Monday, August 15, 2011

The Truth About Rick Perry's Job Creation Claims

Today in Iowa, Perry said "Mr. President, you need to free up the employers to create jobs. Get rid of the regulations that are stifling jobs in America. Free up this country from these stifling regulations." Perry has claimed he is mostly (if not completely) responsibly for the than 211,000 jobs added in 2010, accounting for a large slice of the nation’s employment growth.

Why do companies love Texas? It's pretty easy to see if you are the owner of the company. Chief Executive magazine has published a survey of where 500-plus C.E.O.s identify the best and worst states to do business, assessing factors like taxes, regulations, workforce quality and living environment. The editor-in-chief, J.P. Donlon, says there has been one constant in all seven surveys: Texas comes in first.

You mean 500 of the most trustworthy, honest, compassionate, looking-out-for-the-proletariat C.E.O.s said Texas is the place to do business? Taxes, regulations, workforce quality - I doubt those CEOs are advocating on the side of the employee in these categories. Where are the taxes the lowest, but the minimum wage also? Where are there minimum regulations regarding sick days, paid time off, unions, overtime, healthcare, and other employee protections? Where can we hire migrant workers without punishment while simultaneously damning their illegal status? Do we really want to be the #1 place where 500 greedy, penurious C.E.O.'s want to give you (lucky you!) a job?

Once you've landed that coveted Texan job, you won't be able to live on what you earn! Of the 211,000 jobs added in Texas last year, 37 percent (or more than 76,000) paid at or below minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas' minimum-wage is $7.25. That's $13,920 in annual income before taxes, at 40 hours per week. The Department of Health and Human Services puts the poverty line at collected (after taxes) $10,890 yearly salary for one person. That leaves mere pennies for emergencies. And how many minimum-wage employees do you know who are able to get full-time hours?

Texas now leads the nation in minimum-wage workers (550,000 in all). It still has a huge disparity between the extremely wealthy and the literally dirt poor. Guess how Perry has chosen to assist those less financially fortunate - you know, the ones who should be grateful for his minimum-wage job creation? By cutting funding for public schools and social services, most recently, family planning services to 180,000 women who lose their access to cancer screenings and birth control. Oh, and while we are talking about healthcare? One in four Texans lacks health insurance, by far the highest percentage in the nation.

Rick Perry for President? We'll all be working in and stealing from gas stations. But at least we'll have jobs. Shitty, shitty jobs.

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