Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) hasn’t exactly cultivated a reputation as a knowledgeable, sensible policymaker. After 29 years in elected office, one would like to think Perry is capable of being slightly more sophisticated when it comes to public affairs, but he’s clearly still struggling.
Yesterday, for example, the Republican governor was in New Jersey to campaign for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan (R), and shared some of his thoughts on the Affordable Care Act.
“If this heath care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price,” Perry, a former Republican candidate for president, told the crowd outside the Bendix Diner. “And that, I suggest to you, reaches the point of being a felony toward them and their future.
“That is a criminal act, from my perspective, to put that type of burden on them – to mortgage their future like that,” he continued.
I don’t think he was kidding.
It can be tough to decipher Perry’s point when he’s stumbling through a bad argument, but he seems to think the health care law will be placing a terrible “burden” on young people by “mortgaging” their future. For what it’s worth, the Affordable Care Act is not only making it easy for young people to get and keep coverage, but the law also cuts the national debt by hundreds of billions of dollars.
Perry, in other words, whether he understands these details or not, has the story backwards.
Also note, Perry talked to CNN’s Stephanie Cutter recently, and was asked about the millions of Texans who can’t afford health care coverage. The governor replied that the uninsured already “have access to health care.” When Cutter noted these folks “are showing up at the emergency room to get their health care,” Perry said Texans prefer this to a system created by “Washington, D.C.”
Remember, this is a man who’s led one of the nation’s largest states – for three terms – and has national ambitions.