Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) — who has been toying with running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination — continued his media tour today, one again attempting to talk up the Texas economy. During an interview with Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Perry made the ludicrous claim that “government doesn’t create any jobs”:
BECK: Can the government actually create jobs, sir?
PERRY: Actually, what a government can do, it can create an environment where those jobs can be created. Government doesn’t create any jobs. They can actually run jobs away.
Perry himself seems to have a job, and he likely has a slew of aides, secretaries, and other administration officials helping him get through each day. They might be interested to know that, according to their boss, they aren’t actually working.
But it’s not just Perry who claims that government work doesn’t really count as work, and that the government can’t do anything to spur private sector job creation. Plenty of Republicans have tried to make the same claim. As Matt Yglesias responded:
David Petraeus has a job. So does the guy who drove the truck that transported David Petraeus’ uniform to wherever he picked it up. So does the guy who sold that guy his truck’s tires. And so does the guy who served that guy some beer on Friday. And not only do police officers have jobs, but police officers who do their jobs well and make the streets safe create the conditions for economic growth. So do the people who build bridges and the people who man tollbooths.
On a separate note, Perry’s claims about the booming Texas economy have run into a solid dose of reality. As the Austin American-Statesman noted, “while the national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and the Texas unemployment rate is 8 percent, some 23 states, including New York, have lower unemployment rates.” Between 2008 and 2010, jobs actually grew at a faster pace in Massachusetts than in Texas, and “Texas has done worse than the rest of the country since the peak of national unemployment in October 2009.” Perry’s state does, however, lead the nation by having the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs.