Invictus here (leave Ritholtz out of this):

The notion of a Texas Miracle — that employment in Texas somehow defied the grips of the Great Recession — has been debunked thoroughly here, here, here and here, just to cite four examples.

So, putting employment aside, I thought I’d examine some other metrics by which states are measured.  Using the excellent database at the Council of State Governments (which I’ve written about previously), I took a look at a dozen “quality of life” metrics to see how Texas ranks relative to its peers.

In each case, I ranked the 50 states in a manner where “1″ is the best score achievable and “50″ the worst (e.g., the highest high school graduation rate would garner a “1,” the lowest incidence of STD’s would also garner a “1.”  In other words, if you’re a governor — a state’s CEO, as it were — you always want to be #1 and, conversely, nowhere near #50.).

That said, let’s have a look at how Governor Perry’s Texas ranks in a dirty dozen metrics (and keep in mind that Perry has held the governorship for 11 years):

(Source citations for all statistics above are readily available at the CSG website.  Rankings by author.)

I don’t see much to be proud of in Perry’s stewardship of Texas.  And yes, I’ve highlighted some particularly poor scores, but believe me, Texas doesn’t fare much better in most of the others at the CSG database.  And these are all clearly issues over which a governor, given his/her influence on policy matters, could absolutely make a difference.  These rankings are, frankly, unacceptable, and now he wants to spread this record nationally?  And his “D” in Principles of Economics doesn’t hearten me, either.

ADDING (Aug. 18):  Quite a lot of commentary on this one, so a few things:

I am sympathetic to the immigrant argument, but am not in touch with data that would allow me to factor it in, so it is very difficult to quantify.  As there are three other border states, that may be one way to go.  I’d also point out that many states have their own particular idiosyncracies that influence their performance for better or worse.  I’d also note that immigration has been a problem in Texas longer than Perry has been governor — what steps has he taken to address it and why have they apparently not worked?  I’m open to suggestions on how to solve for these issues.

I don’t have the time to track the progress Texas has made (or not) over any period of time.  If I could easily pull data from, say, 2004 and make a five year comparison, that would be great.  But I think we should be able to agree that if Texas is currently ranked 50th in anything (which it is), its situation has clearly not improved in that particular metric; it can only have gotten worse.  Agreed?

The name-calling is juvenile.

Category: Data Analysis, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

163 Responses to “The Texas “Miracle””

  1. ibman says:

    I appreciate the way Barry consistently warns us of the dangers of closed-mindedness and then provides “Invictus” a platform to demonstrate them. Really helps the lesson sink in.

    How, exactly, is it “closed-minded” to present a set of data, which is exactly what I’ve done. The numbers are the numbers, they speak for themselves. I did not make them up, and they are readily available at the link I provided for you to examine them. “Closed-minded” would be to look at those numbers and think his stewardship of Texas has been satisfactory. If you’ve got evidence to refute what I’ve posted, by all means bring it.

  2. franklin411 says:

    Thanks for this!

    We’ll have jobs under a President Perry–picking strawberries and mowing lawns!

  3. franklin411 says:

    The numbers are the numbers. But I guess if you can’t deal with them, run away from them, eh?

  4. MaxMax says:

    But God loves him! He said so!

  5. VennData says:

    If you don’t stop using all these data, I will secede.

  6. call me ahab says:


    you are a moron

    always the same nonsense. As if $$$$ and people go where it is the most tranquil.

    There should be a long line of folks trying to get into Switzerland right now . . .could probably see it from space.


    Invictus: Just once, I beg of you, bring your “A” game. That’s what you’ve got? Call me a moron? Really? Bring Switzerland into the discussion? Seriously? Come on, man, rise to the occasion sometimes. Play hard or go home.

  7. Ahabs nonstop ad hominem attacks — this is at least his third identity — are why he keeps getting tossed into moderation.

    Please rejoin us when you grow up.

    Everyone else, please do not feed the trolls . . .

  8. Rouleur says:

    …ok, I live in Tejas…Houston, to be particular…

    …my impression –

    …The Second Coming…of Dubya…

    …in any case, another simple minded assO…

    …and, believe me, I am as apolitical as a man can be…

  9. Frilton Miedman says:

    Given the ratio of MINUS-40,000 jobs in the TX private sector, and net job creation of 115,000 jobs in state government since 2008, this topic is probably going to fade from his campaign platform.

    I’m thinking he does have a chance, but he’ll need to follow a strict regimen for a campaign, such as -

    Endlessly ramble on about “freedom”, “Liberty” and loose interpretations of the Constitution that equate to the necessity for Americans to secede and revolt while pointlessly yelling out “treason” periodically for good measure, not forgetting subtle hints of the 2nd amendment for good measure….all the while feeding LSD into the food and water supply.

    Oh, wait, that’s Bachman’s campaign strategy.

    Maybe he can continue his prosaic stances atop bales of hay and somehow win by looking “patriotic”, or something.

  10. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Damn. No wonder the dude is having prayer meetings. In a way, it also explains why they’re so well attended.

    America went for Bush, even though he was a known dipshit. Maybe we’ll do it again. Sometimes, one smack between the eyes w/a 2×4 isn’t enough to knock some sense into the American electorate.

  11. Ridge Runner says:

    I’m not especially charmed by Gov. Perry, but this kind of tendentious rating is typical of the pointless sniping of a bloggers with too much time on their hands. Two points:

    (1) At least we know what Perry’s grades are, if that is important. Let us know when the big BO releases his complete academic performance records. I’m sure they would make interesting reading. Perhaps it will turn out like the comparisons between Bush, who was pegged as a moron by the ‘bright and beautiful ones’, and Gore who was touted as nigh unto a genius by these same wise ones, at least until it turned out that both were fairly mediocre (when they managed to complete a curriculum). If PhD economists could save us, we would be in clover by now. “It’s not the things they don’t know that plague us, it’s the things they are so certain about that just ain’t so” (paraphrasing Will Rogers)

    (2) If I were cherry picking bad rankings, I would not find being 43rd in “percent below the poverty line in the past 12 months” a very sensible choice. Better than being 7th from the top in that percentage, don’t you think? But why cherry pick?

    Invictus: The link to his transcript was an afterthought and clearly not the substance of the post. I have no idea why Obama’s transcripts have not be released, and frankly I wish they would be. But that’s really neither here nor there, and educational attainment and achievement by our leaders can be the topic of another post.

    As I made clear in my post, #1 was the desired position for each metric I looked at. That Perry’s Texas is 43rd in the category you cite says that 42 other states have a smaller percentage of folks living below the poverty line than Texas and only 7 have more. As I wrote, nothing to be proud of.

  12. MaxMax says:

    Geez, the Tea Party are leaving comments ….

  13. Frilton Miedman says:

    Cherry pick this, again,

    NEGATIVE 40,000 private sector jobs since 2008 – jobs lost.

    POSITIVE 115,000 GOVERNMENT jobs in the same period.

    This is Perry’s claim to job creation while babbling on about “government spending”.

    Sorry, this neanderthal suffers a severe case of foot-in-mouth, definitely a Bush prototype, but with less brains.

    the perfect “Koch-puppet”.

  14. Ridge Runner says:

    This piece reminds me of the SNL 1992 debate skit:

    Sam Donaldson: Governor Clinton, let’s be frank. You’re running for president, yet your only experience has been as the governor of a small, backward state with a population of drunken hillbillies riding around in pickup trucks. The main streets of your capital city, Little Rock, are something out of L’il Abner, with buxom underage girls in their cutoff denims prancing around in front of Jethro and Billy Bob, while corncob-pipe-smoking, shotgun-toting grannies fire indiscriminantly at runaway hogs.

    Bill Clinton: I’m sorry, Sam, do you have a question?

    Sam Donaldson: My question is: How can you stand it? Don’t you lose your mind living down there?

    Bill Clinton: Sam, you must have watched too many of my opponent’s TV spots. I’m tired of the Bush campaign trying to portray my home state as some sort of primitive Third World country. The fact is, Arkansas did have a long way to go, but we’ve made progress. When I started as governor, we were fiftieth in adult literacy, and last year, I’m proud to say, we shot ahead of Mississippi. We’re #49, and we’re closing fast on Alabama. Watch out, Alabama – we got your number!

    George Bush: Can I say something here? Two years ago, I went on a fishing trip in Arkansas with Baker, Fitzwater, Quayle, myself. We were chased and assaulted by a couple of inbred mountain people. I was sworn to secrecy as to those events, but suffice it to say, they felt that Dan Quayle – and I quote – “sure had a purty mouth.” Now, if that’s the kind of progress Bill Clinton brought to Arkansas.. I don’t think we need it in the White House!

    Bill Clinton: That’s not fair. Just this year we passed Mississippi to become 41st in the prevention of rickets.

  15. call me ahab says:


    C’mon Invictus, how can an anonymous poster have any credibility . . .ever?

    except for BR . . .who goes by his own name

  16. Kort says:

    Unlike this blog,an intellectually honest approach to Perry was done here:

    Despite NOT liking Perry, the author found that, by looking at the DATA:
    1) Texas has already recovered,
    2) Texas is adding jobs at the fastest rate in the country,
    3) Texas is also the FASTEST growing state, by far. (might contribute to poor test scores…just saying)
    4) what makes the recovery in Texas more impressive is that it is adding jobs, even while adding so many people
    5) Median hourly wage is 28th in the country—average; not just “low paying burger jobs”
    6) wages have grown at the 6th FASTEST clip since the recession started–not just low paying burger jobs
    7) Take energy jobs out of the equation, and Texas is still the FASTEST growing job creator in the country.

    Chart after Chart, Data and Data.

    You can like Perry, you can hate Perry, you can think he’s some religious nut, you can think he’s Bush the Third. But the constant ragging on this site, the Huffington Postalization from BR and Invictus—it’s disheartening. For a site that goes out of its way to hammer the “ideologues”—you sure do wear your hearts on your sleeves.

    Invictus: I looked at DATA, too. Just not the employment data to which you refer; for that I provided not one, two or three, but FOUR separate links. That said, would you care to discuss the DATA I posted, or keep flogging the employment stuff that wasn’t the subject of my post?

  17. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Say what you want about Obama. Personally, I think he’s a corporatist shill who sold America a Bill of Goods. But Bushco? That’s a whole different level of dreck. The entire Republican government experience has been nothing but bad for America — including crony capitalism, war mongering (Obama also guilty, but hey, once that cat is out of the bag . . .), inflammation of the religious right, borrow and spend, massive deficits, the politicization of science, faux national dilemmas (abortion/death panels/Terri Schiavo), the death of political civility, talk of secession, the Unitary Executive theory, torture, extraordinary rendition, holding government hostage, corporations as people, gutting of the bureaucratic corps, . . .

    . . . everything.

    When Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Michelle Bachmann are your front-runners, Obama looks like the lesser of the evils.

    Sometimes, the devil you do know is better than the devil you don’t.

    That said, I vote for a rational 3rd party candidate.

  18. Frilton Miedman says:

    Dam, one more time,

    TEXAS, since 2008 -

    NEGATIVE 40,000 private sector jobs since 2008 – jobs lost – PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS LOST.

    POSITIVE 115,000 GOVERNMENT jobs in the same period – GOVERNMENT JOBS CREATED.

  19. tsk tsk says:

    Anyone with knowledge of Tx politics knows that the Governor has very little power compared to other states. He is nothing more than figurehead. Tx has a very decentralized governmental system. Its another reason why there are so many government workers hired within the state.

    As for this data, without context none of the figures make a bit of difference. Why are there less HS grads? Do you need a HS degree to get a middle-class job in Tx? Could it be that in small town Tx you can live an Ok life on ‘poverty’ level salary? The thousands of small town/agriculture based communities throughout the state would say Yes. You can live a decent life on little money in Tx and the elites in the Northeast and DC hate that a group people can be happy without a bunch of cars and art and Michelin-starred restaurants.

    Any thoughts as to how Texas’ liberal immigration policies affect these figures? Could the young, uneducated men with distant families and without steady jobs and no safety net be a potential cause of the crime stats?

    Invictus: So, if I read you correctly: Perry — as a “figurehead” — should not flaunt his record on anything. Further, Texas is generally a “big government” state; I’d think that won’t fly with your run-of-mill Republican on a national level.

    I’ll grant that there could be — could be — idiosyncracies that might render a stat or two misleading. Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps. But no more than one or two, if that.

    And I have not seen any data as to immigration or its effect on any of these numbers. That said, as a whole, it is a woeful performance, and immigration cannot be solely, or even mostly, to blame.

  20. Frilton Miedman says:

    Does this mean Perry is GUILTY of TREASON?

  21. franklin411 says:

    As much as we often disagreed, I had respect for you, anonymous or not.

    I don’t any longer.

  22. diogeron says:

    Of course, data are irrelevant to the Tea Party crowd to which Rick Perry appeals, so even if we stipulate this is accurate, it is unlikely to be persuasive to these folks. Nonetheless, one would hope that his comments of recent days would give even the most avid Obama hater pause before throwing one’s hat in the ring with this windbag. Consider those who are persuaded by Perry’s implicit claim that Bernanke, a mainstream Republican appointed first by W might actually do something “treasonous”, something I have heard two people repeat with relish today. I think someone else said it better a long time ago. To wit….

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. (before anyone thinks this is necessarily hyperbolic and paranoid, consider Gabby Giffords).

  23. wunsacon says:

    Ahab, sorry, but you’re out of line.

    I don’t get how a data-laden post about Gov. Parry’s record causes you to go off like that.

  24. Mike in Nola says:

    Invictus, you left this one out:

    Texas is last in the % of people with health insurance.

    And it’s getting worse with layoffs. The hospitals are feeling it and having to cut back, as people can’t pay. And what is worse it has almost no free health care, unlike Louisiana which is considered pretty poor and backwards but still has a Huey Long style public hospital system that takes care of those who aren’t poor enough for medicaid, which is a growing perccntage of the population. I’m sure Elmer Gantry will be able to tell us how to solve our health care problem without the gubment.

  25. wunsacon says:

    Taxes on oil company profits fuels Texas government. Other states don’t have that, so they have to tax the non-energy businesses more than Texas would. So, even non-energy businesses are more likely to go headquarter in Texas.

    It’s a virtuous circle for Texas (and vicious circle for other states). (Until it isn’t. But, I expect fossil fuels to remain important for a few more decades.)

  26. Mike in Nola says:

    Hadn’t read the paper yet today. This popped up on the Houston Chronicle site:

    But it’s just another of those liberal rags that prints facts.

  27. wunsacon says:

    I remember a friend telling me in 2005 about how Nevada was such a great example of how low taxes attract investment and jobs. How did that turn out? Should we blame low taxes now for Nevada’s problems? Some people see the factors they want to see. I tell you, the problem of correctly associating “cause” and “effect” seems to be a kind of Rorshack test.

    I told my friend that I agree taxes are a factor but that he’s overemphasizing their effect. “People always bring their problems with them”, I said. “Nevada is not as built up / populated. Give them time and, when growth wears off, you’ll see them face the same problems everyone else faces.”

  28. Ridge Runner says:

    Here is the Tea Party diss on Perry:

    In short, he and his legislative compadres are champions at kicking the can down the road to the next set of politicos so that they can have THEIR budget crisis. For me, at least, that’s a show stopper all by itself.

    On jobs (this guy is no Perry fan either, but at least he gives a clearer picture and notes the problem of ascribing ’causes’ for observed data):

    I’ll leave you with my personal favorite chart. I mentioned at the beginning that Texas is seeing high unemployment in a large part because they’re growing so damn fast. The problem with this from a charts and graphs perspective is that it leaves worse states off the hook, making them look better than they actually are. Looking at unemployment alone, we would conclude that Wisconsin has a better economy than Texas. But Wisconsin is still 120K short of it’s pre-recession numbers. The only reason they look better than Texas is because 32,000 people fled the state.

    During that time, 739,000 people fled into Texas. Anyone who takes that data and pretends that this is somehow bad news for Texas is simply not being honest. At the worst, I’d call it a good problem to have.

    . . . . and he concludes:

    You may have noticed that I don’t mention Rick Perry very much here. That is because Rick Perry is, in my opinion, ancillary to this entire discussion. He was governor while these these numbers happened, so good for him. Maybe that means these jobs they are his “fault”. Maybe the job situation is the result of his policies. Or maybe Texas is simply the least bad option in a search for a favorable economic climate.

    That is not an argument I’m having at this exact moment. My point is to show that most of the “excuses” you will hear about Texas’ job statistics are based in nothing more than a hope that Rick Perry had nothing to do with them and not on a sound understanding of the data.

    My advice to anti-Perry advocates is this: Give up talking about Texas jobs. Texas is an incredible outlier among the states when it comes to jobs. Not only are they creating them, they’re creating ones with higher wages.

    One can argue that Perry had very little to do with the job situation in Texas, but such a person should probably prepare themselves for the consequences of that line of reasoning. If Rick Perry had nothing to do with creating jobs in Texas, than why does Obama have something to do with creating jobs anywhere? And why would someone advocate any sort of “job creating” policies if policies don’t seem to matter when it comes to the decade long governor of Texas? In short, it seems to me that this line of reasoning, in addition to sounding desperate and partisan, hogties its adherents into a position where they are simultaneously saying that government doesn’t create jobs while arguing for a set of policies where government will create jobs.

    Or, to an uncharitable eye, it seem they are saying “Policies create jobs when they are policies I like. They don’t create jobs when they are policies I dislike.”

    People will continue to argue about the data. But hopefully this will be helpful in sorting out reality from wishful and desperate thinking. I mentioned on Twitter that the Texas jobs situation was nothing short of miraculous. This is why I said that and why I’m standing by that statement.

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –
    Has it occurred to Invictus that bad rankings in his favorite cherry-picked stats MIGHT have something to do with a porous border with an impoverished neighbor and impoverished citizens from less well run states flocking to Texas? No, for him it’s sufficient to point to the numbers and proclaim, “the data speaks for itself’, a sure sign of statistical illiteracy. But it sells here, I guess.

    Invictus: Well, I guess “statistically illiterate” is better than “moron,” so I’ve got that going for me. And no, I have not quantified the effects of the factors you cite. Perhaps, since you apparently have a problem with my work, that might be a task that you could rise to? Or, alternatively, you could just throw it out there and claim it’s causative without any support whatsoever, which I’d argue is even worse than my illiteracy. I’ll even give you a head start: Look at some of the other border states and “impoverished citizens from less well run states.” Lemme know what you find; I’ll be here.

  29. Jonathan says:

    With regards to the poverty line, that can be deceptive. With a new home costing MUCH less in Texas (I bought a brand new 2000 sqft home for $140K) than it might in other parts of the country as well as everyday items like groceries also costing less, the poverty line doesn’t have the same meaning. I have seen first-hand the difference in cost of living in different places, and I will take $50K in Dallas anytime over $75K (or even $100K) in San Francisco.

  30. Transor Z says:

    I’m going to go way out on a limb and say this comment thread is off to a bad start.

    Let’s shower a little love on our brethren in Texas:

    The Stars at Night…

    Vince Young scores!

  31. j6p says:


    Thank you for that excellent link.

    First, I read quotes of Perry supporters bragging about the Texas economy.

    Second, I read Invictus and some of the comments here and concluded the Texas economy was nothing special, below average, if anything, and, in particular, not deserving right-wing praise in its apparent public sector growth and private sector decline.

    Third, I read your link, reread comments here, and concluded that the Texas economy really has been quite impressive. One point that needs emphasis is the large recent immigration into Texas, especially from California. People vote with their feet.

    It will be interesting to follow discussion of the Texas economy in these next months, both the facts as they come out, and the presentation of the facts by various observers.

  32. craig.r.jackson says:

    I live in Texas, one of the most polluted states. It’s a big dump of toxic waste, power plant mercury, frack juice/methane, etc, etc. The ozone is bad. Traffic is a nightmare in the cities. Perry doesn’t deserve a single vote. I think I’ll stick with Obi-Wan Kenobi, the fake Jedi, because I understand that raising taxes on the very wealthy is the right thing to do fiscally speaking, rather than slash and burn austerity.

  33. Frilton Miedman says:

    I’m a broken record, but this is the end-all for ANY job creation claims on Perry’s behalf -

    TEXAS, since 2008 -

    LOST 40,000 private sector jobs since 2008 – jobs lost – 40K PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS LOST.

    GAINED 115,000 GOVERNMENT jobs in the same period – 115K GOVERNMENT JOBS CREATED.

  34. HarleyHoward says:

    I can’t believe you! Are you actually trying to say that Obama, Reid , Pelosi, Boehner, McConnell and the rest of the entrenched elites, both financial and political have done better????????????????? They are destroying our country.

  35. HarleyHoward says:

    Check out Common Sense from the Heartland –

  36. call me ahab says:


    pinpoint where I “went off” . . . and I will try to fit in as best I can the next time I decide to post (in the end I want to be liked, and be just like the rest of you anonymous posters)

    franklin411- your opinion doesn’t matter to me

    mike in nola- liberal rags are not the epitome of truth

  37. Rouleur says:

    @TZ – nice links, good fun…

  38. tsk tsk says:

    @ Invictus
    “So, if I read you correctly: Perry — as a “figurehead” — should not flaunt his record on anything. Further, Texas is generally a “big government” state; I’d think that won’t fly with your run-of-mill Republican on a national level.”

    Yes and Yes. Thats why so many Republicans in Tx dont like Perry and didnt like Bush. Many will be happy to see Perry leave for DC and get him out of Austin. TX could be considered ‘big government’ in terms of people and/or dollars. Remember TX takes in more $ from DC than it sends. But how much power or authority that ‘big’ government has over it citizens it what makes it different than other large population states.

  39. wally says:

    We already had one of those guys and he did the most damage of any President in history.

    Never again.

    The question rally is: how have the Repubs gotten so far from reality that they decide the clown-shows they trot out are serious candidates to be given real responsibilities? This is bizarre.

  40. Frilton Miedman says:

    Petty bickering is pointless, over-narration gets lost in this blog.

    It’s this simple, again –

    TEXAS, since 2008 -

    LOST 40,000 private sector jobs since 2008 – jobs lost – 40K PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS LOST.

    GAINED 115,000 GOVERNMENT jobs in the same period – 115K GOVERNMENT JOBS CREATED.

  41. call me ahab says:

    Frilty Miedman,

    we heard you the first three times . . .

    I guess we have to put in perspective to the rest of the states that make up the UNITED STATES,

    but, put it up again though if you’re running out of material

  42. Greg0658 says:

    Ridge Runner at 8:39pm your not understanding that datapoint in comment point (2)
    “being 43rd in percent of people 65 years & over below the poverty line in the past 12 months”
    Texas = 12% along with 5 other states .. and Alaska is ranked #1 with 3% .. Mississippi #50 with 15%

    the 12% and worse poverty states are all southern except for ND .. so you could argue that poverty thresholds are to high .. since we now need to deflate to compete with China .. and is the plan imo with world trade here to stay

  43. stonedwino says:

    Ahab you are being a fucking hemorrhoid…if you have a point make it. Otherwise, get a life man…This site is for serious discussion and not sandbox antics…Great stats Invictus…

  44. Brooklyn Prep says:


    You must have packaged CDOs in your previous life. Your stats are more art than science.

    Since when do you take alphabetical placement into account in a statistical numerical ranking? You set Texas’ ranking based on number value and where it falls in alphabetical order.

    In the first category, Arizona is ranked 9th and Wisconsin is 23rd. Yet the 2 states have the same score.


    Invictus: I’m not understanding the nature of your criticism. The work I did was not particularly complex: I downloaded all the raw data and used Excel’s RANK function to reveal where Texas ranked among the 50 states. I’m happy to share the spreadsheet I used. Alphabetical order had nothing to do with it. Of course, I will apologize publicly for any mistakes I’ve made, just as I’m sure you’ll retract your gratuitous swipe at me if your assessment of my analysis is incorrect, right?

  45. stonedwino says:

    Perry doesn’t get even close with his laughable credentials. Accomlishments?! LOL! He is a slick, good looking, fast talking snake oil salesman, like the one’s they tared and feathered out in Texas way back when…

  46. Invictus,

    maybe the ‘cherry picking’ is Perry, his ownself, as a Topic for a Thread/Conversation..

    why not ‘Talk’ about Rep. Ron Paul? or, is it like John Stewart suggests–~”He’s like the 13th Floor of a Hotel” (?)

    really, where does discussing, yet, another ‘Politico’-Clone going to get Us?

    speaking of “Bringing your ‘A’ Game”, you’re a sharp Boy, take (on/down) some of Rep. Paul’s positions..

    you know, maybe it is Time for a Real, not Neo-, Liberal — For a Change, yes?

  47. call me ahab says:

    “This site is for serious discussion and not sandbox antics”

    for geniuses like you . . .who are deep thinkers?

    “Great stats Invictus”

    of course . . .only those who are “serious” could understand how great those stats are,

    what a joke

  48. Frilton Miedman says:


    Some type of random word grouping?…maybe a cryptoquote?

    What the hell are you talking about?

    “call me ahab Says:
    August 17th, 2011 at 9:56 pm
    Frilty Miedman,

    we heard you the first three times . . .

    I guess we have to put in perspective to the rest of the states that make up the UNITED STATES,

    but, put it up again though if you’re running out of material”

    OK, here goes –

    TEXAS, since 2008 -

    LOST 40,000 private sector jobs since 2008 – jobs lost – 40K PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS LOST.

    GAINED 115,000 GOVERNMENT jobs in the same period – 115K GOVERNMENT JOBS CREATED.

  49. Bob A says:

    Not as dumb as George Bush and whole lot more dangerous.
    Heaven help us.

  50. arbitrage789 says:

    So if Perry becomes President, we’re all going to get Chlamydia?

    One way or another, individuals moved to Texas, and found jobs. You can spin that any way you want, but it’s more good than bad, at least from the perspective of those who want job growth.

    Compare that with a state like Michigan over the last 20 years or so.

    No doubt some of the economic growth in Texas has been due to oil. But for those who want to increase employment, and reduce imports, a little more oil drilling wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

  51. Jim Greeen says:

    Do we really need another cowboy from Texas???

  52. louis says:

    What’s sad is we take what they give us. F’ ing charade, Election, Debt Ceiling. All Theater.

    Get back to what they stole from you in 2008. Remember, “I need 700 billion or the world will stop on Monday.”

    Confidence is high, I repeat confidence is high. Amazing how nothing has changed in 3 years.

  53. Andy T says:



    Editor: Shouldn’t you be making obnoxious comments about this blog behind its author(s) back elsewhere? That’s what you usually do.

    [BR adds: Buh Bye ]

  54. BigD173 says:

    The people of Texas are in the best position to pass judgment on Rick Perry’s stewardship. They’ce not hestitated to re-elect him; that suggests they are satisfied.

    With regard to the metrics you’ve selected, here are some thoughts: First, what you’ve presented is merely a snapshot. You haven’t measured whether Texas has improved, stayed the same, or declined on these indicators during Perry’s tenure as governor.

    Second, and more importantly, you haven’t considered how factors outside the control of a governor might affect the indicators you’ve selected. Texas has a border with Mexico that the state government is not empowered to defend. Do states like Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc, confront a similar dynamic? Of course not. Over the years that Perry has been governor, millions of poorly educated immigrants — fleeing Mexico because they could not find jobs there — have settled in Texas. How do you think that dynamic affects variables such as poverty ratios, educational achievement, teen birth rates and other health-related indicators, crime rates, etc.?

    The people of Texas are smart enough to figure this out. I suspect people in other states will be t00.

  55. DG_Allen says:

    I’m not buying whatever Texas might be sell’n.
    Fool me once, shame on you, fool me… we’ll you can’t get fooled again.

  56. JimRino says:

    Obama is the Best Republican Running.
    End of Story.

  57. JimRino says:

    BigD, Texas Elections are Stolen.
    That’s why they have the LOWEST Voter Turnout.

  58. Transor Z says:

    Actually, as a percentage of total population, Massachusetts has a pretty decent share of illegals:

    Granted, it’s less than half of Texas, California and Florida, but still not a trivial number.

    Our major problem is hundreds of miles of coastline. Only Yankee fortitude and ingenuity against the Creatures of the Deep:

  59. I think the point is that the people of Texas, with the lowest percentage of high school grads of any US state (and Puerto Rico), aren’t smart enough to figure it out.

  60. ReductiMat says:

    I always was amazed at how people hitch their carts two one of the two parties out there considering how little difference there is between the two.

    Reading Shermer’s book The Believing Brain, and in particular the Politics of Belief has left me with the most compelling reason why people act the way they do.

    Hopefully one day we’ll evolve to the point of perhaps not mastering our biases but rather being well aware of them and able to work past them.

  61. James says:

    > And his “D” in Principles of Economics doesn’t hearten me, either.

    With a 2.2 average in college including a D in trig – generally a high school subject – Perry doesn’t do much to inspire. With problems galore but 310 million people, we can do much better. And as disenchanted as I am by Obama, trading him in for Perry would be going from the frying pan to an infernal IMO.

    > They’ce not hestitated to re-elect him; that suggests they are satisfied.

    Yeah, well, they also elected George Bush. One is enough, thank you very much.

  62. Rick Caird says:

    It seems Invictus has labored mightily and spawned a hack job. Starting with the Salmon piece: there is nothing to make of his employment to population ratio. Without knowing the distribution of the population (i.e retired, children, percentage of working age, etc), there is no valid analysis that can be made.

    Krugman is a master of deception. In his “short course in miracles” post he compares unemployment rates. Yet, if you read Krugman carefully, he notes that Texas population is growing while the population of Massachusetts is declining. So, somehow Krugman, and by extension, Invictus, is suggesting unemployment in a declining population and shrinking state is equivalent to that in a growing and expanding state. Hardly, or people would not be moving from Massachusetts to Texas (or from California to Texas or from Michigan to Texas, etc.)

    As a rule of thumb, since Krugman is such a partisan hack, anything he writes in the NYT should be subjected to extraordinary suspicion. I noticed Invictus picked 3 pieces by Krugman among his 4 references and the Salmon piece which us basically indecipherable and certainly not in any way enlightening.

  63. TerryC says:

    A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy
    “This is the first time any state has done a comprehensive financial analysis of the impact of undocumented immigrants on a state’s budget and economy, looking at gross state product, revenues generated, taxes paid and the cost of state services.
    “The absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received. However, local governments bore the burden of $1.44 billion in uncompensated health care costs and local law enforcement costs not paid for by the state.”
    — Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas Comptroller

    Hey, Invictus, is your school district 55% Hispanic? How about your prisons?
    Everyone speak English in your neighborhood? How illiterate are your “new” neighbors? Does their family have “old money” to help the worthless ones in the family get by? How many very superstitious people do you run in to on a day-to-day basis?
    Well, that’s Texas today. As best I can tell, our closest “mirror” state would be California, and we all know how well they are doing lately.

    Comparing Texas to about 30 of our lily-white states is laughable. Better educated in North Dakota, Vermont, and Iowa? DUH!! I would say Texas has done pretty damned well lately. By the way, we have a deliberately constitutionally weak governor here. All the real power is with the Speaker of the House and the Lt. Governor. And, as some of the previous posters have noted, people vote with their feet.

    P.S. I’m a native Illinoian who has lived in Texas for 30 years, and I would never move back.

  64. Matt Separa says:

    REPORT: Texas Ranks Dead Last In Total Job Creation, Accounting For Labor Force Growth

    Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), since he launched his presidential campaign on Saturday, has paraded around the stat that “since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all of the new jobs created in America.” “Now think about that. We’re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America, but 40 percent of all the new jobs were created in that state,” Perry says.

    This stat leaves out a lot of the story. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has promoted the number, but “it acknowledges that the number comes out different depending on whether one compares Texas to all states or just to states that are adding jobs.” Between 2008 and 2010, jobs actually grew at a faster pace in Massachusetts than in Texas.

    In fact, “Texas has done worse than the rest of the country since the peak of national unemployment in October 2009.” The unemployment rate in Texas has been steadily increasing throughout the recession, and went from 7.7 to 8.2 percent while the state was supposedly creating 40 percent of all the new jobs in the U.S.

    How is this possible, since Texas has created over 126,000 jobs since the depths of the recession in February 2009? The fact of the matter is that looking purely at job creation misses a key point, namely that Texas has also experienced incredibly rapid population and labor force growth (due to a series of factors, including that Texas weathered the housing bubble reasonably well due to strict mortgage lending regulations). When this is taken into account, Texas’ job creation looks decidedly less impressive

  65. Frilton Miedman says:

    Perry’s an easy target after yesterdays “treason” comments on the Fed, it’s game over for him.

    After the whole Bush experience it’s gonna be hard to sell the Texas cowboy thing again, especially if the proposed “cowboy” exudes such an extreme lack of understanding for economics and diplomatic restraint that he dually exposed when he made that “treason” comment.

    The debt ceiling disaster has people concerned with the whole “shoot-em-up” antics from the right and Perry just made it look like he’s planning to pour gasoline on the burning house.

    Not very bright, not at all.

    My biggest concern is whom he serves, not so much what he stands for (which so far is a generic barrage of slogans revolving around liberty and patriotism, as well as treason charges for the Fed for implementing Fed policy)

    What has me worried is David Koch and other special interests he answers to.

    Dylan Ratigan is the reason I finally joined this forum, anyone who watches DR will understand my own thoughts on the topic, it’s universal..

    For this reason, the ONLY republican I’ll even consider is Buddy Roemer, hands down.

  66. BigD173 says:

    @ Transor Z

    I would just suggest to you that illegal imigrants in Texas are not necesarily the same as illegal immigrants in New England. Come check out Houston, San Antonio, etc. and see for yourself.

  67. I suppose people can turn to Ron Paul instead but if he gets anywhere near leading this race they will probably have him shot.

    …maybe that will be the trigger event for revolution.

  68. Winston Munn says:

    I hate to burden any Perry supporter with more data to disregard, but here are some June 2011 state employment numbers from the BLS.

    Massachusettes: 7.6
    New York: 8.0
    Texas: 8.2

    Obviously, high taxes and universal health care are job killers. How does that saying go, again? Yipee-yo Ki-ay, motherf#$%er? Isn’t that it?

  69. Transor Z says:

    [I]llegal imigrants in Texas are not necesarily the same as illegal immigrants in New England.

    I’m not sure what that means. Because the illegal population mix is less Mexican and more comprised of other nationalities? I thought your point was about economic costs of illegals. Illegals have been entering and dispersing throughout the country for many years. How do you explain, for example, why Illinois has a higher percentage of illegals compared to total population than Florida?

    I live and work in metro Boston so I don’t need to travel anywhere.

  70. Thor says:

    Goodness – what’s going on in here tonight?

    Sometimes, one smack between the eyes w/a 2×4 isn’t enough to knock some sense into the American electorate.

    This is what I worry about. People so easily seemed to swallow the Tea Party BS, not seeing that these were simply the die hard Bush supporters and Religious Right Remastered. The want nothing more than an American Theocracy, and people are STILL in doubt about their true motives. And let’s not forget that Obama has been, by almost every measure, a complete failure as a president. Maybe the people of this country really are just the right combination of desperate and angry, that they’ll put Perry into the White House. This isn’t a worry from out in left field, this really could happen.

    Then what?

  71. Transor Z says:

    Part of me is hoping that people will rally behind Ron Paul. Political discourse is so velveeta and vetted by media outlets. For anyone who didn’t see Jon Stewart’s awesome take on the Ron Paul blackout:—corn-polled-edition—ron-paul—the-top-tier?xrs=share_copy

    This is the problem. The arrogance of the gatekeepers is too much. As if newscasters and media personalities have any business inserting themselves into such content decisions. But it happens and will continue to happen.

    The juxtaposition of Paul’s ideas, as far out there as some may be, with establishment positions in other branches of government, might not be such a bad thing. People say don’t rock the boat by throwing our incompetent/corrupt congress a curve that would bring things to a grinding halt. I think that reasoning is analogous to propping up TBTF banks: ooh, they’re too delicate to take off life support.

    Screw that. You either have a robust and adaptive political/economic system or you don’t. And if it isn’t, you aren’t going to make it stronger by coddling it and letting it live in your basement eating all your ring-dings. Just sayin.


    BR: We noted that here Tuesday morn

  72. BigD173 says:

    @ Transor Z –

    The mix certainly has something to do with it. According to data from the Pew Hispanic Center:

    * Mexicans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall.
    * The median annual personal earnings for Mexicans ages 16 and older were $20,000 in 2009; the median earnings for the U.S. population were $28,900.
    * The share of Mexicans who live in poverty, 24%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (14%) and similar to the share for all Hispanics (23%).


    NOTE: This dataset speaks to Hispanics and Mexicans generally; it is not limited to Mexicans who are illegal immigrants. I suspect (but cannot prove) that the differences would be even greater (and that Mexicans would score even lower relative to other groups) if we could focus solely on the illegal immigrant population. And, of course, California and Texas have high concentrations of undocumented Mexicans.

  73. mddwave says:

    One Texas ranking that was missed, but counts. Texas is number 2 in electorial college votes (38 or 14.1% of the 270 to win)

  74. I don’t care for Perry but these facts don’t have any basis if we don’t compare them to something relevant. Are they getting better? Worse? The place has a massive low skilled migrant immigrant population of course it is going to suck compared to somewhere like North Dakota. Your data would tell much more if it said how things have changed under his leadership, otherwise you lead us to infer that a priori the governor of say Deleware is a better governor.

  75. tselliott says:

    Unfortunately this blog has been straying from its roots/stated purpose > from the “about” page >> “I have been writing about these topics for ~15 years, and blogging since 2003. By sheer accident, TBP has become one of the best reviewed finance blogs on the web. We key in on what you should be thinking about when it comes to markets ans the economy — and what you should not be doing with your money.”

    Unfortunately, It’s turning into a liberal biased political blog more befitting Salon.

  76. Frilton Miedman says:

    tselliot, the topic is arousing general sentiment, a lot of which appears to veer left in the aftermath of a decade of excessive supply side policy.

    Many of the Perry/Bush comparisons above illuminate this sentiment, you have options:

    * As with the market, you can whine, kick and scream, deny the tape and continue to bet against it, leave begrudged & rummage through Fox news or visit a tea party chat site to complain about Liberals.

    * Or, you can see it for what it is, acknowledge a change in trend and devise a strategy that incorporates it.

    After reading this site and a few others recently, there are some idea’s to glean, for example, in Wisconsin and Ohio news has broken on David Koch’s anti-union campaign….it’s starting to look like the final burst of extreme right is being answered from the other extreme.

    You can whine about political ideology, or you can brain storm for stocks that might be affected both on the upside or downside.

    The choice is yours – whine – or work with it.

  77. Christopher says:

    Looks to me like he will be a perfect replacement for Obama….different party….same agenda.

  78. Christopher says:

    “So if Perry becomes President, we’re all going to get Chlamydia?”

    I do love fresh flowers.

  79. Hugh says:


    This post makes me sad. Once upon a time Democrats (such as yourself) would have thought that 9+% unemployment was THE problem facing the nation, and would have searched for any solutions to that problem.

    If Texas has a better jobs record, albeit with many imperfections, a REAL progressive would have dug in to find some policies that could be applied to other states as well.

    Not anymore. Now Rick Perry’s hair is more important than the millions of Americans suffering without a job.

    The Democratic Party needs its own Tea Party revolution in which working men and women seize the party back from the hedgies and the bloggers. It can’t happen soon enough.

  80. Julia Chestnut says:

    Texas is my home. I don’t live there any longer, but my heart (and almost all of my relations) will always be there. Many of those relations are slightly to the right of God (who I am given to understand has a conservative bias). Many of them will support Perry as a Republican, no matter what he does. But if you talk to them, they are disgusted with the man and consider him subpar in any way that matters. Except that hair. That’s some nice hair.

    Texas is difficult to compare to other states because it is practically sui generis: the role of the oil and gas industry in Texas gives it a different boom/bust profile than most any other state. Note that oil took off in a commodities boom just as the rest of the economy was tanking hard, and that will go a long way to explaining why jobs were on a different tack in Texas. Also, a good third of the state is Mexico – IS Mexico: the economies are linked, the people are linked, the geography is linked — the two are inextricably linked. Whether people consider that fact a horror story or a boon is a matter of contention, but it doesn’t change the fact. During the peso devaluation, that third of Texas got hammered; when the U.S. crashed, that third was buffered by Mexico.

    A lot of the stats you cite, Invictus, look a lot like a third world country. For excellent reasons, in some cases – because of hubris and greed in others.

    What interests me more is the trend for those stats. Texas, if it’s doing well by its citizens, ought to be moving up in those dismal numbers. If the state really is such a shining beacon, how are they MOVING in relation to other states on not just these – but other statistics that indicate what kind of quality of life people have?

    I miss Molly Ivans. We need her more than ever. But I can guarantee you she’d be pissed: she hated Governor Goodhair.

  81. dougc says:

    Perry is a stereotypical Texas blowhard and I wouldn’t vote for him but it might be more reasonable to compare where Texas is now compared to where it was when he took office. This post would be similair to giving all the blame for our current situation to Obama. Go OU

  82. j6p says:

    @Frilton Miedman

    Do you have a link to your Texas public private jobs statistics? What’s the time period? What factors might explain the raw numbers? (I’m thinking of factors like the large number of illegal and recently legal Mexicans in TX explaining Texas’ low educational attainment and much else.)

  83. thetruthseeker says:

    Thank you Invictus. You have just done a fantastic job of helping us Texans make an even stronger case for increased border control through your “random” sampling of statistics. Thank you very much. And FYI, many (if not most of us) who live here in Texas see right through Rick Perry. He is nothing more than an old-fashioned snake oil salesman. He struggled mightily in his last two gubernatorial races.

  84. Moss says:

    Perry, Romney – we will hear much more about their ‘miracles’ while the State in question was under their purview. They are politicians first, just like Obama, with monied interests backing them. Truth and facts will not be in high supply.. emotions will rule the electorate, especially the right.

  85. Moss says:

    If one cares to understand what Perry really thinks read his book. Fed Up.

  86. aupoker says:

    I am not sure what I am supposed to have learned from this article. It would have actually been interesting and informative if you had chosen to address the claims that the Texas economy has defied the great recession. Instead you cherry picked some random stats that made Texas (and Perry I guess) look bad. What does Chlamydia have to do with anything? Or drunk driving? Do people who have jobs have less Chlamydia? Do attitudes about drunk driving change in a booming economy? This was a Huffington Post type article and not what I would expect from the Big Picture. If you throw enough crap against a wall I guess some of it might stick, but you still got crap on your own hand.

  87. rktbrkr says:

    Now I understand why everybody in TX is armed to the teeth!

  88. Greg0658 says:

    Brooklyn Prep at 10:06pm data link is interactive .. the states initially come up alphabetical but the % heading can become the dominate rating .. top to bottom / bottom to top

    good point on the Electoral College up there .. MORE our Republic electing powerful salesman for their REAL Constituents (TBTFight – TBTF know whats at stake)

    POTUS has so little power (without ALL the Houses in line)

    on TBP and off mission:
    I contend good jobs and content life on this planet is the threat that your paper pile pushing, needs to fix

    time for referendum election power brokers ie: us US

    oh – the other sub thread on Immigration and closer to home for me:

  89. Greg0658 says:

    “If you throw enough crap against a wall I guess some of it might stick”
    thanks for making my points .. everybody talks their own book in this capitalism system .. united ya right .. me 1st then you

  90. frodo1314 says:

    Not sure why I’m posting here again since whenever I do I am reminded of my favorite bumper sticker of all time which reads: “Never try to teach a pig to talk. It wastes your time… and annoys the HELL out of the pig.”

    In any event what would be really interesting would be some more context. How did the 40,000 private jobs lost stack up against the country and other states on a percentage basis. 40,000 sounds likea lot but how many working age people are there in Texas? Did Montana, a much less pouplated state therefore with fewer workers lose 500,000 private sector jobs (I have no idea I just made that up)? Need more context. for all we know Texas lost the least on a percentage basis. Or maybe not.

    Also – need more context on the rankings too. Is Texas 43rd but up from 50th or down from 36th?

    And here’s something else that would be interesting. How about Obama’s similar results before he ascended to the presidency… I know, there weren’t any.

    So two points I guess:
    1. we need more context
    2. at least we have a record and some results on which to judge Perry…

  91. FNG says:


    I am not a Perry fan, however your “research” is crap. A Governor or a President is simply not that responsible for success or failure as political partisans pretend. Furthermore those terrible rankings you have trotted out reflect the results of a broken and corrupt immigration system. A system which both parties pretend to care about, but which in fact abuse to further enrich their own pockets.

  92. [...] governor, look again. Check out a good post w/chart on just how bad he has been for the state at The Big Picture. It’s [...]

  93. danimal says:

    It seems to me more and more partisan crap on the blog. Compare year over year changes. This is also old data. Is it better now, or worse. I’m no Perry fan but TX is 3rd best on the list for bankruptcy (2010) and 26th in monthy unemployment. Invictus, are you gonna vote for whomever has the better economic record? Does that mean you won’t vote for BO? If Illinois or CA shows up as performing well in some classification, should we model the union after those states?

  94. ajkurki says:

    To the extent that Perry touts the Texas jobs miracle, he’s pulling the same political BS that every politician running for office does. He’s full of crap. Blaming (or assigning credit to) one person in office for results that are due to MANY different policies and economic realities (both within and outside of politicians’ control) is silly at best and purposefully disingenuous at worst.

    Why is posting 3 links to Paul Krugman (oh, and 1 to Felix) pragmatic, objective “evidence” but anything else is just right-wing ideology? His professional credentials are nearly unmatched, but that doesn’t mean he’s a beacon of objectivity. If someone were to post something from Mankiw (or some other highly credentialed righty economist) you would cry foul that it’s purely partisan rhetoric and cherry picking by the author. I’ve learned to be wary of anyone claiming that THEY are nothing but objective while anyone with an opinion different from theirs (which, again, was only obtained through perfectly objective, data-based reasoning) must be partisan hacks.

  95. stonedwino says:

    The problem here is that right-wing ideology is not about facts, but ideology which trumps all…If you see facts that don’t agree with your ideology, the ideology trumps the facts…you guys would not recognize facts if they bit you in the ass…criticizing Paul Krugman, who happens to be a Noble Laureate is not scoring you any knowledge points…Facts are facts and cannot be debated. Let go of your ideology for a few minutes and then maybe, just maybe you can see what is really going on through the fog…

  96. stonedwino says:

    for such a great blog, there are still soooo many dumb-ass, ignorant comments from posters who obviously have no clue what they are talking about…sigh…

  97. danimal says:

    “Invictus: The link to his transcript was an afterthought and clearly not the substance of the post. I have no idea why Obama’s transcripts have not be released, and frankly I wish they would be”

    Really, you have no idea? Have you ever thought about it? I can think of 2 things, at least one of which (probably both) are true. 1st, he was a subpar student, but the media crowned him a “genius” (he’s not), so they could help elect him. 2nd, he probably had a foreign scholarship (he grew up in indonesia and was adopted by his moms husband) can’t have that, people might question his citizenship! But, he’s “your guy” and you can’t dig too deep, you might not like what you find.

    Invictus: I would always, unconditionally, rather have more information than less, regardless of where it takes me or what I find. And yes, he’s “my guy” and I voted for him, but in many ways he has gravely disappointed me and I do not pledge blind allegiance to anyone. That said, I cannot imagine any of the crop of potential Republican candidates being a better option.

  98. UncleMilty says:

    Invictus: I’m less concerned with the absolute score as I am with how it improved over the past 5-7 years under his leadership. Taking a state from the bottom and moving it closer to the middle is far more impressive than taking a state toward the top and keeping it there. This would be a far more meaningful analysis. Do you know where I can get that data?

    Invictus: The CSG site I referenced links to all its source data. You’d have to go to those sources and then pull the year-by-year numbers you’re looking for.

  99. ajkurki says:

    “criticizing Paul Krugman, who happens to be a Noble Laureate is not scoring you any knowledge points…Facts are facts and cannot be debated.”

    So because he’s a Nobel laureate his opinion is unquestionable? There are right-leaning Nobel laureates as well, so are their opinions unquestionable, too? How do you square that?

    Again, I didn’t say I disagreed with Invictus. In fact, I do agree with the notion that the Texas “miracle” is false.