"Gov. Perry laughs off recession: ‘We’re in one?’"
Speaking to the Houston Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) discounted the fact that Texas is in a deep economic downturn. In an anecdote to the assembled business leaders, Perry quipped that when he was approached with a report on recovering from the recession, he replied, “We’re in one?“:
PERRY: Why is Texas kind of recession-proof, if you will? As a matter of fact, just today I think, Michael, you said someone had put a report out that the first state that’s coming out of the recession is going to be the State of Texas. I told him, I said, ‘We’re in one?’
Houston, where Perry was speaking, lost 95,100 jobs between August 2008 and August 2009, adding to the overall rise in unemployment for the state of Texas to 8%. Perry’s state also leads the nation for people lacking health insurance. Texas would have a much higher unemployment rate if it were not for President Obama’s stimulus program, which has provided billions in investments and over 70,000 jobs so far. Nonetheless, Perry not only considered rejecting the stimulus, but has called it a “burden.”