In the recent debate among the republican candidates for president there were many statistics tossed around to show their great success in the past some of the more interesting –
PERRY: “Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that we’ve created have been above minimum wage.”
THE FACTS: To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for December 2010 showing only 5.3 percent of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage.
But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data are unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be barely above the minimum wage. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 51 percent of all Texas workers make less than $33,000 a year. Only 30 percent make more than $50,000 a year. Nationally, Texas ranked 34th in median household income from 2007 to 2009.
About 9.5 percent of Texas hourly workers, excluding those who are paid salaries, earn the minimum wage or less, tying Mississippi for the highest percentage in the nation.
PERRY: “Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.”
ROMNEY: “Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.”
PERRY: “That’s not correct.”
ROMNEY: “Yes, that is correct.”
THE FACTS: Romney was correct.
Romney accurately stated that George W. Bush — even without his predecessor — saw jobs grow at a faster rate during his 1994-2000 years as governor than Perry has during his 11 years governing Texas. Employment grew by about 1.32 million during Bush’s six years in office. Employment during Perry’s years has grown about 1.2 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As for Perry’s claim about Romney’s record and that of Dukakis, he was at least in the ballpark.
Democratic Gov. Dukakis saw Massachusetts employment grow by 500,000 jobs during his two divided terms, 1975 to 1979, and 1983 to 1991, a rate of more than 41,000 jobs a year.
Romney, governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, saw employment grow from 3.23 million to 3.29 million, growth of about 60,000 jobs, or a rate of 15,000 a year. That means Dukakis’ job growth rate was nearly three times Romney’s.
PERRY: “What I find compelling is what we’ve done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade.” He specifically mentioned successes in reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 58 percent and ozone levels by 27 percent.
THE FACTS: Texas has reduced emissions as Perry described, but most of those reductions were required under the federal Clean Air Act. However, the Environmental Protection Agency recently rescinded the state’s authority to grant some air pollution permits because the state did not comply with federal regulations. Texas, home to America’s oil and gas industry, still emits more carbon dioxide — the chief greenhouse gas — than any other state in the country, according to government data. Several metropolitan areas in Texas still violate health-based limits for smog, and the county that is home to Houston is one of the biggest emitters of hazardous air pollution in the country. The Texas Legislature also passed, and Perry signed, a law that will delay enforcing stiffer clean air regulations by two years.
I should be a campaign writer! I enjoy taking a tiny shred of factual material and building a story around it.