Opinion: Republican jobs vs. Democratic unemployment

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Since the end of the recession, Texas has created 4 out of every 10 new jobs in America. Despite the state’s problems, this is a clear indicator that Democrats should stop writing off Republican strategies simply because they’re Republican strategies, Rick Wartzman, executive director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, said in his July 3 Op-Ed. The new jobs come with caveats, Wartzman writes, but the state has made some wise moves: investing in education 25 years ago, which increased the quality of the workforce, and creating stricter lending policies in the 1980s, which have curbed problematic mortgages.

Aspects of the Texas economy are unusual, if not unique, and it will be difficult or impossible for other states to replicate them. For example, the energy industry is booming right now, as are agricultural commodities destined for export -- a boon for a huge cotton and beef producer like Texas.

What’s more, thorny tradeoffs surely exist. Texas is attracting businesses, in part, because it has low taxes. But that, in turn, makes for a smaller safety net, which is one reason Texas has a high incidence of poverty and, compared with every other state, the biggest proportion of its population without health insurance. There are also serious questions about the quality of jobs in Texas. A ‘right to work’ state, it is tied with Mississippi for having the biggest percentage of workers paid at or below the minimum wage.

Readers from California and Texas went at it on the discussion board, debating the merits of politics dominated by liberals or the right wing.


California needs to learn

I sincerely hope that California finds her way, and soon. I don’t think the state necessarily has to become more like Texas, but it definitely needs to become LESS like what it is today.


Texas has problems, but at least Texans still have the freedom to address them

In Texas, state employees have the right to join a union, but do not have the right to strike or to collectively bargain. In Texas, unions do not have greater rights than the electorate or other workers. Businesses can hire employees who meet the job requirements and can promote those who earn the promotion, regardless of seniority. This promotes the idea that if you do the job required, or apply yourself, you can improve your lot in life. You can even leave your employer and become his competition. Generally the state has little opportunity to stand in your way. Regulation of business is minimal, stepping in only when absolutely required.

Yes, Texas does have her problems, but her people can address those problems. They still have the freedom of self-determination. They are not overburdened by their government. California cannot make this claim. Texans rely on themselves to make their future. Californians rely on their government.


You don’t want to be a worker in Texas

I lived in Texas for 40 years before escaping to California. Believe me, you don’t want to be a worker in Texas. China has created millions of jobs too, but I don’t want to work in a sweatshop, with no benefits or protections, living on subsistence wages. I’d like to know what percentage of this job engine is composed of low or minimum-wage employment.

Texas is and has been run exclusively by ‘big bidness’ since the early 1990’s, when Ann Richards was Governor (prior to George W. Bush). It’s the complete ‘ol boys club, with a troika of oil/gas, banking, and development interests running roughshod over the state.

The article mentions the agriculture and ranching revenues of the state. Not so much right now, as 72% of the state is ‘exceptional’ drought -- the worst in recorded history.

If this is what it takes to create jobs, God help us.


Lower taxes means more spendable income

Let’s face it, if you are a skilled worker, you will make a good gross income in California, Texas, or anywhere. The difference is that in Texas, your spendable income will be much greater, due to lower taxes and a lower cost of living. Follow the Texas model, and California can be just as successful as Texas, with better weather and beaches too.


Don’t envy Texas, live somewhere else

I’ve lived and worked in Texas several times over the years. Oil industry mostly.

Most of the state is still like a third world country. The wealth is very unequally distributed and poverty is widespread. It’s also burning up in a historical drought right now. Water shortages are becoming way too common. There’s no relief in sight.

And white redneck bible thumpers still rule the roost. You don’t want to wind up in jail there either. These are very friendly people. You’ll be out in the middle of nowhere and pass somebody and they’ll almost always wave at you. On the other hand, they execute more criminals than anybody else. It’s a weird religious laced bi-polar society.

There are 49 other states to choose from and you can do better than Texas.



Those jobs are minimum wage

They forgot to mention that Texas has the highest number of working people making just minimum wage. And the just barely making it folks. They have the highest number of people without health insurance and the most contaminated ground water. The children in Texas rank 47 in education of all the other states. I would not want to live in Texas.


It’s not perfect, but it works

Democrats can keep whistling past the graveyard if they wish. Texas isn’t perfect, but it’s working. California will soon be Greece, and look for Texas to be Germany to save it.


*Spelling errors in the above comments were corrected.


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Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference last month in New Orleans. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images