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Texas leads the nation in several ways

August 30, 2011 - Mike Maneval
With Texas Governor Rick Perry running for the Republican presidential nomination, and more than a few political and civic leaders in Lycoming and surrounding counties touting Texas as a model for how our own state should conduct its business, now is a good time to look at the Texas record in recent years. Much is made of Texas leading the nation in job creation. But Texas leads the nation in more than the number of jobs created in recent history.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, “Texas tied with Mississippi for states having the highest percentage of hourly paid workers earning the minimum wage or less in 2010. Some 550,000 Texans, or 9.5 percent of hourly paid workers, made the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less last year.” The Express-News notes Texas held this distinction for 2009, as well. Texas also is in a three-way tie to lead the U.S. in percentage of a state population without health insurance, reports, with about 25 percent of the state lacking health coverage.

To be fair, Texas doesn’t lead in everything. In percentage of the population living below the poverty line, Texas does lag, coming in eighth with 15.8 percent, according to 2008 Census data. Pennsylvania is 28th, with 12.1 percent living below the poverty line. And Texas, according to 2006 figures, is only 15th in acts of violent crime per 1,000 residents. Pennsylvania is 21st.

I believe I may have written something similar to this before, but, if Pennsylvania, the U.S., or both, choose to emulate Texas, we shouldn’t be too surprised if smaller paychecks and more poverty follows.


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