Monday, August 15, 2011

Paul Krugman: Wow, Texas Is Awesome!

I don't do much Krugman on this blog anymore.  I feel his ideas deserves about as much space here as would those of any other street-corner lunatic, which is about what he gets.

But sometimes the soapbox loon is just too damn funny to resist quoting.  So here we have Krugman, trying to discredit the powerhouse economy of the Lone Star state by gamely exposing what he dubs as - with all due reverence to the English language - the "Texas Unmiracle".

And what he discovered was horrifying - that the Texas model seems to work.  Well, he doesn't say that, exactly, but he has trouble working his way around the truth.  Observe:

It’s true that Texas entered recession a bit later than the rest of America, mainly because the state’s still energy-heavy economy was buoyed by high oil prices through the first half of 2008. Also, Texas was spared the worst of the housing crisis, partly because it turns out to have surprisingly strict regulation of mortgage lending.

You mean energy production is good for the economy? And that mortgages shouldn't be based upon the color of a borrower's skin, or just what they feel they want, but instead on what they deserve? Revolutionary! Why, those are the exact ideas espoused by conservatives and those terrorist tea partiers! Is Krugman about to go all heretic here?

Wait, there are more revelations by "el beardo":

For this much is true about Texas: It has, for many decades, had much faster population growth than the rest of America — about twice as fast since 1990. Several factors underlie this rapid population growth: a high birth rate, immigration from Mexico, and inward migration of Americans from other states, who are attracted to Texas by its warm weather and low cost of living, low housing costs in particular.

And just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a low cost of living. In particular, there’s a good case to be made that zoning policies in many states unnecessarily restrict the supply of housing, and that this is one area where Texas does in fact do something right.

So I suppose the "Rick is racist" meme now needs to be taken off the table, now that "The Krugz" has labeled him a good multiculturalist? One would almost seem to believe that Krugman is endorsing the Christian dogma of Perry as well -  after all, isn't high childbirth considered a glory onto God?

Must be the weather. And that low cost of living...Ah, here we go:

Many of the people moving to Texas — retirees in search of warm winters, middle-class Mexicans in search of a safer life — bring purchasing power that leads to greater local employment. At the same time, the rapid growth in the Texas work force keeps wages low — almost 10 percent of Texan workers earn the minimum wage or less, well above the national average — and these low wages give corporations an incentive to move production to the Lone Star State.

Wonder if Krugman here too, by touting Texas' safety, is endorsing the "one man, twenty guns" policy that has been the hallmark of the state for decades. But I suppose that, after visiting lavish praise on Rick Perry, he has to feel he found fault somewhere. But alas, our head-over-heels in love doctor Krugman seems to have forgotten to check how his facts stand up to comparison. They don't, as is to be expected:

According to a July study by the liberal National Employment Law Project, 73 percent of nation-wide job growth during the past year has been in low-wage occupations. The New York Times reports:

The report by the National Employment Law Project, a liberal research and advocacy group, found that while 60 percent of the jobs lost during the downturn were in midwage occupations, 73 percent of the jobs added since the recession ended had been in lower-wage occupations, like cashier, stocking clerk or food preparation worker.

Another fact that hasn’t been mentioned: the number of minimum wage jobs was actually decreasing steadily in Texas between 1998 and 2006. But when the federal minimum wage was raised from 2007 through 2009, many jobs previously considered above minimum wage in Texas automatically became classified as minimum wage.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes this in its recent report on lower-wage workers in Texas, and also points out that the number of workers making minimum wage increased in the state as well as the nation...

Whoops! Looks like Krugman is right: Texas is a perfect place, after all!

And not once in his piece did he even get around to mentioning that Texas has no state income tax, adding to its allure as a destination for the talented and entrepreneurial who want to keep just a wee bit more of what they earn.

Guess Dr. K will have to save that one for his next glowing piece on unfettered Texas capitalism...

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