Gov. Rick Perry delivered the keynote address on Thursday morning for the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s policy conference.
Perry began his speech in a generally reasonable manner, encouraging the audience’s pride in Texas (“I don’t think there is a more powerful history in our country than the history of Texas”), and confiding in his audience of other states’ apparent engrossing jealousy of Texas’s economy. “I can promise you, Rick Scott in Florida, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, is [sic] more than happy to step into the fray and compete for the crown of the job creation capital of the world. They’re ready.” Floridians and Louisianans aren’t the only ones who can’t stand the success of Texas’s job market. “I’m sure that I couldn’t get all forty-nine other governors to admit they would want to beat Texas. Just, you know, reading the front of the Drudge Report yesterday, I’m thinking Governor Cuomo would not admit he would want to be a Texan. But if he’d be truthful, he would say that the economic climate that has allowed that state to grow and create jobs, he’d dearly love to be able to stand up and say, ‘We did this in New York.’ But he can’t.”
Perry focused the majority of his speech on economic policy-making this session: “What is the most important thing that government does? I will argue that the most important thing that government does, the thing that we collectively do together, is to create a climate where job creators, where entrepreneurs, know that they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a good return on their investment.”
He continued: “And the reason it’s the most important, the reason that you must get that done first is because you will run out of money if you don’t, before you’re able to pay for the law enforcement officers that keep us safe, the young men and women along our border that defend us from the drug cartels that are trying to penetrate into Texas. The school teachers that are in the classroom teaching our children the transportation infrastructure. Get the economic side of it done right, done first.”
This is Perry’s governing philosophy in its purest form: That the economy and more specifically the profits of big business are the top priority that must come before everything else. In Perry’s view, when business profits, we all profit. If only it always worked that way.
Perry closed with a non-sequitur. He jumped from his talk on Texas’s state of economic freedom to the state of a woman’s reproductive system. “We make the decisions about how do we protect our citizens, as this debate rages on security and public safety. I hope the Legislature will also reform our laws and protect what I consider to be some of the most vulnerable citizens that we have, and that’s the unborn.”