And last night the Gym some ass-hat two machines down from me not only had Fox News On, but had it turned UP. (Usually the TV's are muted and just show subtitles.) So I got to listen to a marvelously fact-free response from the four members of the Fox Panel who HAVE NOT won Nobel Prizes in Economics. Devoid of rational response, or evidence to support their so called “miracle,” they report to calling [Krugman's analysis] the “Alien Invasion” theory suggesting either that Krugman credits illegal immigration ALONE for ALL of Texas’ growth, or that he was suggesting that little green men, perhaps from Mars, were somehow to thank. And of course, the average Fox viewer is more likely to hear that explanation and think, “Wow, that Krugman sure is a nut!” rather than, “Wow, these Fox peoples sure are stupid!” Because remember:
A LIBERAL WILL TELL YOU WHY YOUR ARGUMENT IS WRONG.
A CONSERVATIVE WILL TELL YOU WHY YOUR ARGUMENT IS LIBERAL.
(As an aside, between how pissed off I was getting listening to Fox and the Trainer playing the Greatest Hits of the Rocky movies with one his clients, I did have a really good workout!)
(Another aside - I couldn't find a transcript of the Fox segment, but while looking for one, I found almost the next best thing: This Idiot's Blog. Check it out, although preferably not right after you've eaten! We got a future Hall of Shamer here, for sure.
Well, anyway, I’m all for debunking “Miracles” as anyone who understands my Humanist and Skeptical Philosophy already knows. And I heard an EXCELLENT story on NPR this morning that started where Krugman left off and ran with it, showing even more reasons why the “Texas Miracle” is unlikely to apply to the broader economy. You can find a transcript and audio HERE, but here are some of the highlights:
1) Population Growth: Texas has had an influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal, yes, but also many people moving there from other States. And, as Mister Krugman pointed out, it’s not like EVERY STATE’S population can grow based on people moving there from OTHER STATES. So, either it IS (or will have to be) an actual “Alien Invasion,” as Fox sarcastically put it, or it won’t work. Nice work there, Fox.
2) Public Sector growth has been every bit as robust as Private Sector growth. Liberals would be neither surprised nor bothered by this, but remember: He’s promising small Government. Apparently what’s been good for Texas will NOT in fact be good for the rest of the Country – at least according to him and his Tea-Backers.
3) The overwhelming majority of the private sector jobs have paid minimum-wage or less. Governor Perry, please, despite what your Tea-Backer and Supply-Side buddies will tell you, we don’t just want jobs. We want GOOD PAYING JOBS. Filling the economy with part-time, minimum wage jobs (or worse) is NOT what we’re looking for!
4) Despite all that Public Sector Growth – that the Right isn’t even prescribing? Texas ranks 49th in per pupil public school spending, and 50th – tied with Mississ-fucking-ssippi (or as my father-in-law calls it: The states that keep West Virginia from being LAST in anything) in the percentage of adults that go without health insurance.
5) Texas residence still go without many of the services that residents of every other state enjoy. Remember folks, because this is his recipe for success: Sub-Minimum Wage Jobs, and no Public Services. THAT’s the Texas “Miracle.”
6) Perry's “Enterprise Fund,” which gives taxpayer money to companies to come to, or expand in, Texas. *ugh* OK, putting aside that this is little more than Rick Perry giving tax-payer money to the company’s that back his campaign (alone enough to warrant his removal from office) this might sound a bit familiar. In one of the rare instance in which I agree with the tea-baggers, another word for this is… duh-dah-daaaaaah: STIMULUS. (You know: That thing they want to GET RID OF so we can have MORE JOBS?) (Idiots.) And in one of those rare instances that I agree with Rick Perry, depending on how this is administered this can be a good thing. Of course, I’d prefer public works projects to strait corporate giveaways, but, in a rare instance where Paul Krugman and Rick Perry would agree, the economic effect is largely the same: IT CREATES JOBS. But, of course, this will likely be off the table when it comes to the rest of the country. The Tea Party Republican Retards have no intention of spending any money to fix anything. (At least, not while Obama's in office.)
And finally, the one that PISSES ME OFF THE MOST…
7) What kind of companies thrive in Texas? What are the biggest employers there, the ones driving most of that jobs growth? Well…
1: Gas prices go up =>the economy slows.
2: Slow economy => no jobs => less demand => gas prices drop.
3: Low gas prices mean people have more money, as they are no longer being strangled by the oil companies. (Thank you, Mister Keyenes!)
4: More money => more demand => economy starts to improve.
5: Economy improves, demand goes up => GAS PRICES GO UP.
6: GOTO 1
And it doesn’t make a difference whether the oil is foreign or not. (Shell is a Dutch company. They still employ a lot of Texan-Americans.) The problem is that oil and gas (energy) prices will ALWAYS act as drag on the economy. They will ALWAYS be a negatively correlated indicator. Until we break their stranglehold we will not be able to escape this pattern. It’s like a tax on the rest of the economy, but one who’s rate actually goes up to the point that it kills growth as soon as there IS any. And nowhere has this kick-in-the-balls been more evident than in my home state of Michigan. High gas prices killed the SUV. That’s great for the environment, don’t get me wrong. It needed to happen, and it was inevitable that big-Auto would need to transition off of them. But the gas prices have gone back down since then! They slowed the economy and were really what kicked off the mortgage crisis. (Not the kindling, of course, just the spark.) And the two brought the Big Three automakers to the brink of bankruptcy. And we haven’t had a robust recovery – because the Republicans and big oil won’t LTE US!
Oh yeah… and as for the whole Low-Tax, low Regulation business environment?
8) Texas job growth has not kept pace with its population growth: They have higher unemployment that the high-tax, highly regulated, robust public service providing states of New York and Massachusetts. (You remember Massachusetts, right? The state with near-universal health care coverage, compared to Texas’ rank of dead last?)
So THAT’S his recipe folks:
• Shitty, Low paying jobs
• No public services
• Little to no health insurance
• Underfunded schools
• High gas prices
You know what? If THAT shit works? I just might start believing in “miracles!”