A close look at Rick Perry’s executive record in Texas puts his radical statist ambitions on display.
Following closely in the rhetorical footsteps of George W. Bush, Rick Perry touts a small-government agenda, but his executive actions demonstrate radical statism. The Perry agenda in Texas is indeed close to Ronald Reagan’s brand of conservatism, which included heinous international crimes committed by the government, a massive expansion of federal expenditures, tax hikes targeting society’s most vulnerable, and wasteful increases of federal deficits. Below are five examples of Rick Perry’s actions in office that simply don’t match the rhetoric that makes him so appealing to Republican constituencies.
1. Upon Perry’s inauguration as governor of Texas in the year 2000, the state’s total spending was $49 billion. As of late 2010, the state’s spending totalled $90 billion–an increase of over 17% (after adjusting for inflation and population increase.) This puts his lectures of Barack Obama’s increase in spending levels in context.
2. Rick Perry’s track record of not raising taxes, or what he calls “taking money out of the private sector,” isn’t a record at all. In fact, he’s signed bills produced by the legislature of Texas that have increased taxes numerous times, such as hiking retail taxes on targeted items (which, incidentally, interferes with his “strict adherence” to market principles.) PolitiFact has also noted that the tax bill he signed in 2006 includes several tax increases, such as the hike on cigarette taxes and used cars.
3. The state debt of Texas has skyrocketed during Rick Perry’s tenure as governor. The debt to GDP ratio is far higher in Texas than at the federal level, by an 8 point margin (at 22.9%.) It also beats out California, which has been singled out by the media for its commitment to social programs, yet maintains a debt to GDP ratio of just 18.7%.
4. Praise from commentators of the Perry administrations record on jobs is almost entirely baseless. In fact, Perry’s record on job and wealth creation in Texas is abysmal. A few statistics are particularly interesting, such as the fact that 550,000 workers in Texas make minimum wage or less. This means that Texas has the highest percentage of citizens working for minimum wage than any other state in the union. Also, despite the state’s incredulous amount of natural energy reserves and Perry’s successful plan to give Texas a ‘better climate for business’, 23 states have a higher employment rate.
5. Last but not least, Perry attempted to issue an executive order forcing every elementary-aged girl in Texas to be vaccinated with Gardasil, a highly controversial drug. He was blocked by lawmakers who pressed his connections between Perry and Merck, the manufacturer of the drug. As someone who claims to be uncomfortable with the government mandating things such as seatbelts, it’s striking that he was perfectly comfortable requiring every young girl in his state to take a particular vaccine . Rick Perry’s small-government rhetoric isn’t just cheapened by his record in public life, his radical statist ambitions are exposed.
This article was referenced by The American Independent.