Saturday Morning Lines
John Turner of the Guardian U.K. concurs:
The low-wage economy is Texas’s dirty little secret, and it is easy to ignore in swaths of the state. The sad scene at Dove Springs was unfolding only a few miles from the majestic domed state house in downtown Austin, a city which is famed for its vibrant music venues and world-class restaurants.
Austin is also famous for its growing technology sector and is becoming the Silicon Valley of the Texas hill country. It is in many places a city of well-to-do neighbourhoods, with manicured lawns and plush housing. The same is true of other Texas urban centres, such as Dallas and Houston, helped by an energy industry that has been buoyed by rocketing oil prices. The state also avoided the worst of the housing bubble.
Perry touts all this when he boasts of the legion of Fortune 500 companies that have flocked to make their headquarters here and he boasts that, since June 2009, about 40% of all jobs created in America are in Texas, a state whose economy is growing at twice the national rate.
But the devil is in the detail. Unemployment is stubbornly stuck at about 8%, below the national level but still leaving one million Texans out of work. In 2010 half a million people in the state earned no more than the minimum wage of $7.25 (£4.47) an hour. Texas, for all its glittering metropolises, has the joint highest percentage, along with Mississippi, of hourly paid workers earning the minimum wage or less.
Jim Hightower, a longstanding Texas liberal and radio host, has a simple description of Perry’s Texas economic miracle. “It is a hoax. He is telling Perry-tales. You can’t make a living off of these jobs,” he said.
(click here to continue reading The dark underbelly of Rick Perry’s Texas | World news | The Observer.)