When Governor Rick Perry stepped onto the national stage Saturday as a presidential contender, so too did the state of the state of Texas. At first glance, the Texas economy looks to be a lone star compared to the rest of the country. Job numbers show Texas cities have excelled at creating jobs and sustaining them. The Milken Institute's "Best-Performing Cities" index has 11 Texas cities ranked in the top 25. And it's more than job growth the state boasts. Its debt is relatively low. Home prices are stable. The economy is growing -- especially in the energy sector and, needless to say, high oil prices equal big money for black-gold country. Is that only half the story though? Many Texans lack health insurance. The state also ranks highest for minimum-wage jobs per capita. And some economists argue any successes are just a matter of luck and population growth. What is really going on in the Texas economy? Is there a job boom? How has public policy influenced any growth? What role have taxes and regulation played?
Bill Peacock, Vice President of Research & Planning and the Director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation
Daniel S. Hamermesh, Sue Killam Professor of Economics University of Texas at Austin