CLEVELAND, Ohio — In his only sitdown interview while preparing for the first GOP primary debate on Thursday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry discussed exclusively with Breitbart News his plan to get Americans back to work amid a crisis with the lowest workforce participation rate since 1979.
While casually hemming his own dress slacks for Thursday’s debate in his hotel suite at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cleveland, Perry—who wore a Chris Kyle Foundation t-shirt and windbreaker workout pants—walked through how, as governor of Texas, he created more jobs than any other candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016.
During Perry’s time as Texas’ Governor, he created more jobs than any other state governors, and in fact, created 1.5 million jobs in Texas during the 2008 recession while the nation as a whole lost 400,000 jobs.
“Freedom from over taxation and freedom from over regulation will work everywhere – this is not Texas centric,” Perry explained to Breitbart News. “A president who is committed to devolving power out of Washington, D.C. and back to the states, I think, is a breath of fresh air.”
Perry went on to discuss education and healthcare, saying those issues, when left to the states, save money without losing quality. “States need to make the decisions on curriculum for their public schools, for their healthcare decisions for their citizens, for their transportation infrastructure – all of those today are centralized in Washington, DC or substantially centralized in Washington D.C.”
“It’s the reason I’m against Common Core,” he continued. “It’s the reason I’m against Obamacare.”
Perry–who won’t be on the main debate stage on Thursday evening but will be center-stage in the undercard debate, providing him a unique opportunity to dominate that stage–said that bringing that Tenth Amendment mentality to Washington, D.C. as president and bringing men and women who are committed to that mentality to serve in his cabinet would cause a trickle-down effect.
“They hire people downward through those agencies–for instance, a Health and Human Service Secretary who then had men and women down through that agency that were committed to devolving power back to the states, devolving dollars back to the states… let the states come up with solutions,” he explained. “They will deliver better results for less money – we know that. I’m not sure there has been a president in the last 30 years, with the notable exception of Ronald Reagan, that really believed in devolving power back to the United States,” Perry said.
He added that Clinton didn’t and, at the same time, separated him from the last former Governor of Texas that served as president.
“George W. Bush had No Child Left Behind – we didn’t participate with No Child Left Behind because we would have had to lower our standards.”
Perry went on to address Medicare and said that the entitlement program is another example where the states should have control.
“You can deliver better services, you can save money and, I suggest to you, when you couple that with Tort reform, you can make access to health care,” he said.
“That was one of the great results that we had in Texas about healthcare and the access to health care, you know people want to criticize Texas for – ‘you got high percentage of people uninsured’ — and we say we don’t judge success on how may people you force to buy insurance, we judge success on how any people have access to quality health care,” Perry said. “And since 2003 when we put the most sweeping Tort reform in the nation in place — in that decade, we have had amazing expansion of access to healthcare.”
Perry gave an example of a nonprofit Christian hospital in Corpus Christie, Texas – Christian Spohn Hospital — that is able to save an incredible amount of money each year and then, as a result, reinvest the money for better healthcare and better services.
“They save over a hundred million dollars every year on defense costs. That money goes back into hiring doctors, hiring nurses, hiring technicians, buying technology, buying buildings – a hundred million dollars a year – every year,” he touted. “My point with using Texas – the 12th largest economy in the world – as an example, I think carries weight,” Perry continued, “Unlike the capable men and women who are going to be sharing the stage with us tomorrow, they’re all going to be saying the right thing – but how many of them have done the right thing?”
Perry went on to stress the importance for the next president to have experience running a government.
“I think it’s important for the American people to decide whether they — after what will be eight years of a young, inexperienced United States Senator who in, arguably from my opinion, has put us in worse economic shape than where we should be and certainly from a foreign policy stand point in a weaker position all around the globe — are ready for someone who has the results of having been a major executive and there is not anyone on the stage that has been an executive of anything bigger than the 12th largest economy in the world – and the results to go with it.”
Without Perry’s record of job creation, the nation would have been in even worse shape during the recession following 2008, as he created 1.5 million jobs in Texas while the rest of the states were losing jobs left and right – all together, a net loss of 400,000 jobs.
“The most important perspective is that the bulk of that occurred during the worse economic time in America since the Great Depression and then the Great Recession… Texas added 1.5 million jobs while the country lost 400,000 jobs collectively,” he told Breitbart News.
“That’s a stunning juxtaposition that one state created 1.5 million jobs. The detractors will say, ‘it’s because you’re in the oil and gas business’ – we’re still creating jobs and it is 50 percent of what it was a year ago,” Perry fired back.
Perry added that Texas has a diverse economy – not just focused on oil and gas.
“We’re also the number one high tech exporting state in the nation. Facebook , eBay, every one of these (points at an Apple laptop) is manufactured in Austin, Texas,” Perry said of his home state capital.
“We are a massively diversified economy. Yes, we got an oil and gas industry because we chose to develop that industry, we chose to put policies into place to use that to help create jobs and wealth – which we did – but the bulk of the Texas economy is from other areas.”
In fact, Perry explained the oil and gas industry is half of what it was in 1985.
“A president who is committed to freeing people from over taxation, from over regulation” is how to get this country back to work, he said, adding that motivating people into the workforce is tied to North American energy policy.
“Canada, the United States and Mexico have more known energy reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, that’s how much energy we have,” he said.
“This president’s decision on the XL pipeline, this president’s decision on coal, this decision on Solyndra have all been very negative for America’s future, we can drive down the cost of electricity, and this is not theory – because we did it in my own state… electricity prices went down 40 percent – it happened because we deregulated the industry and let it compete.”
Perry explained that driving down the cost of energy, coupled with lowering the corporate tax rate, is the way to put Americans back to work and America back in business.
“Any conservative economist will tell you that if you lower the corporate tax rate 10 percent, you will have a corresponding increase in midlevel wages by 5 to 10 percent. So every blue-collar worker ought to be saying, ‘Perry, we’re voting for you because you’re going to help raise our salaries, help raise our hourly wage,’ and the other incentive of that is to manufacturers who have gone offshore – they’ll come back.”
Perry said the nonparticipation rate in the workforce is the highest it has been since 1979 – roughly at 63 percent. He believes energy is the key to getting people back to participating instead of being dependent on the government.
“Affordable energy — you have a work force that is willing and working, then you can have the greatest renaissance in manufacturing history – that’s how you get this country back.”
“You give them the incentive of having a good job and right now, I don’t think they have that incentive. You see an economy that’s only growing at best at two percent and so we are giving people more incentives to stay off of work than we are go to work,” Perry added.
Perry hinted that he would share a large economic plan later in his campaign that will help America visualize what a President Perry could do for workers.
“I’m going to lay out a really visionary approach to getting people back to work and some of the ideas we are going to lay out, but at it’s core it’s about creating an environment where the job creators know they can risk their capital and they’ll go out and make the incentives to the workforce out there. They’ll offer the salaries to get people to come back into the work force, but they’re not going to do it if they’re over taxed and over regulated and that’s what they see today.”
“I think the entrepreneur is afraid to invest in this country today either because of the unpredictability of the regulatory climate or the cost of doing business – high energy cost, high transportation cost – so using North American energy for the basis of the renaissance of manufacturing is the key to the future of this country and to this region for that matter,” Perry concluded, saying his plan will create a very energy secure region.