I think Rick Perry is going to get eaten alive in this campaign. If being an Al Gore supporter hasn't already doomed him with the tea partiers, and if his dull, glazed-eyes George Bushian demeanor doesn't doom him with everyone else, then his own record ought to do it.
We can thank Perry for one thing, though: yet another demonstration of how crazy/scary/controversial/liberal Keynesian economics actually works in practice:
Despite being one of the loudest critics of President Obama's stimulus, Perry used billions of dollars of federal money to patch Texas' budget shortfalls, and was thus able to create and maintain lots and lots of public sector jobs. In fact, if you look at net job creation between 2007 and 2010, it's clear the only thing keeping Texas buoyant was government jobs.
Check out the below chart from Jared Bernstein -- a fiscal policy expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and former chief economist to the stimulus bill's top cop, Vice President Joe Biden. It shows pretty conclusively that the recession cost Texas 178,000 private sector jobs -- a fairly small share for a populous state, when you consider that crisis cost the country many millions. But in the same period, it added 125,000 public sector jobs -- nearly half of all government jobs created in this period nationwide. Put together, the Texas has only lost 53,000 jobs total during the downturn.
For all of Rick Perry's whining about wanting more federal aid (when he wasn't threatening to secede from the union rather than take it, that is), Texas made out like a bandit when it comes to government-supported job creation. Nearly half of all government jobs nationwide
were added in Texas? Talk about federal stimulus!
Note that if those government jobs hadn't been added—or worse, if they not only hadn't been added, but further government jobs had been cut—the Texas unemployment situation would look even more dismal than it is.
For a while now, Texas has been angling to become America's closer-to-home China, the place companies in other states outsource to because Texas can undercut wages, worker protections, environmental protections and other pesky regulations that other states deem important. This has meant that private-sector Texas ranks near the bottom in a great many economic categories, including the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers in America. Perry is darn lucky he was able to have the stimulus effect of 125,000 new government jobs, even if he, personally, wants to keep railing against them.