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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
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Perry Tales: Rick Is Not Who He Says He Is


Presidential wannabe Rick Perry is flitting all around the country — hither, thither and yon — spreading little "Perry Tales" about himself and the many wonders he has worked as governor of Texas.

His top Perry Tale is a creationist story about what he has modestly branded "The Texas Miracle." While the rest of the country is mired in joblessness, says the miracle worker, his state has added 1.2 million jobs during his 10-year tenure.

I've built "a job-creating machine," the governor gushed during one of his recent flits across Iowa, and a Perry PR aide smugly added, "The governor's job creation record speaks for itself."

Actually, it doesn't. Far from having the best unemployment rate in the nation, the Lone Star State ranks a middling 26th, behind New York, Massachusetts and other states whose "liberal" governments he routinely mocks.

Even more damning, Perry's Texas is not creating nearly enough jobs to keep up with its fast-growing population. Those 1.2 million new positions are 629,000 short of the jobs needed just to bring the state's employment level back up to where it was in 2007. Some miracle.

Worse, probe even a millimeter into the million-jobs number that he is sprinkling around like fairy dust, and you'll learn that Perry's jobs are mostly "jobettes" that can't sustain a family. They come with very low pay, no health care or pension, and no employment security, labor rights or upward mobility — many are only part-time and/or temporary positions.

Here's a particularly revealing stat that the Perry pixies don't want us to see: On his watch as governor, Texas added more minimum wage jobs than all the other 49 states combined. More than half a million Texans now work for $7.25 an hour or less. He can brag that he's brought Texans down into a tie with Mississippi for the highest percentage of workers reduced to poverty pay.

Spreading even more fairy dust, Perry claims that his Texas Miracle is the result of him keeping the government out of the private sector's way. But peek behind that ideological curtain, and you'll find this startling fact: During Perry's decade, the greatest job growth by far has come from the public sector, which has more than doubled the number of new jobs created by the private sector.

One out of six employed Texans are now teachers, police officers, highway engineers, military personnel or other government workers — and many of these jobs were created with the federal money that Perry-the-candidate now loudly denounces. Indeed, he's running around ranting about President Obama's stimulus program, but he gladly accepted the third highest amount of stimulus funds taken by the 50 states. There's his miracle.

Interestingly, even his tea-partyish hatred — nay, loathing! — of big government's intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens turns out to be just another Perry Tale. In fact, there would be no Rick Perry without the steady "intrusion" of government into his life.

Local taxpayers in Haskell County put him through their public school system — for free. He and his family were dry-land cotton farmers, and federal taxpayers helped support them with thousands of dollars in crop subsidies — Perry personally took $80,000 in farm payments.

State and federal taxpayers financed his college education at Texas A&M, even giving him the extracurricular opportunity to be a cheerleader. Upon graduation, he spent four years on the federal payroll as an Air Force transport pilot who never did any combat duty.

Then, in 1984, Perry hit the mother lode of government pay by moving into elected office — squatting there for 27 years and counting. In addition to getting regular paychecks from taxpayers for nearly three decades as a state representative, agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor, he also receives platinum-level health care coverage and a generous pension from the state, plus $10,000 a month for renting a luxury suburban home, a covey of political and personal aides and even a publicly paid subscription to Food & Wine magazine.

So when this taxpayer-supported lifer flits into your town to declare that he will slash public benefits and make government "as inconsequential as possible," he means in your life, not his.

Perry literally puts the "hype" in hypocrisy. Forget his tall tales and political B.S. — look at what he actually does.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



8 Comments | Post Comment
On the other hand, Rick Perry has signed more death orders than any other governor in U.S. history. He's ordered the executions of mentally disabled people, people who were juveniles when charged, and probably at least one innocent person.

That kind of fortitude means a lot in Texas.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Steven Doyle
Wed Sep 7, 2011 4:35 AM
It is a sad day indeed when people who would lead the nation cannot even bring themselves to embrace science as basic as the theory of evolution, or evidence as compelling as that which points to global warming. There is no single greater cause for this country to be on the ropes than the backward thinking like these micro-minded candidates are so proud of.

The world is laughing at our stupidity and wondering just how low we can sink. Well, maybe not laughing so much any more, as they realize what terrible ramifications our intellectual degeneracy has for the entire planet.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Masako
Wed Sep 7, 2011 7:07 PM
If the people of the US elect Perry president, they will get exactly what they deserve.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Richard
Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:15 PM
Re: Richard I disagree. You don't have to be a fool to be fooled. Don't blame the victim here. ALL 300 million Americans don't deserve this guy just because he and his handlers (theoretically) manage to dupe enough people in each area to vote for him.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Sheldon
Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:33 PM
Can WE all agree to stop using the word "WE" to refer to all Americans? It's actually THEY who are supporting this moron Rick Perry, not WE. And if THEY vote him in, that doesn't mean that WE deserve our fate. It means WE have been victimized by THEM.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Sheldon
Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:35 PM
No, "WE" can't agree to that, and here's why: it is not our president's fault, or the fault of the republican party that WE can't keep it together long enough to move forward: WE complain at every turn, and have turned from the party of Reason to the party of Never Enough, where WE stand on the sidelines and watch Obama wind down a war, watch the aversion of two potentially international conflicts (Egypt and Libya), the end of DOMA, and a huge step toward universal health care, and WE say that it's the Democratic leaders' responsibility that we had to fight long and hard with the rabid dogs WE let our friends and neighbors elect to congress.

If Rick Perry, or for that matter most of the Republican Ticket, gets to the White House, WE will have to step up and take responsibility. Nobody deserves to get let down like these people will let US down, but we all deserve a good bucket of cold water to the face for the attitude that there is a "THEM" that WE can magically blame for everything.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Charles
Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:15 AM
Hi Jim,
What a great article about Perry. I've got some details to share with you regarding Perry's stance on Social Security. He wants states to handle it right? He wants it privatized , right?
Well, well, well, what do you know... I live in South Carolina, where we had a governor " take missing", remember?
And I located my already privatized Social Security account at Fidelity Investments back in 2006.
I've got over 5300 documents involved in this mess, which incorporates Medicare problems and Medicaid issues. Remember, Medicaid is partially state, partially federal, or so we think.

Perry is probably already holding state privatized accounts. Sanford ran after I notified numerous people in DC of SC's role in the financial crisis. You see, Fidelity's parent company, FMR LLC, held beneficial interests in Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, GM and Chrysler. FMR was the end beneficiary of all bail out and TARP money.

I've been harassed, stalked, spied on, lied to, financially and emotionally abused like no other American citizen but I continue to try to exercise my first amendment right to free speech.

I've be delighted to mail you a " proof booklet" consisting of 75 pages. It went to the SC legislative Audit Council in February of this year. I had positive results the very next day.

This is a very complicated story but rest assured, Perry wants states to handle SSA monies because they already are.


Thanks. Hope to hear from you.......
Liz S.
South Carolina.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Liz S.
Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:05 PM
Gee, Jim, I thought you were dead (certainly you're old enough to be dead) but here you are still doin' the Lord's work and givin' the wing-nuts hell in support of the working people of America. Keep on keepin' on, Man.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Chuck Ford
Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:39 AM
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