Rea­gan’s vi­sion lives on in Texas

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

More than three decades ago, my fa­ther took own­er­ship of the smok­ing ru­ins of the Amer­i­can econ­omy armed with noth­ing more than four very ba­sic prin­ci­ples: Keep taxes low, re­strain gov­ern­ment spend­ing, min­i­mize the amount of reg­u­la­tion on pri­vate en­ter­prise and keep the money sup­ply sound.

His ap­proach may have ap­peared ba­sic, but the re­sults were unas­sail­able. Over the next eight years, more than 16 mil­lion new pri­vate-sec­tor jobs were cre­ated, a pay­roll ex­pan­sion of 17.6 per­cent.

It was called the “Amer­i­can Mir­a­cle” and was repli­cated by world lead­ers across the globe, who met with sim­i­lar suc­cess.

Look­ing back at it from a dis­tance, it’s re­mark­able to me that the con­cepts that worked so amaz­ingly well just a short time ago have fallen so far to the way­side.

Per­haps dur­ing this time of un­ri­valed Key­ne­sian in­flu­ence — an era of bailouts and bud­get-bust­ing “stim­u­lus” pack­ages — the idea that you can im­prove the fu­ture by re­vis­it­ing the lessons of the past seems overly sim­ple, even quaint.

How­ever, if Amer­ica is go­ing to pull out of the eco­nomic death spi­ral in which it’s locked, we have to re­turn to the ba­sics Ron­ald Rea­gan preached.

If you don’t be­lieve Reaganomics can still work in this day and age, for what­ever rea­son, I say you should look no fur­ther than the state of Texas.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of Gov. Rick Perry, Texas has cham­pi­oned and built upon the con­cepts my fa­ther used to re­build Amer­ica in the 1980s.

The re­sults, again, are unas­sail­able.

Over the decade be­tween April 2001 and April 2011, more than 730,000 pri­vate-sec­tor jobs were cre­ated in the Lone Star State. Dur­ing that same stretch of time, the next-best state added just over 90,000 and the nation as a whole lost 2.2 mil­lion.

By al­most any mea­sure, Texas sur­vived the global eco­nomic re­ces­sion in dra­mat­i­cally bet­ter shape than any other state, con­tin­u­ing to add em­ploy­ers seek­ing to ex­pand or re­lo­cate from across the coun­try or around the world.

What’s the se­cret be­hind the Texas Mir­a­cle? Low taxes, pre­dictable and lim­ited reg­u­la­tion and re­strained gov­ern­ment spend­ing. Sound fa­mil­iar?

Texas stands as an ex­am­ple the rest of the nation should be em­u­lat­ing. In fact, many states want to do so. Ear­lier this year, a con­tin­gent of lawmakers from Cal­i­for­nia trav­eled to Austin to meet with Mr. Perry to try to fig­ure out just what Texas was do­ing to make it such an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for re­lo­cat­ing Cal­i­for­nia busi­nesses and res­i­dents.

As the son of the for­mer gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, I can ap­pre­ci­ate the irony of a Golden State con­tin­gent trav­el­ing to Texas to learn the lessons orig­i­nally taught by Ron­ald Rea­gan.

Texas has not slowed down, ei­ther. An­a­lyz­ing weak­nesses in its al­ready jobs-friendly cli­mate, Mr. Perry and other state lead­ers rec­og­nized the need for fur­ther tort re­forms to make the state even more at­trac­tive. Just last month, shortly af­ter sign­ing off on a bud­get that dra­mat­i­cally cut state spend­ing, Mr. Perry put pen to pa­per and signed into law a “loser pays” com­po­nent to the Texas court sys­tem that adds fur­ther pro­tec­tions to vic­tims of law­suit abuse.

Mr. Perry is smart enough to re­al­ize that end­less — and of­ten friv­o­lous — law­suits are just an­other hur­dle stand­ing in the way of pri­vate com­pa­nies seek­ing to grow their busi­nesses.

Dal­las Fed­eral Re­serve Pres­i­dent and CEO Richard Fisher de­scribed the im­por­tance of tort re­form ear­lier this week on CNBC, say­ing com­pa­nies pay close at­ten­tion to such things. “The most im­por­tant thing that’s hap­pened to [Texas] is tort re­form,” Mr. Fisher said. “Reg­u­la­tion-mak­ing, rule-mak­ing and the way the law works and how it’s ap­plied have a tremen­dous im­pact on cap­i­tal for­ma­tion and em­ploy­ment.”

Mr. Perry is con­tin­u­ing the Rea­gan tra­di­tion of re­mov­ing sense­less road­blocks and al­low­ing free en­ter­prise to do what it does best: hire em­ploy­ees and gen­er­ate wealth.

Dur­ing a time when most com­pa­nies ap­pear to be in­se­cure about adding to their pay­rolls be­cause of the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing our econ­omy, this coun­try would be wise to care­fully study why Texas em­ploy­ers seem to be largely im­mune to this in­se­cu­rity.

In short, the Rea­gan Revo­lu­tion is alive and well — deep in the heart of Texas.

Michael Rea­gan, the son of the 40th pres­i­dent of the United States, is au­thor of “The New Rea­gan Revo­lu­tion” (Thomas Dunne, 2011).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.