Rick Perry Will Create Jobs? Wait, We Thought Government Didn't Do That

In Texas Gov. Rick Perry's first paid ad which went up in Iowa this week, the candidate for the Republican presidential nomination makes a curious statement. He says as president he'd create millions of jobs.

"As president, I'll create at least two and a half million new jobs," is the exact quote.

Two odd things about that statement. One, Perry like other Republicans has been quick to say in the past that the government doesn't create jobs.

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An excerpt from an Aug. 20, 2011 Washington Post story when Perry was riding far higher in the polls.

"The fact is, government doesn't create jobs, otherwise the last 2-1/2 years of stimulus would have worked," Perry said this month in a speech to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Government can only create the environment that allows the private sector to create jobs.

That could be President Obama. He has said as much.

Perry's new ad isn't the first time Perry has conflated government's role in creating the conditions for new jobs to fashion himself as a job creator. During the debate at the Reagan presidential library Perry and Mitt Romney fought over who created the most jobs in his state although, to be fair, they frequently resorted to using "we" instead of the first-person pronoun.

The second point of the ad is that, to say that he will create or preside over "at least 2.5 million new jobs" as president sets the bar extremely low. Perry doesn't provide a time frame in the ad or in his campaign literature but if he's talking about in his first term, that would be something over 52,000 net new jobs a month.

While any new job created in an economy as sour as ours can't be scoffed at, Perry's goal is so low it's hard to even call it modest.

Consider that for the jobless rate to return to five percent by 2020, it would take more like 190,000 net new jobs a month. So 2.5 million jobs may sound impressive but it isn't.

PolitiFact.com, by the way, did a fact-check on Perry's Texas job-creation claim that "we" created one million jobs in Texas while the rest of the nation created two million. They rated it half true.

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