Tuesday's 'Debate' Means Nothing — Perry's Pluses Are Still Undeniable

At this precipitous moment in history, California’s Marxist-utopia sinks daily into the sandpit of fiddle-playing frivolity, while Texans try to figure out how to expand their ever-growing largess and protect their success from the strong-arm of the insatiable federal government.

Mark Hemingway, writing for the Washington Times earlier this year, did a five-part series comparing and contrasting the two largest state economies in the U.S.: California and Texas. Hemingway contends – and anyone with an ounce of Econ 101 common sense would agree – that California and Texas cogently demonstrate the devastating economic results of over-regulation and public-purse profligacy vs. the prosperity of the low-tax, more minimally regulating, frugal small government.

Noting that in most of the salient particulars -- diverse economies, large urban areas, a border with Mexico, and similar demographic make-up, with Hispanics a third of the population – California and Texas are almost identical, Hemingway then goes to meticulous analysis of the vast differences in terms of quality of life, economic opportunity, and prosperity between the two.

California is facing budget shortfalls in excess of $20 billion each year for the next five years, and acquires $25 million in new debt each day. “We’ve been living in fantasy land. It is much worse than I thought. I’m shocked,” then California Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, D, told the Los Angeles Times.

By contrast, when Perry, R-Texas, campaigned successfully for a third term this year, he ran ads touting the fact that his state has billions in surplus. In fact, Texas was one of only six states that did not run a budget deficit in 2009.

Businessman and former presidential contender Steve Forbes seems to think the way I do about Perry. Forbes appeared on the Daily Ticker September 20 and was asked to handicap the race. “I think at the end of the day, Perry will win the nomination. And I think he’ll win the election,” Forbes said. At that time, Perry was leading the field and enthusiasm for his candidacy was running high, but many columns had already been written attacking Perry’s Christian faith, his short-lived HPV vaccine mandate, and his maneuvers to get businesses to bring their jobs to Texas. Perry had yet to bomb a debate performance with his extreme stage anxiety. Nor had he badly expounded upon the Texan way of dealing with the feds’ refusal to enforce immigration law at border-state expense.

Nevertheless, Forbes is no economic rookie without a clue as to a candidate’s performance record and Perry’s record was the focus of Forbes’ support:

Interviewer:  Perry obviously appeals to the far-right. There’s a lot of religion and everything else involved with that. Will he get enough independent voters to get elected?

Forbes:  I think so. Partly because of his record as governor which was a very pragmatic but pro-growth record, real TORT reform that sent all the trial lawyers into Okalhoma with the reforms he put in, avoided tax increases and things like that…Perry’s criticism of the Federal Reserve is right on. He’s for tax simplification and certainly no blowout on spending. So, in terms of the issues that matter most to people, he’s going to be a winner.