A video posted this week on a Mitt Romney website (for the moment dedicated to Rick Perry) shows tumbleweeds blowing across an empty highway behind headlines indicating the Texas economy is sinking fast with Perry at the state’s helm.
The video, titled "The Facts," trumpets these eye-catching claims:
- "Over 1 million Texans out of work"
- "Highest unemployment rate in Texas in over 20 years"
- "Unemployment has doubled on Perry’s watch"
These claims are traced in Romney’s video to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fair enough. Information from the agency, a reliable source for job-related calculations, earlier helped us confirm that 1.04 million Texans were unemployed as of August 2011, the latest month for which such data were available.
Also correct, per the bureau: The state’s August 2011 unemployment rate, 8.5 percent, was the highest Texas had experienced since the 9.3 percent rate reached in November 1986, nearly 25 years before.
Finally, the unemployment rate has doubled during Perry’s governorship -- going from 4.2 percent in December 2000 to 8.5 percent in August 2011.
However, we rated a previous Romney claim to this effect Half True. Experts reminded us that governors have little to do with statewide job losses or gains that take place during their terms. Put another way, neither Romney nor Perry merits credit or blame for job conditions in their respective states. Economies rise and fall due to many conditions beyond a governor’s sway.
That should make the next debate a lot shorter, shouldn’t it?
The logical weakness in blaming a state’s governor for the state’s jobless residents and unemployment rate makes Romney’s triple-barreled claim Half True.