Four summers ago, 73 percent of Republicans were satisfied with the candidates seeking the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Now, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll revealed on Wednesday, only 45 percent of Republicans are happy with today’s 2012 contenders.
Despite pro-market ideas and an impressive, limited-government record, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty seems too genteel to leapfrog the apparent frontrunner, Willard Mitt Romney. For his part, Massachusetts’s telegenic former governor is a philosophical contortionist. He has inhabited at least two sides of nearly every major issue and even defends an individual mandate for health insurance, provided that state governments inflict it, à la Romneycare. Romney, thus, would let the states becomes laboratories of tyranny.
Texas governor Rick Perry, 61, could cure the GOP’s ennui. As America’s economy slumbers, Perry tells a stimulating story about Texas’s pro-market growth and job creation, two subjects atop the American mind.
Gov. Rick Perry (R., Tex.) greets a young admirer.
Between January 2001 and June 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates, Texas’s non-farm employment grew from 9,542,400 in January 2001, when Perry took office, to 10,395,800 in June 2010 — an increase of 853,400 or 8.9 percent. Big-government California simultaneously lost 827,800 jobs. Employment in Texas grew more than in the other 49 states combined. “Texas was one of the very few which even added jobs over that time,” BLS’s Cheryl Abbot told PolitiFact.com.
Since June 2009, when the Great Recession officially ended, Texas has produced 265,300 net jobs, equal to 36.7 percent of the 722,200 positions created nationwide. Even during the downturn, the Texas Public Policy Foundation discovered, Texas’s peak employment dropped by 2.3 percent, versus California’s 8.7 percent plunge.
As last October 27’s Wall Street Journal opined, “Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio have become destinations for investment and entrepreneurship. Texas has become a mecca for high tech, venture capital, aeronautics, health care, and even industrial manufacturing, like the building of cars and trucks.”
For seven years running, CEOs polled by Chief Executive magazine have rated Texas first in business development and job growth. Texas boasts 58 Fortune 500 companies — more than any other state.
As America’s No. 1 exporting state, Texas shipped $206.6 billion in goods abroad last year, a full 16 percent of America’s $1.28 trillion in exports. California’s $143.3 billion in exports ranked it second, with 11.2 percent of U.S. outflow.
Americans seeking opportunity often vote with their feet. Texas wins that race in a landslide. “Texas led all other states with a net in-migration of 500,000 people from 2004 to 2008,” W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm found in a report for Southern Methodist University’s O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom.
Texas’s achievements so stunned Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic lieutenant governor, that he flew a delegation to Austin last May to ask Perry how he lures defectors from the Golden State. Of the 70 companies that fled California in 2011, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund reported last April, 14 relocated to Texas — these exiles’ favorite destination.
So, what is Perry’s secret? Texas taxes neither personal incomes nor capital gains, and Perry proposed a 2010 constitutional amendment to require two-thirds supermajorities to legislate tax hikes. Beyond that, as Perry told Manhattan Republicans on Tuesday, “don’t spend all the money.” He advised “a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable” as well as “a legal system that doesn’t allow for over-suing.” Thus, Perry signed a ground-breaking “loser pays” tort reform and medical-litigation rules that caused malpractice-insurance rates to fall. Some 20,000 doctors since have flooded Texas.
Texas is a right-to-work state, which Perry should trumpet nationally. He should demand a woman’s right to choose — whether or not to join a union. Indeed, Perry should promise to fight for and sign Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R., S.C.) National Right to Work Act.