Here’s media favorite Professor Newt Gingrich opining on the US economy, last week:
REP. GINGRICH: Well, it’s very simple. He has policies—and I used a very direct analogy. He follows the same destructive political model that destroyed the city of Detroit. I follow the model that Rick Perry and others have used to create more jobs in Texas. You know, Texas two out of the last four years created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. I’m suggesting we know how to create jobs. Ronald Reagan did it. I was part of that. We know how to create jobs. We did it when I was speaker. And, and the way you create jobs is you have lower taxes, you have less regulation, you have litigation reform….
I know Gingrich was dog whistling, and this isn’t about Detroit or food stamps, but let’s pretend the mass volume of words he produces have actual, ordinary meaning and see about Detroit and paychecks and Michigan and food stamps:
Soon after taking office in 2009, President Obama was looking for a place to dramatize America’s economic woes, and tout his administration’s plan to turn things around. He picked Elkhart, Indiana, a struggling city in a state which then placed 42nd out of the 50 states in unemployment rates. Obama could also have picked a location in Michigan, which had a jobless rate of 13.3 percent that year, the highest in the nation. Or perhaps somewhere in Ohio or Illinois, which ranked 40th and 39th respectively.
As a region, the industrial Midwest has become synonymous in the public mind with the loss of manufacturing jobs, and a potent symbol of U.S. economic decline. So it might come as a shock to learn that over the last year, those four Midwestern states led the pack in reducing their jobless rates. And behind that trend is an emerging body of evidence that supports a much more optimistic view not just of the industrial Midwest region, but of the future of U.S. manufacturing.
Between this March and last, Michigan’s jobless rate dropped from 13.3 percent to 10.3 percent, according to Labor Department numbers. That 3 percentage-point decline led the nation. Illinois and Indiana were second and third–with rates that went from 11 percent to 8.8 percent, and 10.6 percent to 8.5 percent, respectively. And Ohio was tied for fourth, with a 1.6 percentage-point drop. Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio now all have jobless rates below the national average of 9 percent.As one analyst put it: “The economy would be limping along, at best, without the strong manufacturing sector.”
At least for Michigan, another surprising factor may also be playing a role in the turnaround. According to a recent analysis, the fastest-growing market for tech jobs–the sector that, more than any other, may represent the economy of the future–isn’t San Jose, Austin, or North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Instead, it’s the city that’s become our leading icon of industrial decline and urban decay: Detroit.
Gingrich doesn’t know anything about any of the places he talks about, and he doesn’t know anything about food stamps, either.
While Michigan had 18.8% of residents receiving food stamps in 2010, Texas had 15.3% of residents receiving food stamps in 2010, hardly a number for Rick Perry to brag about. Newt’s home state of Georgia, with tort reform, lax regulation and tax breaks, comes in at 17%.