Whether it's announcing he won't seek another term as governor or attacking State Senator Wendy Davis, Rick Perry has been working extra hard to retain national media attention this summer. Last month, he released a series of TV and radio ads in states including Illinois, California, and New York telling people to move to Texas for more economic opportunities. The ads criticize these states' high taxes and economic regulations, telling listeners to leave their home states and come to Texas to be a part of the untaxed and unregulated paradise that capitalist dreams are made of. The Daily Show's Lewis Black issued this response on behalf of New York:
Read more about why Perry's Texas isn't all he cracks it up to be after the jump. In all seriousness, there are many reasons why Perry's Texas is not exactly the economic paradise he makes it out to be. Perry's ads ignore the fact that Texas's lack of taxes and regulations has made Texas a worse place to live for a lot of people. Many Texans have become worse off under Perry, and the gap between rich and poor is higher than ever. Though Governor Perry often brags about Texas's low unemployment, he fails to mention that under his tenure as governor, poverty rates have steadily increased–at 18.5%, Texas's official poverty rate is currently above the national rate. The most impoverished metropolitan area in the United States is also located in Texas: the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area has an astoundingly high poverty rate of 37.7%.
Moreover, the state of education and healthcare in Texas is abysmal. Health and education are two of the biggest determinants of poverty, and the way Texas is going, the poverty rate is sure to increase. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured citizens of any state: 24%, or nearly one-fourth of Texans lack medical insurance. Only 80% of Texans have a high school diploma, which is the second-highest in the nation. Perry and Texas Republicans seem dedicated to making these worse. They've consistently cut funding for public education and flaunt their dedication to refusing funding to expand Medicaid.
This is bad policy for all Texans, but especially for children living in poverty. Right now, 27% of Texas children live below the poverty line. That's more than one in four children who are failing to get their basic needs met in Perry's supposed economic ideal. Children who grow up in poverty are more likely to develop chronic health problems and cognitive defects, harming their future academic and economic potential. Though business may be booming now, ignoring this problem is sure to have devastating long-term economic effects. What Perry and other Republicans fail to understand is that providing healthcare and education is not only morally right, but a sound investment in Texas's economic future as well.
Though they may have more regulations than Texas, the people in the states Perry's ads were targeting also have considerably higher overall standards of living. Illinois, California, and New York all have lower rates of both child and adult poverty than Texas. They all also have substantially lower rates of uninsured individuals. And all of them spend more on public education per pupil than Texas does. All these states have shown a commitment to helping people from all walks of life that just hasn't been reflected in Perry's lackluster leadership. (And his chosen successor, Greg Abbott, has already made it clear that he will be more of the same when it comes to ignoring the needs of Texans in poverty.)
If Perry thinks that people from Illinois, California, or New York will actually want to relocate to the Texas he's created, then he really is a schmuck.