Wow! Red Alert! Red Alert! If you pull up CNN you will be treated to this sky-is-falling bullet point headline of doom regarding the $83.8 billion budget that will go before the Lone Star State’s legislature next week. The article goes on to describe the spending cuts in the budget as “harsh” and bases this decidedly partial adjective on the estimates released by the bi-partisan Legislative Budget Board. Finally, it deems the projected “loss” of 263,500 private sector jobs and 343,000 government positions by 2013 as counter to the pro-jobs platform of Republican governor Rick Perry.
Naturally, liberal Democrats who never met a government program they didn’t deem absolutely essential (or under-funded) pounced on this story. “The voters did not elect us to eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs,” said Rep. Mike Villarreal (D). “We can’t grow the Texas economy with a budget that destroys jobs, hurts neighborhood schools and makes college more expensive,” he howled, once again personifying tea partier frustration over politicians who are more about scoring political points to protect their power and positions than taking an honest approach to governing and finding solutions to the problems that plague this nation.
I say this because, well, let me ask you, dear readers–who by virtue of your being on this site demonstrate a higher IQ than most–a common sense question. If you were a governor trying to make a name for yourself on the national stage by using your own state as a jobs-creation model would you seriously propose a budget that kills over a half million jobs in two years? Of course not. In fact, I’ve met governor Perry and trust me, this is a sharp man who understands economics.
So what’s the real story here? Well, the answer comes from the very same LBB report that the democrats use to go after the GOP in a crass misrepresentation of the facts. A falsehood proffered by like-minded elements at CNN. As the Honorable Talmadge Heflin, Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (TPPF) Center for Fiscal Policy observes:
“The negative 272 thousand change in jobs predicted for 2012 does not imply the state will lose that many jobs from our current employment level upon enactment of CSHB1. Rather, that figure implies Texas will have 272 thousand jobs less than a baseline scenario where state expenditures remained constant relative to 2010-11 levels and available revenue matched these spending levels.
“The LBB’s baseline scenario assumes that Texas continues to support levels of spending where government has grown at almost three times the rate of population growth plus inflation over the last two decades, and has available revenue to match that bloated spending. Texas doesn’t have the available revenue to support that — and to get it would mean ruinous tax hikes that aren’t on the table.”
To put it more simply: the Democrats took a report that offered that should the state of Texas continue on its steep trajectory of government expenditures, and should it have the revenues to support such continued growth, then there would be 600,000 more jobs in the future than there will be if the current budget proposal is enacted. But, of course, Texas does not have the financial wherewithal to support such growth without resorting to crippling taxes that would quickly push the state to the far side of the downward slope of the Laffer curve where higher taxes start to have a corrosive effect on the economy, ergo a loss of jobs.
As to CNN’s take on the story: Suppose I said to you, I have a container that is 100 gallon capacity. Each year I have filled it up to by ten gallons a year and now I am at 100. But I cannot fill it any more or bad things will start to happen so I must finally turn off the hose. And then what if CNN reported that my actions will “cost 20 gallons over two years” from the water supply? The implication here is that the container will go from 100 to 80 gallons correct? But in fact it remains full. 20 gallons have not been lost, just not gained. But that original 120 gallon projection was bogus as the rate of flow was unsustainable. That’s quite a different reality. But what does reality matter when semantics can be used to twist data to comport to a pre-disposed view that you can never have too much water?
It’s hard enough to steer Americans away from the unsustainable and culturally and economically destructive path of ever more government dependency without fear-mongering for political gain. In the case of the latest row over the Texas budget, we see dishonest and self-serving politicians and their like-minded media mouthpieces dutifully echoing their twisted message to whip up an atmosphere of fear over faux job loss in a world where somehow for them $83.8 billion is no longer enough to run a single state.