More Jobs, Better Pay: What the GOP Can Do

Written by David Frum on Monday August 15, 2011

In my column for CNN, I explain why Rick Perry's record on job is both his greatest strength and weakness:

Gov. Rick Perry enters the presidential race with one big advantage and one big impediment. The advantage: his record of job creation in Texas. His impediment? His record of job creation in Texas.

Through two years of weak economic recovery, Texas has led the nation in job creation. Of all the jobs created in the United States since 2009, 38% have been created in Texas.

But if Texas has created many jobs, it has failed to create good jobs. Many of the jobs created since 2009 pay only minimum wage, and Texas, along with Mississippi, has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the U.S.

Truth be told, it's unclear how much (if any) blame or credit Perry personally deserves for either Texas' good job creation or Texas' bad wages. Perry did not endow Texas with the oil that supports the Texas economy. Nor did he locate Texas next door to Mexico and the flow of legal and illegal immigration that drives down Texas wages.

Yes, compared to the government-led economic development symbolized by President Barack Obama's stimulus spending, there is something to be said for the Texas approach. At least the Texas approach puts people to work. But must Americans choose only between the two ugly options: no jobs vs. low wages?

Click here to read the full column.