'The Perry Tales'

Texans have long been known for stretching the truth, but I don’t see the latest tales coming out of Texas ending “happily ever after.”

Not when voters take the time to separate fact and fiction.

Jim Hightower is an author, a nationally syndicated columnist and a radio commentator. He is a Texan who knows Texas politics. According to his Web site:

“Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.”

The eyes of this longtime Texas observer are upon the state’s governor, and before DemWit’s conservative readers get excited over presidential prospects, read on as Hightower pulls back the curtain on “The Perry Tales.” Thanks, Jim, for permission to reprint!

The Perry Tales
Rick Is Not Who He Says He Is

by Jim Hightower
31 Augsut 2011

Presidential wannabe Rick Perry is flitting all around the country — hither, thither and yon — spreading little "Perry Tales" about himself and the many wonders he has worked as governor of Texas.

His top Perry Tale is a creationist story about what he has modestly branded "The Texas Miracle." While the rest of the country is mired in joblessness, says the miracle worker, his state has added 1.2 million jobs during his 10-year tenure.

I've built "a job-creating machine," the governor gushed during one of his recent flits across Iowa, and a Perry PR aide smugly added, "The governor's job creation record speaks for itself."

Actually, it doesn't. Far from having the best unemployment rate in the nation, the Lone Star State ranks a middling 26th, behind New York, Massachusetts and other states whose "liberal" governments he routinely mocks.

Even more damning, Perry's Texas is not creating nearly enough jobs to keep up with its fast-growing population. Those 1.2 million new positions are 629,000 short of the jobs needed just to bring the state's employment level back up to where it was in 2007. Some miracle.

Worse, probe even a millimeter into the million-jobs number that he is sprinkling around like fairy dust, and you'll learn that Perry's jobs are mostly "jobettes" that can't sustain a family. They come with very low pay, no health care or pension, and no employment security, labor rights or upward mobility — many are only part-time and/or temporary positions.

Here's a particularly revealing stat that the Perry pixies don't want us to see: On his watch as governor, Texas added more minimum wage jobs than all the other 49 states combined. More than half a million Texans now work for $7.25 an hour or less. He can brag that he's brought Texans down into a tie with Mississippi for the highest percentage of workers reduced to poverty pay.

Spreading even more fairy dust, Perry claims that his Texas Miracle is the result of him keeping the government out of the private sector's way. But peek behind that ideological curtain, and you'll find this startling fact: During Perry's decade, the greatest job growth by far has come from the public sector, which has more than doubled the number of new jobs created by the private sector.

One out of six employed Texans are now teachers, police officers, highway engineers, military personnel or other government workers — and many of these jobs were created with the federal money that Perry-the-candidate now loudly denounces. Indeed, he's running around ranting about President Obama's stimulus program, but he gladly accepted the third highest amount of stimulus funds taken by the 50 states. There's his miracle.

Interestingly, even his tea-partyish hatred — nay, loathing! — of big government's intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens turns out to be just another Perry Tale. In fact, there would be no Rick Perry without the steady "intrusion" of government into his life.

Local taxpayers in Haskell County put him through their public school system — for free. He and his family were dry-land cotton farmers, and federal taxpayers helped support them with thousands of dollars in crop subsidies — Perry personally took $80,000 in farm payments.

State and federal taxpayers financed his college education at Texas A&M, even giving him the extracurricular opportunity to be a cheerleader. Upon graduation, he spent four years on the federal payroll as an Air Force transport pilot who never did any combat duty.

Then, in 1984, Perry hit the mother lode of government pay by moving into elected office — squatting there for 27 years and counting. In addition to getting regular paychecks from taxpayers for nearly three decades as a state representative, agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor, he also receives platinum-level health care coverage and a generous pension from the state, plus $10,000 a month for renting a luxury suburban home, a covey of political and personal aides and even a publicly paid subscription to Food & Wine magazine.

So when this taxpayer-supported lifer flits into your town to declare that he will slash public benefits and make government "as inconsequential as possible," he means in your life, not his.

Perry literally puts the "hype" in hypocrisy. Forget his tall tales and political B.S. — look at what he actually does.




Towanda said...

Thanks for all this, but why am I not surprised.

Nance said...

Thank you for this piece! I've seen most of these facts in random pieces here and there, but Hightower pulls them together for maximum impact.

Katherine said...

My guess is that Hightower probably could have said a whole lot more about Rick Perry, but out of decency, didn't. Personally, the ease with which Perry has had Texas prisoners excecuted--including a man found innocent--horrifies me. I also feel wary of any individual who has some need to make a public display of his 'devotion' to God. In my experience, the sincerely faithful and humble have nothing to proove.

For whatever reason, BJ, I've had no luck posting comments on your blog. I'm right with you though, and appreciate your many thoughtful contributions. It's my hope that you're feeling fine again and was encouraged that the spirited spring in your blog 'voice' is coming back. Hope so. Katherine

Jerry Critter said...

Perry probably feels, what the hell. The guy was probably guilt of something anyway.

Tiny said...

Not only does Pixie Perry promise to keep government out of your life, as governer he gave an executive order that all teen age girls had to take a vaccine supposedly to prevent HIV and cervical cancer. Does that sound like keeping government out of your life? Angry parents in Texas don't think so!

But the pharmaceutical Merck Company gave in the neighborhood of $30,000.00 to the Pixie's campaigns. That's what I would consider as selling young girls as guinea pigs for profit.

How does that comport with GOPers abstinence only policy and/or the parents' choice of what they think is best for their little girls? Is his "pixie dust" telling them it's okay to go ahead and have sex?

Tiny thinks society would be much beter off had Merck provided a good shrink and medications for all eight GOPers taking the stage for their razzle dazzle hype.

Murr Brewster said...

Just discounting evolution and human-caused global warming is a deal-breaker for me. I honestly prefer my public servants to be smarter than me. Now we've got a batch that wallows in ignorance like a pig in mud. Or something a lot like mud.

Jerry Critter said...

Pixie's chief of staff is now a top Merck lobbyist, also.

Leslie Parsley said...

Had seen this wonderful Hightower piece, and anything I could say about Perry would be redundant. Suffice it to say that I think he's the most despicable excuse for a human being I've seen run for the highest office in the land in history. He is the one who should be sitting on death row.