Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Friend Larry Goldstein Had A Canary Named Perry When I Went To PS-197


Those Texan jaw muscles look very much in practice, don't you think?

Judging by the media clamor Monday, Texas Governor George W. Bush Rick Perry won the Iowa straw poll and is the Republican front runner. One almost feels sorry for Romney-- I mean it is his turn and he has been anointed by the Elders of Plutocracy-- and Bachmann, who fancied herself the anti-Mitt. Her success at anti-Mittdom, though, is what motivated the Elders to push Pawlenty and, now, Perry, to run. Neither is remotely equipped to actually be president, nor even run a competent campaign, but both are said to appeal to the brainless zombies Fox and Limbaugh have worked so hard to create and have been so firmly behind Bachmann. Pawlenty failed... dismally. So Perry's taking a shot at her constituency and Pawlenty obediently faded away... the same weekend. My guess is that Perry will win over enough of Bachmann's crowd-- I mean, in the end, for those folks, she's just a woman, obedient or not, and he's... an all-American cowboy-- with good hair! Yahooo.

Presumably he'll run on the Texas Economic Miracle, something local Texas bloggers have been working hard to illustrate for the uninitiated at Perry For President FML. That's the go-to site for everything anyone might want to know about Rick Perry... in convenient bite-sized bits (so even Republican primary voters can understand it). Many thoughtful commentators, from Jed Lewison, Dylan Matthews and Brad Plumer to Paul Krugman took a closer, in-depth look at the Perry Miracle and spit their coffees out all over their breakfast tables. Krugman, who has a knack of being able to see through fairy-tales and tall-tales, particularly of the economic variety. He went right after Perry's likely campaign claim that he can restore prosperity to America by applying the same policies at a national level that he used to bring on the "Texas Miracle," which he flatly terms "a myth... and more broadly that Texan experience offers no useful lessons on how to restore national full employment."
It’s true that Texas entered recession a bit later than the rest of America, mainly because the state’s still energy-heavy economy was buoyed by high oil prices through the first half of 2008. Also, Texas was spared the worst of the housing crisis, partly because it turns out to have surprisingly strict regulation of mortgage lending.

Despite all that, however, from mid-2008 onward unemployment soared in Texas, just as it did almost everywhere else.

In June 2011, the Texas unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. That was less than unemployment in collapsed-bubble states like California and Florida, but it was slightly higher than the unemployment rate in New York, and significantly higher than the rate in Massachusetts. By the way, one in four Texans lacks health insurance, the highest proportion in the nation, thanks largely to the state’s small-government approach. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has near-universal coverage thanks to health reform very similar to the “job-killing” Affordable Care Act.

So where does the notion of a Texas miracle come from? Mainly from widespread misunderstanding of the economic effects of population growth.

For this much is true about Texas: It has, for many decades, had much faster population growth than the rest of America-- about twice as fast since 1990. Several factors underlie this rapid population growth: a high birth rate, immigration from Mexico, and inward migration of Americans from other states, who are attracted to Texas by its warm weather and low cost of living, low housing costs in particular.

And just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a low cost of living. In particular, there’s a good case to be made that zoning policies in many states unnecessarily restrict the supply of housing, and that this is one area where Texas does in fact do something right.

But what does population growth have to do with job growth? Well, the high rate of population growth translates into above-average job growth through a couple of channels. Many of the people moving to Texas-- retirees in search of warm winters, middle-class Mexicans in search of a safer life-- bring purchasing power that leads to greater local employment. At the same time, the rapid growth in the Texas work force keeps wages low-- almost 10 percent of Texan workers earn the minimum wage or less, well above the national average-- and these low wages give corporations an incentive to move production to the Lone Star State.

So Texas tends, in good years and bad, to have higher job growth than the rest of America. But it needs lots of new jobs just to keep up with its rising population-- and as those unemployment comparisons show, recent employment growth has fallen well short of what’s needed.

If this picture doesn’t look very much like the glowing portrait Texas boosters like to paint, there’s a reason: the glowing portrait is false.

Still, does Texas job growth point the way to faster job growth in the nation as a whole? No.

What Texas shows is that a state offering cheap labor and, less important, weak regulation can attract jobs from other states. I believe that the appropriate response to this insight is “Well, duh.” The point is that arguing from this experience that depressing wages and dismantling regulation in America as a whole would create more jobs-- which is, whatever Mr. Perry may say, what Perrynomics amounts to in practice-- involves a fallacy of composition: every state can’t lure jobs away from every other state.

In fact, at a national level lower wages would almost certainly lead to fewer jobs-- because they would leave working Americans even less able to cope with the overhang of debt left behind by the housing bubble, an overhang that is at the heart of our economic problem.

So when Mr. Perry presents himself as the candidate who knows how to create jobs, don’t believe him. His prescriptions for job creation would work about as well in practice as his prayer-based attempt to end Texas’s crippling drought.

Matthew Yglesias reminds us that Perry "wrote" a book in 2010 Fed Up! Our Fight To Save America From Washington. He may have left out the ending And Turn It Over To Our Wonderful, Generous Corporations. Ygelsias decided this would be a good week to go back over the book and pick out the 10 weirdest-- no not in the Mormon sense-- ideas:
— 10. Social Security Is Evil: According to Perry Social Security is “by far the best example” of a program “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles.” (page 48)

— 9. Private Enterprise Blossomed Under Conscription and Wartime Price Controls: Not only does he argue that the New Deal failed to end the Great Depression, but he asserts “recovery did not come until World War II, when FDR was finally persuaded to unleash private enterprise.” (page 48)

— 8. Medicare is Too Expensive But Must Never Be Cut: Both establishing Medicare in 1965 and expanding it to include prescription drugs in 2003 are examples of “an irresponsible culture of spending in Washington” (page 63), but establishing “‘councils of experts’ and panels of various sorts” to assess the cost effectiveness of different Medicare-eligible treatments is a “frightening” “scheme” that “undermines freedom” and can be fairly labeled “death panels” (page 81).

— 7. All Bank Regulation Is Unconstitutional: Criticizing the Security and Exchange Commission’s rulemaking process under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, Perry asserts that “if the Constitution were shown the appropriate respect, Washington regulation writers wouldn’t have to worry about underrepresented views, because they wouldn’t have control over them in the first place” (page 94).

— 6. Consumer Financial Protection Is Unconstitutional: Further reiterates his view that all federal financial regulation is illegitimate, listing the SEC on page 44 as part of a “federal alphabet soup” in which “undemocratic unelected Washington bureaucrats” are “now (dubiously) empowered to dictate their own preferences to the American people.”

— 5. Almost Everything Is Unconstitutional: Regrets the existence of jurisprudence construing the Commerce Clause to permit “federal laws regulating the environment, regulating guns, protecting civil rights, establishing the massive programs and Medicare and Medicaid, creating national minimum wage laws, [and] establishing national labor laws.” Perry makes a partial exception for laws barring racial discrimination which he says fulfill “the intent behind the passage of the Reconstruction Era amendments.” (page 51)

— 4. Federal Education Policy Is Unconstitutional: Cites the willingness of Republicans to vote for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as a “perfect example” of “losing sight of the fact that perfectly laudable policy choices at the local level are not appropriate (much less constitutional) at the federal level.” (page 87)

— 3. Al Gore Is Part Of A Conspiracy To Deny The Existence Of Global Cooling: Jokes that the Social Security Trust Fund “must be somewhere in Al Gore’s lockbox, right next to his notes from inventing the Internet and that global cooling data he doesn’t want anyone to see” (page 60). Argues that moderates oppose curbing greenhouse gas emissions because “they know that we have been experiencing a cooling trend” (page 92).

— 2. Not Only Is Everything Unconstitutional, Activist Judges Are a Problem: Having called the majority of the duly enacted modern welfare state and federal regulatory apparatus unconstitutional, Perry pivots to the complaint that “the [Supreme] court too often chooses to take it upon itself to govern and to develop policy” (page 114).

— 1. The Civil War Was Caused By Slaveowners Trampling On Northern States’ Rights: Rather than simply citing chattel slavery as an exemption to his “states’ rights are good” principle, Perry argues that slaveholder activism in the 1850s was an example of big government federal overreach. “In many ways it was the northern states whose sovereignty was violated in the run-up to the Civil War,” he argues, citing the Fugitive Slave Act and completely ignoring the human rights of the enslaved African-Americans of the South. He says “we can never know what would have happened in the absence of federal involvement,” ignoring again the fact that federalism would have bought peace at the price of continued slavery.

Actual new ad in the Austin Statesman this week

I guess this is what Obama is counting on to bring out the voters regardless of what a thoroughly mediocre and disappointing president he's been. Could work too. Even Karl Rove slapped Perry around today-- and for more than just his not-ready-for-rime-time call for violence against Bernanke.
It's no secret that Team George W. Bush and Team Rick Perry are not exactly close. And with Perry flailing after he accused Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke of "almost treasonous" behavior, one of Team W's biggest names is taking the opportunity to twist the knife.

"You don't accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country. Of being guilty of treason," Karl Rove told Fox News Tuesday. "And, suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in texas. You know, that is not, again a presidential statement."

...Rove's not pulling any punches, suggesting that Perry's comments are a sign of a candidate destined to be gaffe-prone.

"If Rick Perry were to be elected president he'd be saddled with Ben Bernanke who has a term. He's an independent chairman of the federal reserve board, appointed by president and confirmed by Congress and serves for a term and the president couldn't even ask him to resign," Rove said. "So, this is -- I hope this is not the first of sort of over the top statements."

As ThinkProgress reports, Rove also took on Perry over his attempts to distance himself from Bush, whom he served with as Lt. Gov. of Texas before ascending to the big chair when Bush moved to the White House.

Interesting discussion of Perry's chances to win by Rachel Maddow and Howard Dean last night:

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At 10:07 AM, Anonymous BetNot said...

Looks like a Koch-sucker to me...

At 7:13 PM, Anonymous me said...

That corndog pic of Perry is just aching for a little Photoshop work.


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