With this post, I continue a short series consisting of my analyses of the Republican candidates for the nomination for President. To recap, I’m limiting my discussions to three candidates: Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry. The structure of this series consists of a collection of posts concerning what I don’t like about the candidates and then a series of what I do like about them. I’ll conclude with my endorsement of a single candidate. At this point I’m in the series of what I like, and here I’ll talk about what I like about Governor Rick Perry.
Economy: Some insist that the Texas job growth during the current Panic has little to do with Perry’s stewardship: he’s merely ridden the benefit of Texas’ wealth of oil and gas. Perry, they say, has simply had Texas on autopilot these last 11 years (including the current Unpleasantness). They’re right as far as it goes. But Texas also has a burgeoning information technology and communications sector due to its well-educated and skilled work force. However, that redounds to Perry. Unlike other governments, including our own Federal government, Perry has kept his Texas government out of the way of the State’s economy, allowing Texas citizens and businesses do what they do far better than governments can: create wealth for themselves and their State.
Indeed, some 37%-40% of the jobs created since the official end of the recession (an aside: does anyone other than an economist poring over his numbers really feel like he’s out of the downturn and prospering again?) have been created in Texas. That works out to around 260,000 jobs actually created since June 2009, and that’s also in a State economy that’s been growing about three times faster than the nation’s economy (admittedly, this is no large rate, given the anemic performance of the current administration’s national economy).
Perry also has cut spending, including excess spending in education. Critics have decried this, but they’re simply committing the Progressive error of conflating efficient spending with lots of spending for its own sake. The cuts Perry has made to education spending (for instance) have been to the fat, and he’s required remaining spending to be done efficiently. See above about the educated work force in Texas.
Business: Perry is plainly pro-business, which makes him pro worker, since thriving businesses are a thriving labor market. He was able to push through, in 2003, an amendment to the Texas Constitution that caps medical malpractice awards. This has led since then to a 30% reduction in medical malpractice insurance premiums. Far from reducing the quality of medical care in Texas, that’s improved it: doctors are flocking to Texas, and medical service availability has never been higher.
He also pushed through serious tort reform. As of this year, plaintiffs who lose their cases must pay court and attorney costs for the defendant.
Management Style: He knows how to collect a competent staff and then let them do the job for which he hired them. He is involved in decision-making, but he doesn’t micro-manage, delegating effectively instead.
Other: Perry successfully pushed through the 2011 Texas legislature a requirement for voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. As of this year, one of the following five easily obtained photo IDs must be presented: a driver’s license, a military ID, a passport, a concealed handgun license (did I mention that this is Texas?), or a special voter ID card which the State provides for free.
Finally, Perry well understands the 10th Amendment and its role in the federal nature of our governmental structure. He pushes actively for a return to the sovereignty of the States within the framework of our federalism.