The American Dream Movement is everywhere, even in deep red Oklahoma. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) showed up in Tulsa on Monday to make a speech on behalf of his fledgling presidential campaign, raise some cash, and accept the endorsement of arch-Republican Senator Jim Inhofe. His appearance garnered a few minutes in the evening news, where he bashed government spending, boasted that he wouldn't let "entitlements" bankrupt our children, and mumbled something about being as light as possible on "job creators". But luckily, Perry's nonsense didn't go unanswered by Tulsans. Even though the Sooner State is one of the most conservative in the country, plenty of Oklahomans disagree with Perry's policies. Tulsans showed up outside Perry's speech in force to argue that Perry's running on a false depiction of his own economic record. As the protester in the news report points out, the Texas economy has produced some jobs under Perry, but a high proportion of them are minimum wage jobs. In fact, Texas is now tied for the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in its work force with the economic "powerhouse" of Mississippi at nearly 10%. And the fact that an oil-producing state managed to add jobs during a period of record oil prices isn't very impressive in and of itself. To put Texas' supposedly great employment record in context, Texas actually ranks in the bottom half of states' unemployment rates. "Big government" states like New York and Massachusetts actually have a lower unemployment rate, and neither of those states have a booming oil industry to hire new workers, spur new construction, and support state revenues. But you don't see Rick Perry turning to Andrew Cuomo or Deval Patrick for answers on how to run a government. I've said it before and I'll keep asking: if "job creators" need lower taxes to start hiring again, why was it that the Clinton era economy produced so many more jobs with higher taxes than the Bush era? And corporations are raking in record profits, but even with that extra cash, they aren't hiring. Maybe Perry is talking about some other "job creators." I'm really glad Tulsans showed up to speak out against Perry's economic record. If they hadn't, I have a hard time believing that the local news would have taken it upon themselves to balance Perry's perspective.
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