforce and a young population. When more people per capita are looking for work it’ll have the effect of increasing the reported unemployment rate. New York, Pennslvania and Massachussets, on the other hand, are losing population. People there are voting with their feet. New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts also have older demographics. Hence more people hitting retirement and taking themselves outside the ranks of those who could be counted as “unemployed.” When you’re retired you’re simply not part of the measured workforce. New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts also have larger per capita welfare states. To reiterate, if someone isn’t looking for work they’re not counted as “unemployed” for purposes of the unemployment rate.

    All you need to know about Texas’ economy is the following:

    From January 1, 2011 through May 31, 2011 (data for June and July are not yet available) Texas created 119,000 net payroll jobs. During that same period the entire U.S. economy created 767,000 net payroll jobs. In other words, the State of Texas — around 8% of the nation’s population — is responsible this year for in excess of 15% of the nation’s net payroll job growth. That’s not a coincidence, Chief.

  18. Ron Beasley says:

    Here on the Left Coast in Oregon I’m seeing a lot of Texas plates in the parking lots of the expanding hi-tech plants here in the Portland area perhaps because they pay a living wage and offer health benefits. And yes Oregon raised both corporate and individual tax rates. Those who opposed the tax increases warned it would result in companies and individuals leaving the state – just the opposite occurred.

  19. Tea Parties are for Little Girls (formerly Hey Norm) says:

    How many of those jobs are represented by losses in other states? In other words, how much of that 15% was in poached jobs?
    The US Economy number of 767,000 jobs includes gains by Texas and losses by – say California. The Texas jobs number on the other hand includes only the gains by Texas (and of course losses by Texas). The 15% number is fine if you only care about Texas, but is highly mis-leading if you are concerned about the National economy.

  20. PJ says:

    From January 1, 2011 through May 31, 2011 (data for June and July are not yet available) Texas created 119,000 net payroll jobs.

    How many of these “created” jobs were actually created, and not just moved to Texas from other states?

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:


    These were decisions that, for better or and worse, the state made.

    (for some reason, when I blockquote, it still bolds everything automatically)

  22. Miscreant says:

    It’s a bit disingenuous to leave out the fact that Texas’ unemployment rate would be lower if not for certain oil companies leaving because of/being limited by the drilling moratorium, and EPA regulations inhibiting the creation of more jobs in various industries. The other states cited in comparison are not hindered by many of these factors.

  23. Davebo says:

    It’s a bit disingenuous to leave out the fact that Texas’ unemployment rate would be lower if not for certain oil companies leaving

    What companies are you referring to here? This should be interesting….

  24. Trumwill says:

    @Ron Beasley: And yet, if you compare the cost of living between, say, Austin and Portland, along with median household incomes, it’s actually more easy to have a “living wage” in Texas than Oregon. Even if you exclude taxes.

    To be fair, though, Oregon is hardly a high-tax state, so they had some room to raise taxes some. The same goes for Washington. Both are on our radar if we should decide to move. California, notably, is not.

  25. DavidL says:

    The Department of Transportation floated the idea of requiring farmers to obtain a commercial drivers license to operate a tractor. Family farms normally have their kids operate tractors. The effect of the DOT rule would be to put the familly farm our of business. I suggest was the DOT’s intent.

  26. Miscreant says:


    What companies are you referring to here? This should be interesting….”

    For those ill-informed: Nine deep-water rigs have left the Gulf since the moratorium, and taken their (high-paying) projects elsewhere. Shallow-water drillers have been similarly adversely affected- Texas-based Seahawk Drilling in fact recently had to declare bankruptcy…

  27. This Guy says:

    Cars in parking lots? Well, that’s evidence enough for me!

  28. Tea Parties are for Little Girls (formerly Hey Norm) says:

    @ DavidL…
    That’s your run-down of Obama’s war on private sector jobs? That someone floated an idea?

  29. Trumwill says:

    @Tea Parties are for Little Girls (formerly Hey Norm): Floated an idea and let it be shot down, even:


    In the wake of strong criticism from farmers and agricultural related groups all across the United States, the U. S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced it has no intention of requiring farmers to have a commercial drivers license if they operate tractors on public roads.

    In a news release, the administration said after hearing from concerned farmers, no regulations will be proposed for any new safety requirements or changes to the rules governing the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm.

    That means the common sense exemptions the law now provides for farmers operating machinery on the road will be able to continue.

  30. jan says:


    I found it odd DavidL that your post had so many “No’s” clicked onto it that it was subjected to the “hidden” dungeon. I expected some really dastardly comments when I read it. But, all I found were some criticisms directed to our current president.

    Now, when you compare what you expressed about President Obama to what others have been smarmily saying about the GOP candidates, your’s is like cookies and milk to their sauerkraut.

    I then haphazardly sifted through the archives wondering how diligently and profusely OTB looked into the background, issues, legislative record, ideology surrounding the then Candidate Obama. Other than Rev. Wright being lightly glossed over, Obama was pretty much given a pass. Boy, what a difference a D makes next to a name than an R, around here.

    It would seem, if one is legitimately trying to dissect how good a given candidate really is, a thorough microscopic analysis should be conducted equally to all people seeking public office — including the incumbent. Also, criticisms of candidates should be welcomed and researched for their accuracy and application, rather than booed or booted off the board because they didn’t comport with the ideology of the blog’s majority.

  31. Tea Parties are for Little Girls (formerly Hey Norm) says:

    “…all I found were some criticisms directed to our current president…”

    And you will note Jan, that when asked to explain his criticisms all he could come up with was a policy idea that was floated and then dismissed due to public comments – as it should have been.
    So in short, the comments lacked substance. It’s easy to spout bumper stickers like Obama is Waging War on Private Sector Jobs. You do it all the time. It’s harder to back up fallacious claims.

    “…Rev. Wright being lightly glossed over…”

    Seriously? That’s all the Nation heard about for months. Then Candidate Obama had to give a speech specifically addressing the issue. And that’s lightly glossed over?
    Buy a dog, name it “Clue”, and then you will have one.

  32. jan says:

    @Tea Parties are for Little Girls (formerly Hey Norm):

    Read my post Norm. I was talking about going through the archives of this blog…not the nation.

    You are so quick and glib to rebutt without even knowing the full content of what you are disagreeing with. Or, you go off wildly in another direction.

    Get a compass, Norm, because you certainly need one.

  33. john personna says:

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t vote DavidL down (the buttons still look active), but his post did make me tired all over – because it wasn’t so much wrong as empty. The whole thing hangs on this assertion that “Obama ia idealogicallty bound to wage war on private sector jobs.”

    I guess if you are over the edge you’ll believe that without thought. It was more than a dog whistle, it was a big waving flag to people in that in-group. That is, someone far enough out on the right, paranoid fringe, that they think Obama is making war on them.

    If we asked him to name examples of that “war” what would it be? Obama wants health care not because he cares about sick people, but because he is at war?

    Actually, it’s not even funny. Obama is so far on the run from even looking like he’s down on jobs that just about the only thing he can call out are rich men’s jets. Poor guy. Yes, even removing a tax break for private jets is war on private jobs.

  34. Hey Norm says:

    WTF are you talking about?
    I’m having trouble negotiating the archives from my phone and I still found a ton of Rev. Wright posts…all for a non-story that only rigid ideologues like you care about.
    What was it that Dan Akroyd said to his Weekend Update Co-Host?

  35. Barry says:

    @john personna: “(It might be interesting to know how much “Texas Miracle” is “California Money.”) ”

    And how much is federal spending. I’d be a lot, if not most.

  36. Hey Norm says:

    I have to say that I find it f’ing hilarious that Jan has turned,or tried anyway, a post about Texas employment into something about Jeremiah Wright. Talk about mis-guided obsessions. 3 years later these idiots are still upset about Wright. How f’ing stupid can you get?

  37. anjin-san says:

    Boy, what a difference a D makes next to a name than an R, around here.

    And then there is V, for victim, without which the right could not exist…

  38. Trumwill says:

    @Barry: Though Dave Schuler is 100% correct that the disparity is nowhere near that of California and Illinois, Texas is considered a donor state and not a beneficiary one.

  39. steve says:

    “Read my post Norm. I was talking about going through the archives of this blog…not the nation.”

    Try again. There were many posts about Wright and related topics. Every major speech was covered. Rezko was covered. Ayers was covered. However, this not being a red meat blog, there was a lot more discussion of policy rather than the non-issues you will find on Red State, etc. James has never hesitated to criticize Obama on policy. If you want to go someplace where they get into the silly stuff (Obama was born in Kenya, was best friends with Ayers, etc.) let us know and several of us can recommend appropriate blogs.


  40. Hey Norm says:

    Don’t worry Steve…she knows them…it’s where she gets all her opinions.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I was talking about going through the archives of this blog…not the nation.

    Funny Jan, I don’t recall you commenting here before the last month or so?

  42. jan says:


    However, this not being a red meat blog, there was a lot more discussion of policy …

    Yes, policy is discussed here — progressive policy, more on the far left of center. The red meat is saved for people not joining the chorus.

    In the OTB overview, describing what this site espouses it says:

    For the most part, our views are Classical Liberal: a strong belief in free trade, limited government, and respect for human rights.

    It seems the philosophy of the blog has changed since that was written. As there is very little small government ideas supported here, nor free trade. While people do passionately talk about human rights, it’s more in the framework of saving ‘entitlements’ at all cost, rather than reforming them. And, the reasoning behind this is limousine liberal type of empathy, rather than helping those who are able to transform their lives becoming more self sufficient, not having to rely on the government in order to survive. That old thing about teaching someone to fish rather than just giving them the fish.

    Many of your posts follow the path of the Western European nanny state. And, with that now breaking down, many of your ideas seem obtuse, passe and hardly constructive.

    There is a new piece called The viseral terror of a Tea Party Presidency: 10 thoughts on the coming political warfare of 2012. Athough it’s more a tongue-in-cheek piece, there is some truth in it’s ironical context. The best ‘thoughts’ are these two:

    2. Leftists fear conservative government because deep down they are afraid the policies will work and the country will prosper as a result and more people will abandon the progressive faith and they will no longer be able to live with the comforting delusion that they are superior to everyone around them.

    3. The Left is permanently incapable of self-reflection. It cannot reverse its centuries-long cosmic quest for the Open Society based on Social Justice; but rather only shift its tactics when necessary.

  43. @jan:

    progressive policy, more on the far left of center

    I would suggest that if you think this place is “far left of center” that you need to get out more often to more varied places or do some serious political theory/philosophy reading.

    Seriously. 🙂

  44. jan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Some of the posters here seem that way, Steven. The writers are different, and give more of a liberal perspective, rather than leftist one, of the issues. However, that stance about ‘small government,’ where is that addressed, or even critically discussed, except in a negative way?

  45. john personna says:


    Can you see “centrist” from there?

    Seriously, there is a wide land between “big government” and “small.” I’d describe it thus, that the US through all its growth years had a healthy mix of private industry and government. The middle ground is to understand that, embrace it, and try to refine it. That is a solidly “conservative” position in the meaning of the word.

    Small-government revolutionaries have an interest in defining themselves as the forefront, some new center, but at the same time that blinds them to what other people are actually thinking.

    If you talk about what the best “mix” is to a small-government revolutionary, they’ll tell you “all private.” That’s a little like what happened to old-line (real) socialists, when they said “all government.”

    The real socialists are gone, and now I guess we have to wait out the zealots on the other side.

  46. Scott O. says:


    I think this is the link you wanted.

    Can you please answer a question for me? That 2nd thought which you quoted, “Leftists fear conservative government because ….”, do you honestly believe that?

  47. mattb says:

    @jan: In all seriousness, you’re posting a link to an article that is “tounge-in-cheek” and then noting “there is some truth” to two of the points that demonstrate the opposing party is always wrong is exactly why I can’t take you seriously.

    The first point in that witty piece is:

    1. Conservatives fear leftist government because they know the policies do not work and the country will suffer as a result.

    In other words, the author is saying:

    1. Conservatives are always right
    2. Liberals are always wrong
    3. Liberals cannot truthfully look at themselves

    This is essentially the height of partisanship. And three is really offensive — its partisans (be they left or right) that are completely incapable of self-reflection (or admitting that they were wrong). Do you really believe that?!

    BTW, again, serious question for you… on another thread you mentioned that in the past some of your views have gotten you accused of being a “liberal” on right wing sites… would you share what those are? I’m really curious, because that side of you has never appeared on any posts on OTB.

  48. jan says:


    would you share what those are? I’m really curious, because that side of you has never appeared on any posts on OTB.

    I am a fiscal conservative, which is a side that is shown here.

    I believe in smaller, unobtrusive government. Raising tax margins, based on one’s class or fiscal stratum, is regressive economics, IMO, and dehabilitates a culture by enabling versus strengthening people. Western Europe examplifies this, along with the recent UK riots over there and our flash mobs over here.

    Restructuring our tax code, though, simplifying it, lessoning loopholes, broadening the base, while still maintaining reasonably higher income tax margins for wealthier individuals are the way to go for revenue “enhancement.” However, ample cuts should also be made vis-a-vie going through government agencies, bureaucracies with a fine-tooth comb, shrinking many and eliminating others, altogether. There is a book called ‘National Suicide’ by Martin Gross, which does a thoughtful job of this.

    I am moderate to liberal in my social views — maybe even libertarian, in a way. I don’t like interfering in another’s life, bedroom, finances etc. How I live my life is depended on my own values, not others. Consequently, I neither like the social engineering on the left nor the religiosity on the right. I think government should stay out of socially or religiously patrolling how people seek to realize their life, unless it indangers the public at large. I also think all welfare programs need more oversight and incentives to get out of them, so they do not become a generational expectation by the populace.

  49. jan says:

    @Scott O.:

    Can you please answer a question for me? That 2nd thought which you quoted, “Leftists fear conservative government because ….”, do you honestly believe that?

    I do think leftists are afraid of any policies, outside of their own, working, as it would generally undermind the progressive movement. Looking at the WI experiment is one example, IMO, of the fear leftists, unions in particular, have of changes that might produce positive outcomes.

    Already, school districts are seeing a lessoning of the retraction of funding there due to Walkers debt reform and collective bargaining policies. Some districts that were going in the red, with deficits, are back in the black having money to hire more teachers and reduce class sizes. However, these positive outcomes will not be discussed in any leftist sites, publications, as it would hurt their cause, diminish their reason (the unions) for operating as they do.

    I personally think unions have come full circle, from being a positive vehicle for worker change, to now being one of the main reasons for many employers’ closing down their shop, moving to RTW states versus union ones, all at the expense and suffering of the worker. Union demands have created much of the employment stagnation by overreaching and thus killing the market place, like what was done in Michigan. But, they will never admit it. And, workers are afraid of going it alone without their union representation. It’s an unpleasant and unworkable face-off in the ranks of the employed and employers that is proving to be very unheathy for both them and the public they serve.

  50. bgog says:


    You seem a little more sincere than the average troll and interested in being, potentially, a civil person. Let me help you. I’ll be condescending and insulting along the way, I can’t help it, but try and learn anyway.

    You don’t get a lot of respect here because you don’t deal in reality. Furthermore, you don’t really make an attempt to deal in reality. Your last post exemplifies your feelings-based approach to public policy.

    Steve’s post marshals an array of evidence about an empirical debate – is Texas actually doing well at creating jobs, and if it was, does this equal a prosperous and desirable economic environment in the state? He does a decent job, though this can be answered for real in one graph:


    Your response is a bunch of name-calling, or at best, an empty complaint that the posters have attitudes you don’t like. They’re too nice to Obama, they defend the “welfare state”, etc.

    Before I forget, comments are hidden via the votes of people who read the website, not by the editors. So, blaming the site owners for the reactions of their audience is… par for the course.

    In short, you apply a loyalty test, i.e. criticizing republicans isn’t fair. Later on, when pressed, throw up a bunch of canards about how Europe’s current problems demonstrate morally corruptive effects of high taxes?. It’s hard to overstate how stupid this is. Europe’s current problems demonstrate the weakness of a unified currency/monetary policy among states with language barriers.

    For example, somehow our moral culture survived the existence of tax rates much higher than those currently in Europe in the 1940s-to-60s. In fact, in the US, tax rates started falling in the mid-60’s and then riots started breaking out! But correlation does not imply causation. This bad argument is used to illustrate your own bad arguments. The reason I can find contrary casual relationships to your ideas so easily is that you are careless and disinterested or unable to learn about whether your beliefs make sense. This whole original post – does Texas’ minimal welfare state help create jobs? – goes right over your head. It has implications for whether your beliefs make sense, and you don’t engage with that at all. You don’t seem to be able to handle it, so you’re stuck making arguments about feelings. Arguments about feelings are for children, not professionals.

    Deficit spending has nothing to do with the existence of lack thereof of social insurance – go learn about public expenditures in central africa. I’m not calling you stupid, but you have no idea how to think carefully about your ideas, or how to investigate them, or else you’re too lazy to try. This guarantees that you will run around generally making the world worse off, like a child running around with an open flame.

    Worse than that you have no idea what you’re talking about is that you don’t even know you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    So, to clue you in, you’re going to be ignored by the people in charge until you learn how to deal in and with evidence and avoid these kinds of childish arguments.
    Even after that, you’ll still generally be ignored, because the editors have jobs and lives. But right now, there’s no way to take you seriously.

    Practice making your point actually relate to the topic of the thread, and practice finding real events and conditions in the world that attempt to validate your fairy-tale principles. Most importantly of all, learn to actually read and consider evidence contrary to your beliefs. Until then, you’re not playing the same game, speaking the same language. You’re almost literally not saying anything. Arguing with you makes no more sense than arguing with a kid who claims rules exist because you hate them.

  51. An Interested Party says:

    “Leftists” no more fear policies outside of their own than do “rightists”…it’s really rich for someone to whine about the supposed left-tilt of this site while linking to Pajamas Media, Red State, etc….I would suggest to anyone that if they don’t like what they see here, they are quite free to click on that x up in the right hand corner and take their eyes to a site that would be more suitable to the way they think…

  52. Scott O. says:

    I’ll take that as yes, you honestly believe that. Those best 2 thoughts you quoted are not thoughts, it’s merely repetition of dogma, slightly reworded perhaps, which can be heard all day everyday on any right wing talk radio show. Conservatives are good, liberals are bad. Conservatives are smart, liberals are stupid. Conservatives love America, liberals hate America. It’s stated as fact without basis and accepted as such by those seeking validation of their beliefs.

    I’m sure there are leftist sites doing similar things. I don’t visit them and if I posted a link to such mindless drivel I would expect to be called a moron. The difference is that this kind of stuff is now the mainstream of the right while it’s the fringe on the left.

    There are conservatives who base their opinions on logic, including some (most?) of this site’s writers. Sadly, they have become the minority over the last 20 years or so and we’re left with the likes of you.

  53. Habbit says:

    @Trumwill: It’s a great point… Essentially, if Rick Perry can bring in jobs from other states, there’s more likelihood that he can oversee the return of companies back to the United States, something Bush and your Messiah seem to lack the ability to accomplish.

  54. An Interested Party says:

    Essentially, if Rick Perry can bring in jobs from other states, there’s more likelihood that he can oversee the return of companies back to the United States…

    Oh, by turning the rest of the country into Texas…plenty of low wages jobs, no social safety net, great for corporations, not so much for others…no thanks…

  55. andrew says:

    “I would suggest that if you think this place is “far left of center” that you need to get out more often to more varied places or do some serious political theory/philosophy reading.”

    If you don’t realize that this once good blog has become a forum for Leftist hacks like yourself you’re even stupider and lazier than I thought. You should try getting out more.

  56. @andrew:

    a forum for Leftist hacks like yourself

    So, a post that attempt to look comparatively at other states and to inquire into why it might be the case that Texas’ economy (especially vis-a-vis the housing crisis) is doing what it is doing is the mark of a “leftist hack”?

    I think that says more about you than it does about me.

    Beyond that: most people (and I would say you fit the bill, based on your comment) don’t really understand left/right. It because some combination of partisan ID/does not agree with me, rather than a useful designation.

  57. andrew says:

    “So, a post that attempt to look comparatively at other states and to inquire into why it might be the case that Texas’ economy (especially vis-a-vis the housing crisis) is doing what it is doing is the mark of a “leftist hack”?”

    No, taking a Leftist hack like Krugman seriously, and consistently taking up every talking point from the Left wing media as if it’s objective journalism, seriously, makes you a Leftist hack.

    A state with less than 10% of the country’s population creates a number of jobs well beyond that proportion of the overall population. You can believe that it’s luck, or you can believe that regardless of that fact that the economy of Texas is relatively bad. But, you can’t logically believe both at the same time. Unless of course you’re a Leftist hack, like yourself.

  58. Habbit says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Oh, by turning the rest of the country into Texas…plenty of low wages jobs, no social safety net, great for corporations, not so much for others…no thanks…

    Here, boys and girls, is a unparalled example of how vapid and simple thought-processes, in combination with strict adherence to daft political party lines, result in an individual who refuses to neutrally assess the positive aspects of situation simply because of the Elephant whom looms in the background of the representative in question. And before this tangent travels even further down the road, the above statement applies not only to you, Mr. Negative Party, but also to all the other naive political party paraders.

    In your next response, can you please attempt to legitimately discredit the point that eight hundred and fifty thousand jobs appeared in Texas since Governor Perry took office in 2001? If you are unable to do so, please excuse yourself from wasting both our time.

  59. @andrew: Ok, so my sin is quoting Krugman.


  60. Scott O. says:


    Dude, don’t keep repeating leftist hack over and over. Spice it up a bit. May I suggest elitist, minion, toady, sycophant to name a few? By the way, why do you capitalize the word leftist every time?

  61. An Interested Party says:

    …vapid and simple thought-processes…

    Oh, like arguing that Perry is responsible for all those jobs coming to Texas and then further arguing that he could somehow replicate that alleged talent on the federal level, as if bringing jobs into this country from other countries is the same thing as supposedly bringing jobs into his state from others…

    At the risk of wasting anyone’s time, could we say that the particular conditions in Texas contributed to all the job growth? How could those conditions be replicated in the country as a whole?

    In your next response, can you please attempt to legitimately discredit the point that eight hundred and fifty thousand jobs appeared in Texas since Governor Perry took office in 2001?

    Perhaps after you can explain how Perry deserves all, or even most, of the credit for all those jobs coming to Texas…

  62. Habbit says:

    @An Interested Party: I asked you to provide something, anything… you didn’t… you can’t, actually. Your entire response is stimulated simply from your despise of redneck Republicans. Grow up! 🙂

    If Governor Perry was not responsible for the eight hundred and fifty thousand jobs that manifested in Texas, who is? You? Santa Claus? GOD?!! … Or, just for shits and giggles… President Obama?! Lol 😀 Of course, we could also take your simplistic Paul Krugman regurgitation and ascertain that maybe Governor Perry’s LACK of interference in the state-business affairs of Texas is the very reason the region’s economy is growing, that businesses are emigrating there, and that despite horrible job growth rate in almost every other state (brought on collectively by President W and a Democratic Congress and further perpetuated by Barack the Christ), Texas continues to… what’s a good phrase… give away jobs.

    But again, those $15.14 an hour jobs cannot be counted as permissible to An All-Mighty Negative Party, simply because they’re not good enough for him. I hope to God’s sake for your family(?) you don’t lose your employment; judging by your attitude you’d let your wife(?) and children(?) starve than support them on hourly wage employment that is beneath you.

    By the way,

    as if bringing jobs into this country from other countries [factory jobs, low paying, minimum wage jobs, production jobs] is the same thing as supposedly bringing jobs into his state [factory jobs, low paying, minimum wage jobs, production jobs] from others…

    The shittiest part about life is that you can never have it both ways: in your case, does Governor Perry merely pilfer garbage jobs from other states… … … … … because if so, I’m sure that translates into plenty acumen in possibly bringing those “plenty of low wages jobs” back to the States.

    Next time maybe you’ll concede that there are somethings in life that actually work not according to way you wish them to. Good day, sir!