GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s disastrous stunt targeting local and international businesses cost Texas more than $4 billion in damages, an economic consulting firm in the state has estimated. The Perryman Group estimates that Abbott’s now-rescinded policy forcing commercial vehicles to undergo redundant checks that actually didn’t do much of any checking “will cost the equivalent of 77,000 job years for the country and 36,300 for Texas’ economy,” The Dallas Morning News reports.
The city of Pharr is singled out in the article as the site of one of the busiest land crossings in the country. Abbott’s stunt cost the area roughly $200 million every single day in losses. The Perryman Group estimates that Abbott caused the nation roughly $9 billion in lost gross domestic product, the report said.
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“The biggest losses were to the manufacturing sector, which took about 50% of the hit, followed by retail trade, wholesale trade and financial activities,” The Dallas Morning News reported. “Manufacturing and retail made up the bulk of the job losses. That doesn’t even account for the slowdown in shopping on the U.S. side of the border.”
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Border businesses had last fall welcomed the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which severely hurt the region’s economy. El Paso Matters reported in October that dozens of small businesses in the El Paso that depend on international traffic had closed. “It’s been really hard,” one business owner told the outlet. “It’s been hard for a year and a half.” Now Abbott is single-handedly trying to out-COVID COVID.
The right-wing governor has also remained at the center of international ire over his failure of a policy, with Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador calling it “a very despicable way to act.” He further questioned whether Abbott had any authority to engage in international agreements. “Instead of thinking—and I say this respectfully—‘How will I fix the problem of inflation?’ He is politicizing and even violating international rights,” the president said.
The truly shameless Abbott then responded to López Obrador’s remarks by threatening to reinstate his unpopular policy, claiming he has “the capability at any time” to resume his unnecessary secondary inspections, Houston Chronicle reported.
There’s are two possible outcomes here: all hat and no cattle, Abbott is bluffing. Recall his redundant checks were so unpopular he got attacks from state officials even more right-wing than him. GOP Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller complained to NPR that "[y]ou're already seeing things like bananas, avocados, lemons and limes" go up in price because of this stunt.
The second possible outcome is he actually does it and then keeps trying to blame Joe Biden. When The Dallas Morning News questioned Abbott about his policy’s economic damage, he did exactly what we thought he’d do: falsely blame the president.
“A 5-hour average delay for enhanced vehicle inspections is hardly equivalent to President Biden’s 15-month delay to secure our border,” a spokesperson told the outlet. So many lies, though there is a grain of truth in there, which is Abbott’s office acknowledging his failed policy’s delays. But even that truth has been twisted, because commercial truckers caught in Abbott’s stunt saw delays of up to 30 hours.
But ending the policy isn’t like a light switch, because the Perryman Group said that it could take weeks for businesses to get back to normal. “Abbott just single-handedly cost us more than $4 billion as he jacked up inflation across this state,” tweeted Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. “Let's make sure every Texan sees this.”
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