Texas’ taxpayer-financed miracle

What Rick Perry’s economic vision lacks in accuracy it makes up for in clarity. As the Republican presidential hopeful sees it, he can boost the nation’s economy by cutting spending and making the federal government “inconsequential” in Americans’ lives as he can.

Indeed, as far as the Texas governor is concerned, he’s already put his vision to the test, creating plenty of jobs in his home state. Jared Bernstein noted a relevant detail Perry would prefer voters forget.

Over the last few years, government jobs have been awfully consequential in Texas: 47% of all government jobs added in the US between 2007 and 2010 were added in Texas. […]

Texas employment wasn’t down much at all in these years, as the state lost only 53,000 jobs. But looming behind that number are large losses in the private sector (down 178,000) and large gains (up 125,000) in government jobs.

In fact … the nation as a whole added 264,000 government jobs, 2007-10, meaning public-sector jobs added in Texas account for almost half of the nation’s public-sector jobs over these years.

It turns out the “miracle” in Texas largely a taxpayer-financed one.

Obviously, Perry’s anti-government rhetoric doesn’t match up well with this record. While his party takes it as a given that public-sector job growth is a problem in need of a correction — remember Boehner’s “so be it” line? — Perry certainly hasn’t governed this way.

On a related note, the Texas Tribune reports that Perry relied heavily on federal stimulus — funding he said shouldn’t exist — to twice balance Texas’s budget, and prevent widespread layoffs.

What’s wrong this? In practice, nothing. Perry made the right call using taxpayer money to save jobs, just as the Obama administration intended. But maybe some enterprising reporter can ask the governor how this dovetails with his economic philosophy and campaign rhetoric.