Thursday, September 15, 2011

Economic miracle, Perry style—More poverty

The Texas-based Center for Public Policy Priorities took a look at Governor Goodhair’s economic model.  Perry’s job formula which he so proudly pitches for the U.S. as a whole can be summed up as:  More Low-Paying Jobs + Higher Unemployment = Increased Poverty. That’s what he has done for Texas. The Center’s report says:

Once again, Texas saw both the percentage and number of people struggling to make ends meet climb. In 2010, 18.4 percent (or 4.6 million) of Texans were living in poverty (e.g., $22,113 a year or less for a family of four), up from 17.3 percent (or 4.3 million) in 2009. Not only is Texas’ poverty rate higher than the U.S. poverty rate (15.1 percent), it also grew at a faster rate.

Texas’ unemployment rate jumped from 7.6 percent in 2009 to 8.2 percent in 2010. As shown in the chart above, our poverty rate rises and falls with the unemployment rate. Of the nearly 1 million unemployed Texans in 2010, more than one in three—approximately 336,000 Texans—were unemployed 6 months or longer. In fact, the 2010 unemployment and poverty rates are at 15-year highs. The unemployment rate has continued to climb into 2011 to 8.4 percent (July 2011), marking 23 consecutive months that Texas’ unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent. This ties the modern-day stretch set in the wake of the 1980s oil and real estate bust. Recent data revealed that Texas has the highest proportion of low-wage jobs in the country (nearly 10 percent of all hourly paid workers, tied with Mississippi).  More than half a million Texas workers earn minimum wage or less.

 At the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, a single parent working full time would
earn just over $15,000 a year before taxes. If that parent has two kids, then $15,000 would be too low to meet basic needs, leaving them dependent upon public health insurance and free school lunch for the kids and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) for the entire family.

So much for Perry as a jobs miracle-worker.  Turns out he is all hat and no saddle.

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