In Your Face, Rick

Today’s feel-good read comes from none other than Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who takes to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to trash-talk Rick Perry, who has spent inordinate time trolling the nation with corporate come-hither-and-exploit-us bait.

Here’s the key passage:

Perry and like-minded Republican governors subscribe to the slash-and-burn economic philosophy — a belief that “less” will somehow become “more.” In Texas, he has implemented this vision with gusto, cutting taxes and slashing funding for critical middle-class priorities such as public schools, higher education, health care and infrastructure. The results? Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation, 10th in the rate of poverty and 50th in the percent of residents with even basic health insurance.

And while Perry likes to promote the job creation in Texas during his time in office, he leaves out a critical point: The jobs “miracle” he touts is driven by low-paying, non-sustainable jobs. This year, Texas — tied with Mississippi — leads the nation for the percentage of hourly paid workers earning equal to or less than the minimum wage. More than one in 10 workers nationwide earning at or below the minimum wage works in Texas.

I’m glad to see O’Malley whale away on this theme this not only because I take un-Christian pleasure at pretty much anything that makes life more difficult for Rick Perry, but because all sorts of opinion-leaders need an education on the atavistic crap so many GOP governors are peddling. Yes, economic bottom-feeding and self-abasement can succeed in raiding smokestacks, but that should not be confused with any real idea of “economic development.” The kind of companies moving to Texas to take advantage of its people’s poverty and low levels of public investment will move somewhere else when the well runs dry. But that will be long after Rick Perry has left office to a retirement enriched by plenty of corporate board opportunities from “job-creators” grateful he was more interested in their profitability than in his state’s common wealth.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.