You’d never know it from his stump speech, but Perry’s Texas owes a lot to the federal government he purports to want to limit. Mitchell Schnurman, the S-T business columnist, takes a look at Rick Perry’s anti-government talk in light of his pro-government performance:
The state’s jobs growth (dubbed the “Texas Miracle”) catapulting Perry’s run for the White House owes much to government spending and its fiscal sibling, public borrowing. Cities and school districts have been the big drivers, and that’s simpatico with the Texas ethos of a weak, decentralized government. But don’t discount the feds, whose defense buildup alone has tripled the billions of dollars in contracts flowing to the state.
How many realize that Texas has a greater share of government workers than the rest of America? Or that under Perry, state debt grew faster than national debt? And that Texas was willing to spend and borrow for unemployment benefits–not once, but twice, under Perry’s watch?
The idea that Texas is a small-government, pay-as-you-go, free-market haven is about as authentic as the daily cattle drive through the Fort Worth Stockyards. It may have happened in the past, but it’s all for show today.
Schnurman doesn’t necessarily think all the spending is a bad thing (Texas is, after all, the fastest growing state in the Union). But a reality-check might help us confront our state’s future needs (and current deficits) with a little more humility.