The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

By Jim Hightower, July 1, 2011, News

Perry Peddles Texas Snake Oil

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and get your ticket to see Rick the Wonder Worker!

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is less than revered here at home, where he is widely ridiculed as Governor Goodhair. So he's now on the road with a traveling medicine show, billing himself as the "Texas Miracle Man." From New York to New Orleans, he's wowing the Republican hardcore with astounding tales of his job-creating prowess, suggesting he can do for America what he's done for Texas.

Hold it right there. First, while the Texas unemployment rate is 1 percentage point lower than the national rate, 23 other states are doing even better, including New York. Also, his self-touted record of job growth is essentially the same as Democratic Gov. Ann Richards produced, only she didn't call it a miracle. Most damning, however, is that Perry-jobs are really "jobettes," offering low pay, no benefits, and no upward mobility. In fact, under Rickonomics, Texas has added more minimum-wage jobs than all other states combined! Indeed, Perry presides over a state that has more people in poverty and more without health coverage than any other.

Meanwhile, the Miracle Man has dug Texas into one of the deepest budget holes in the country – $27 billion short of the money needed to cover the same miserly level of state services Texans now get, even as our population has grown dramatically. Although his party controls the state Senate and has a supermajority in the House, he was unable to pass a budget in the regular legislative session, forcing him to convene a costly special session. Maybe that's why he's now on the road.

Toward the end of George W.'s right-wing presidency, national columnist Molly Ivins said: "Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."

Obama Goes Courting

Ah, love – a time of intimate talks, long phone calls, romantic dinners, and nonstop wooing. We can see these actions in the tender love story of Barack Obama. Not as a young man falling in love with Michelle, but as president, passionately pursuing his current heartthrob: Wall Street bankers.

Obama is in hot pursuit of the elite financial royals he once derided as fat cats. This spring, however, charmed by the heft of their bankrolls, he invited two dozen of the multimillionaires over to his house – the White House that is. Gathered in the Blue Room, they spent more than an hour with the president, who cooed aphrodisiacal words that bankers can't resist, such as "tax cuts," "deregulation," and "I love you."

After this snuggle session, Obama followed up with personal phone calls to Wall Streeters who had not been able to attend. Also, to demonstrate the depth of his affection for these money powers, the president is making a special trip to their private lair in New York City, taking a group of bankers, hedge fund operators, and private equity speculators to dinner at Daniel, the posh Upper East Side restaurant. Hey, nothing's too good for those you love.

Excuse me, but it's embarrassing to see him kiss their sorry butts. These privileged princes of high finance crashed our economy, causing mass unemployment and hardships for millions of working-class families. Obama bailed them out, let them keep their pampered positions, and allowed them to return to their reckless casino culture. He's already done too much for them.

Obama claims that he needs Wall Street's campaign cash to win re-election. But if he'd just stand up to these narcissists – and stand up for America's workaday majority – he wouldn't need their money, because the grassroots people would already be with him.

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