The census reported that there has been a population shift toward the southwest, and toward Texas in particular. It seems there is a reason for this. That's where the jobs are. "Some 37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began were created in Texas" ("The Lone Star Jobs Surge," WSJ, 6/10/11).
Since June 2009 when the recession ended (that's right, we're not in a recession any more), Texas added 265,000 jobs, followed at a distant second by New York at 98,000 and Pennsylvania at 95,000.
What accounts for this?
Texas stands out for its free market and business-friendly climate. Capital—both human and investment—is highly mobile, and it migrates all the time to the places where the opportunities are larger and the burdens are lower. Texas has no state income tax. Its regulatory conditions are contained and flexible. It is fiscally responsible and government is small. Its right-to-work law doesn't impose unions on businesses or employees. It is open to global trade and competition: Houston, San Antonio and El Paso are entrepôts for commerce, especially in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Journal editorial adds: "the core impulse of Obamanomics is to make America less like Texas and more like California, with more government, more unions, more central planning, higher taxes." That sounds like a winning presidential campaign to me.
So now three, maybe four, factors are drawing Gov. Rick Perry to the race.
(1) The strikingly impressive job numbers.
(2) The massive exodus from the Gingrich campaign organization, including two men who have engineered victories for Perry in the past. Yesterday, amidst the whispers of a campaign bid, we read, "Members of Mr. Perry's still-extant group of campaign consultants say there is little chance he would embark on a 2012 campaign without Messrs. Carney and Johnson at his side." Today things are radically different.
(3) A persistently weak field. (Mitt "RomneyCare" Romney is the front runner.)
(4) His country needs him. (What politician doesn't see his or her indispensability as a factor.)