Posted on: July 20th, 2011 by Patrick Michels No Comments
Comedy Central host and super PAC architect Stephen Colbert considered Gov. Rick Perry’s entry into the “embarrassment… of riches” that makes up the GOP presidential field last night, with a segment considering Perry’s history with coyotes and with God.
Colbert quotes from a transcript of one of Perry’s fundraisers for his upcoming prayer rally, “The Response,” in which he said, “It’s time to just hand it over to God and say, God, you’re gonna have to fix this.”
Colbert follows by paraphrasing: “Perry has looked our problems squarely in the eye and said, ‘I got nothin’. Jump in any time here.’”
He also mentions the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s suit over Perry’s involvement with the event, on the grounds that Perry’s involvement violates church and state separation. Colbert says, “It doesn’t cross the line between church and state. It erases it.”
Perry has called critics of his event “intolerant,” but the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas continued the push today, announcing its open records requests with Perry’s office and local government in Houston to determine whether any state money has been spent on the event.
“The ACLU of Texas values the diversity of belief systems in public life, and each of our beliefs calls us to address problems in different ways. But none of us, especially an elected official, is in the position to say whether believers or non-believers should lead the way in solving our common problems,” director Terri Burke said in a statement.
Beck, whose television program is set to end Thursday, prefaced the interview by lauding Texas for generating 37 percent of all new post-recession U.S. jobs since June 2009. Both he and Perry avoided mentioning the state’s structural budget deficit, sweeping cuts to health services and public education, and its surge of low-wage jobs, as noted by the Texas Independent.
From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase of nearly 150 percent. Texas leads the nation in the number and proportion of people making minimum wage or less. Aside from the lack of a state income tax and Perry’s push for tort reform, neither the host nor guest paid much attention to other variables that could have influenced the job creation numbers, such as Texas’ natural resources, energy and high-tech industries, successful Gulf port business and trade with Mexico and China, all factors pointed to by Pia Orrenius, a senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve – the source of the 37 percent figure (via PolitiFact Texas).
Referencing a critical story in TIME magazine’s Swampland, Beck asked Perry to assess the idea that he is a “master at the theater of job poaching” from other states like California and New York, to which Perry replied, that is what the “Founding Fathers had in mind with the Tenth Amendment.”
(That particular amendment explicitly asserts that powers not granted by the U.S. Constitution to the federal government are reserved to the individual states; unless those powers are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution to the states — then they are reserved to the people.)
The TIME article recounted a trip Perry made to California last November in which he “crowed that he had stolen 153 businesses from the Golden State in 2010; some 92 companies moved the other way, leaving Perry with a net gain of 61 businesses.”
A CNN opinion piece, written by a former Dallas Morning News columnist, calls the “Texas miracle” a mere “mirage.” In it, state Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) says many of those highly touted jobs went to people moving to Texas in order to take those jobs, and therefore, fail to raise the employment rate of native Texans:
“That jobs thing is a sleight of hand,” Castro said. “More than half of those new jobs have been filed by non-Texans. So it’s people moving here to take those jobs. It underscores this bipolar state that we live in. You have a population in Texas that is generally lower educated, poor, isn’t covered by health insurance … all of these things … so you can recruit these companies to come here from out of state but your own people, often times, aren’t qualified to fill these jobs.”
The way that Castro sees it, this is all about long-term investment and conflicting priorities.
“We’re not creating a system that educates them well and prepares them,” he said. “We underinvest in these things, which is what Perry is doing in public education and higher education. We can create the jobs, and that’s great. But our own people who have gone through Texas schools and Texas universities aren’t the ones filling them.”
When Beck brought up the TSA “anti-groping” bill, added to the special session call by Perry, the governor took to the opportunity to voice his disapproval of federal employee-led unions:
“Beck: Are you concerned at all about the organizing of the airport workers by the AFL-CIO? The security, homeland security?
Perry: Sure. I think anytime you have federal employees being unionized, I have a real problem with that. You don’t have to look much further than what we have already that those federal agencies, or the federal employees that are unionized at the end of the day, it’s not in the best interest of the citizens certainly the citizens who aren’t part of the union.”
As a “right-to-work” state, employees in Texas cannot be required to join unions upon employment. The classification is seen by opponents as a means to deter from collective bargaining, a way to dilute unionization and prevent employees from securing higher paying jobs. According to a report by The Economic Policy Institute, the “right-to-work” law — because it decreases wages and benefits, weakens workplace protections, and minimizes the likelihood that employers will be required to negotiate with their employees — “is advanced as a strategy for attracting new businesses to locate in a state.”
The report’s analysis of Oklahoma, the most recent state to enact a “right-to-work” law, also found evidence that the laws could actually hurt the economic prospects of states looking to branch out from traditional or low-wage manufacturing jobs into areas such as high-tech manufacturing or “knowledge” sector jobs.
“Although Beck cited Texas’ AA+ rating from S&P, he neglected to mention that Texas is “unlikely to receive the top AAA rating because lawmakers have not addressed a structural deficit created by an underperforming business tax.””
Beck joked that he is considering moving to Texas and toyed with the idea of running for Perry’s spot, if he decides to make a presidential bid, saying, “You know, Rick, I mean this sincerely. And I know that you’re considering possibly running for president of the United States. And I’m considered possibly moving to Texas. I don’t know who your lieutenant governor is, but I am thinking that we’re not going to let you leave Texas. I mean, I could run for governor of Texas, I’m just saying.”
Political observers expect current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to announce soon that he will campaign for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Posted on: March 4th, 2011 by Patrick Brendel 2 Comments
After House passage of his pre-abortion sonogram bill, state Rep. Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) explained to state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center) that sonograms are necessary because women seeking abortions “are under a lot of emotional stress” and many women who had abortions had “disturbed, emotional problems later in life.” (more…)
Posted on: January 20th, 2011 by Patrick Caldwell 2 Comments
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) spoke on the House floor Wednesday and attacked his fellow members of Congress for having previously ignored the Constitution. He praised the increased attention that the country’s bedrock document has received with the new prominence of tea party groups, but noted that his colleagues in the government have employed the Constitution as a living document to fit their legislative goals. (more…)
Posted on: December 1st, 2010 by Luke Johnson 3 Comments
Continuing his drumbeat of interviewing incendiary public figures and questioning their claims and actions, CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed Texas State Rep. Leo Berman, who authored a bill requiring presidential and vice-presidential candidates to submit their original birth certificates to the Texas Secretary of State. (more…)