Is Rick Perry's jobs 'miracle' a lie?

The Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate cites his record on fighting unemployment as something his rivals can't match. But will such claims backfire?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says his state's positive job growth is proof he can get the rest of American working; others aren't so sure.
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose campaign bus is plastered with the slogan "Get America Working Again," is making his record on jobs the centerpiece of his run for the Republican presidential nomination. As proof that he's the GOP candidate best positioned to beat President Obama, he points to the so-called "Texas miracle" — Perry's state has added, not lost, jobs in the faltering economy. But critics say Perry's claims are "overblown," and that others, including President Obama, also deserve credit for Texas' good fortune. Is Perry overstating the "Texas miracle" and his role in it?

The jobs "miracle" didn't happen: "The Texas miracle is a myth," says Paul Krugman in The New York Times. The oil-producing state entered the recession late, largely because it benefited from high oil prices in 2008. After that "unemployment soared in Texas, just as it did almost everywhere else." In June 2011, Texas' unemployment rate, at 8.2 percent, was higher than New York's and Massachusetts', and "one in four Texans lack health insurance, the highest proportion in the nation...."

"The Texas unmiracle"

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Perry did create fertile ground for job growth: California has lots of oil, too, says Jeffrey Folks at The American Thinker, yet its economy is "in the Dumpster" while Texas prospers. Why the difference? Texas has no income tax, so working adults and retirees want to live there. And as governor, "Rick Perry helped to create a tax and regulatory environment" that helped businesses flourish. Too bad Obama didn't adopt Perry's policies at a national level.

"Obama and the Perry miracle"

The "Texas miracle" is more complicated than Perry admits: Rick Perry can take credit for a 2003 law capping malpractice awards, says Ezra Klein at The Washington Post, which attracted 20,000 physicians to Texas. But, for the most part, Texas didn't create jobs — it siphoned them from other states by offering sub-par wages and loose business regulations, which is hardly a solution nationwide. And many of Texas' new jobs came from government spending aided by $6.4 billion in Obama stimulus spending, but you won't hear that in Perry's stump speech.

"Breaking down Rick Perry's 'Texas miracle'"

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