The Texas Unemployment Massacre

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While the rest of the country struggled under Obama’s weak post-recession strategies, one state managed to battle back the beast of unemployment. According to a new report from the Texas Workforce Commission, the Lone Star State continues to shine against a national economy that has seen better days. According to the December employment report, Texas closed out 2014 with the addition of nearly 500,000 new jobs.

More strikingly, Texas has been solely responsible for the country’s job growth. The state has added more than a million new jobs since December 2007, when the country fell into economic malaise. Compare that to the rest of the country, which is still 275,000 jobs below where we were before the Great Recession. The oil and gas industry upon which Texas thrives is largely responsible for the bounceback, but the state has managed to add new employment in a number of areas. Mining and logging, construction, financial activities, and business services all have seen net additions.

A Triumph of Conservatism

The Texas story is a successful trial of sound conservative economics. While the rest of the country has slowly muddled through a recovery hampered by Obama’s liberal policies, Texas has forged its own path. With a winning combination of low taxes and limited government, the state has shown liberals that this responsible approach to the economy is one that works. Sure, they deny it; they say that Texas is an anomaly whose lessons cannot be grafted onto a neighboring state. But while the specifics certainly can’t be, the fundamental principles are universal.

To keep taxes low, Texas turns to the private sector when they want to accomplish something. And that approach has been wildly successful. By using a fiscally conservative strategy, the state has been able to ease the burden on taxpayers and shun much of what is offered by the federal government. More money flowed from Texas to Washington over the last decade than the other way around. Liberals might question the wisdom of that autonomy, but the numbers speak for themselves. Limited government, on both the state and federal level, simply works.

The philosophy that guides the state – don’t expect much from the government, and we won’t expect much from you – sounds appallingly cold when you compare it to “caring” progressive alternatives. That’s why conservatism is such a hard sell in many areas of the country. It isn’t touchy-feely. It doesn’t respond to tear-stained appeals for compassion. It puts the onus on the individual. Go out and make your mark on the world, it says. Reach for the stars. We won’t stand in your way. But we also won’t bail you out if you decide you’d rather sit on your behind.

The Texas approach to government is, I believe, one that our Founding Fathers would have approved of. There is room for a social safety net, infrastructure improvements, and other programs that help those in need. But we’ve reached a point nationally where those programs have led us away from our core beliefs. America is not a communist country. To each, according to their needs is not our guiding motto. To each, according to their work may not be as cuddly, but it is so much more inspiring.

And, if Texas is any example, it is also much more successful.