a text to be read

Texas currently ranks fourth in the US in number of multi-millionaire residents, yet 24 per cent of Texan children live in poverty. In Dallas, home to some of the state’s most affluent families, it is estimated that 80 per cent of children in the Dallas Independent School District live in poverty.

We aren’t creating opportunities for these children when economic policy in the state creates jobs that are low-wage, part-time and devoid of benefits. These children will grow up reliant on government programmes because they don’t make enough money to meet their basic needs. The jobs that provide that are already disappearing.

Imagine what the Texas job market will look like when these children are adults. If we keep following Perry’s economic model and investing in companies that really don’t need government support, Texas will have plenty of jobs. The only problem is that none of them will be any good.

I have spent the last 10 years working with low-wage workers in Texas, most of who labour in the construction industry. These blue-collar jobs used to be thought of as good jobs; they would allow you to earn a decent wage, plan for retirement and support your family.

“Workers in many Latin American countries are guaranteed paid sick and vacation days, and maternity leave… In Texas, rest breaks are considered a benefit, not a right.”
But today, nearly half of full-time construction workers in the state’s capital live below the poverty line. More construction workers are killed on the job in Texas than in any other state. In the Lone Star State, a construction worker is killed on the job every 2.5 days.

Deregulation, a major component of Governor Perry’s economic vision for the Lone Star State, has made life easy on business but hard on families. Texas is the only state in the country that doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage to help those who are injured on the job.

Leaving taxpayers stuck to pick up the tab for employers who don’t have insurance and aren’t willing to pay for expensive hospital bills, and of course neither are the workers that most frequently make $10/hr.

Perry’s policies direct investment away from small businesses, which are the true engines of economic growth. This year Apple, Inc received a $21m incentive package from the Texas Enterprise Fund to build a million square feet campus in Austin. Large businesses do create jobs.

Advertisements