Texas Gov. Rick Perry May Have the Cure for an Ailing Economy
Around the State
Jobs, jobs, jobs -- from every corner of the country politicians say we must create more jobs in America.
When Obamacare was passed, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promised that 400,000 jobs would be created “almost immediately.” President Obama claims he has a plan to create jobs -- but he won’t share the details with the country until after a lengthy vacation.
All of the Republican candidates for president also claim to have a solution for our jobs problem. Yet only one candidate has a decade-long track record of creating jobs. That candidate is Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Since Perry became governor more than 10 years ago, Texas has created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. In the last two years, Texas has created 47 percent of all jobs created in the country. Moreover, five of the top 10 cities with the highest job growth in the nation are in Texas.
Gov. Perry’s prescription for success is not complicated. As a staunch conservative, he has made it a priority to control spending and reduce taxes. He is the only governor since World War II to reduce state general revenue spending. Perry also signed an historic property tax cut -- as well as a much-needed tax cut for small businesses.
Three weeks ago I had the pleasure of flying to Austin to meet with Gov. Perry and his campaign team. He is genuine, he is focused, and I think he realizes that at this moment in our nation’s history, we need a leader who can do more than talk about job creation. His track record of accomplishment in Texas has, to a significant degree, insulated the Lone Star State from many of the ill-effects of Obamanomics.
My sense is that he really enjoys being governor of Texas and he is not running for president as a result of some longstanding desire to hold the highest office in the country. Instead, I believe he is running out of a deep-rooted sense of duty.
In so many ways Gov. Perry is the anti-Obama. Where Obama looks to increased spending and taxes to drive the economy (which is great if you are trying to drive it in a ditch -- which he has successfully done), Perry believes the best approach is to cut government spending, keep taxes low, reduce regulation and let the free market take off. If you compare the national economy to the economy in Texas, it is fairly obvious which approach has been more successful.
Another area where there is a stark contrast between the president and Gov. Perry is in dealing with the military. Prior to becoming president, Barack Obama had no military experience. His most notable achievement in the military arena since becoming president (apart from breaking his campaign promise to get the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan) has been to end the ban on openly gay military service. Admittedly, he can also claim credit for the assassination of Osama bin Laden since it took place on his watch.
On the other hand, after graduating from college, Gov. Rick Perry actually served in the military -- taking a commission in the United States Air Force. The former Eagle Scout flew C-130s around the globe for the Air Force. He was honorably discharged with the rank of captain. Gov. Perry was not the first in his family to serve in the armed forces. His dad, Ray Perry, was a tail gunner in WWII who flew 35 missions over Europe.
One event last February that has nothing to do with politics demonstrates just how different Perry is from Obama. Perry was taking an early morning jog without his security detail -- but accompanied by his daughter’s Labrador retriever. During the run, a coyote started following Perry and the dog. Perry stopped and yelled at the coyote. The coyote stopped and was “laser locked” on the dog. Feeling that he and the dog were in imminent danger, Gov.Perry did what any self-respecting Texan would do: He drew the .380 Ruger loaded with hollow-point bullets that he carries when he jogs, and he killed the coyote. Perry later said, “Don’t attack my dog.”
If you put President Obama in the same situation it would have been handled far differently. First of all, you would have to convince the president to jog rather than shoot hoops. If he did jog, there would be a motorcade of 40 cars following him (and lots of press). When the coyote came along, he would order the Secret Service to feed the animal rather than shoot it. While they tried to figure out what to feed the animal, the coyote would help itself to the family dog.
Obama would later return to Washington and introduce a $50 billion government program to make “coyote habitat” off-limits for humans. There would also be a $5 million earmark in the budget to build a memorial to the dog.
Which brings us back to the issue of the economy and jobs. Over the next 15 months, the country will decide who is best qualified to create jobs and ignite our economy as president. Most of the candidates will make a lot of promises and do a lot of finger pointing. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry will say, “Don’t take my word for it, look at the success we have had in Texas.”
Americans may find that Perry’s prescription for fixing the economy is just what the doctor ordered.
This is a guest column by Jeff Kottkamp. He served as Florida’s 17th lieutenant governor.