Anita Perry, the wife of presidential contender and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), took to the campaign trail in Iowa today to defend her husband against a growing wave of criticism and scrutiny from the right. In between brushing away criticism of her husband’s debate performance and positions on immigration and the HPV vaccine, she made a surprising admission.
While parroting her husband’s jobs claims, she also conceded that not all the jobs Texas has created during her husband’s tenure are high-paying jobs — in fact, Texas has the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the country. But Perry says that’s the sort of job people are “hungry for”:
PERRY: He knows how to create jobs…We have 1,500 people moving to Texas every day to find a job. I’m not going to tell you they’re all high-paying jobs, but they’re a job, even if they’re a minimum wage job. And that’s what people are hungry for.
American Bridge captured the video:
Anita Perry’s claim that people are “hungry” for minimum wage job ignores the obvious truth that families are barely scraping by on those jobs and would much rather prefer higher wages.
As ThinkProgress has reported, the so-called “Texas miracle” of job creation Gov. Perry touts as a key reason to elect him is nothing but smoke and mirrors, built on a boom in government jobs, population growth and low wage jobs. Texas has by far the largest number of employees working at or below the federal minimum wage compared to any state.
In fact, Texas’ jobs numbers are moving in exactly the wrong direction. 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. When you account for labor force growth, Texas ranks dead last in total job creation. Despite Perry’s claims that government can’t create jobs, he’s actually depended disproportionately on government jobs — between 2007 and 2010, 47 percent of government jobs were created in Texas.
As for Anita Perry, the Austin-American Statesman reports that she depends mostly on her husband’s backers for her $60,000-a-year salary. Her salary from the nonprofit where she works “comes indirectly from Gov. Rick Perry’s political donors, state contractors and companies that do business with the state or have issues before the Legislature.” In fact, contributing to Anita Perry’s nonprofit has become yet another legal way those looking to curry favor with Perry’s administration “pay to play.”