The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Part Six

This is Part Six of “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” by Mike Daisey, the 2011 Trading 8s “Journalist of the Year”.

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6. “Where All Our Shit Is Made”
by Mike Daisey

Emboldened by my success at Foxconn, I decide to embark on a new plan. But I’m going to need Cathy’s help if it’s going to work, so I meet with her in the lobby of my hotel and I say to her,

“Cathy, now you work with a lot of American businessmen, don’t you?” And she says, “Yes, I do.” And I say, “Great. Here’s what I want you to do: I want you to call all of the factories you have connections with, I want you to call them, and I want you to tell them that I am an American businessman, and that I want to buy whatever they are selling.”

And she listens to this, and she says, “But you…are not a businessman?”

And I say, “That’s true, I am not a businessman.”

And she says, “And you…aren’t going to buy their products?”

And I say, “That’s true. I am not going to buy their products.”

She says, “You…will lie to them.”

And I say, “Yes, Cathy. I’m going to lie to lots of people.”

And for a moment, I think it isn’t going to work.

And then you can actually see the idea leap the synaptic gap from a Problem to a Problem-To-Be-Solved.

She says:

<<very slowly, carefully, clearly, and quietly>>

“You…are going to need a lot…of business cards.”

And two days later we head out into the factory zone. As we come to each factory, Cathy briefs me on what it is they make and what it is I have said I am going to buy.

The factories are all different, but really, they’re more similar than different—there’s always gates and guards, you get past those there’s always a lawn, big and green and plush—no one walks on it, no one uses it. You go into the lobbies—the lobbies are these huge, empty Kubrickian spaces, totally empty except for a tiny little desk for the receptionist. You cross the HUGE empty lobby to the tiny little desk, introduce yourself, and then the executives always come down in a gaggle loolololo all together loololoololo they pick you up loololoololo and you go up together loololoololooloolooloolo to a conference room. For the exchanging of the business cards.

And Cathy had told me this would be very important, that when we got in that room it’d be very formal, and each person would come up to me in turn and they would offer me their business card with two hands, and it was very important that I accept it with two hands, and that I then examine it:

“Mmmmmmm…Lucida Grande. Excellent font choice. Mmmmmmmm…”

And after each and every one of them have done this, they are all staring at me. Because it’s my turn. And I reach into my pocket and I pull out…some grimy slips of fucked-up paper.

Because it’s hard to find a Kinko’s in Shenzhen!

And the business office at my hotel, it’s like it’s from before the fucking revolution, and the woman there is totally scary, and the keyboard doesn’t make any fucking sense, and the paper is slimy and gray, and they don’t have scissors, they’re like child safety—it’s so fucked up. I don’t even know how to tell you how fucked up it is.

It’s really fucked up.

And so I take…my fucked-up piece of paper, and I go…

<< holds out card with two hands while turning face away in embarrassed grimace >>

Thank God for the protocol of the Chinese! They do not even blink. They take my fucked-up piece of paper and they go, “Mmmmmmm…interesting made-up business name with fake address. Mmmmmmm…” And then, it’s time for the PowerPoint.

And one of the reasons I have lived my life in the manner that I have is so that I do not have to go to PowerPoint presentations.

That was sort of the fucking point of all this.

But life has its little ironies sometimes, doesn’t it?

And I made up for it in Shenzhen…oh, yes I did. Because I went to all the PowerPoint presentations. Every last fucking one of them, because PowerPoint is a tool designed by Microsoft.

Microsoft, whose motto should be, “Building Tools That Do Shit We Can Already Do.”

Because the point of PowerPoint is that it enables people who are in the same room to communicate with one another.

<<a gesture indicating this process>>

As you can tell from the form of my theatrical presentation, I believe we have a tool that does that already: it’s called the human voice. It’s built-in and it hardly ever crashes.

But why would we want to talk to one another when instead we can use PowerPoint with all its fucking features—like the clip art? AARRRGH…the clip art makes my eyes bleed!

And the fonts! Ohhhhhh, they use all the fonts! Comic Sans?

There’s nothing comic about Comic Sans.

They put up the first slide, and it’s got a big jpeg that’s all pixilated, like someone’s smacking me in the retina with a ball-peen hammer. And then the person running the PowerPoint goes <<slowly and deliberately hitting a mouse button>> …clllliiiiick. And a single line of text appears, in English, and the text says,

“The plant uses thirty thousand gallons of water every day.”

There’s a pause.

And then the click-er says:

<<pause>>

“The plant uses thirty thousand gallons of water every day.”

!!! And then nothing happens! Until and unless—I manually nod. I have to literally go,

<<big, exaggerated nod>>

“Mmmmmm . . . ”

And only then will they…clllliiiiick, and another line of text appears.

It’s fucking interminable! It goes on and on—I swear to God there are nights I wake up in the middle of the night, even now, thinking,

“Is it still going on? Am I still at the presentation?”

It goes on for so long I seriously start thinking about the fact that I am an “actor” playing the “role” of an American businessman…

There are actual businesspeople out there! For whom this is their actual life!

How does that happen to someone?! You go to school, you fall in love, and this, this, THIS is what you’re spending your one precious life on?

What the fuck happened to you?!

They must have a penknife in their pockets, you know, just for luck, just for something to hold onto, just so they can rub it as the slides are going by, just so they can know that if it ever gets to be too much, if it ever gets to be too fucking much, then they can STAB themselves in the FUCKING neck, and it will be over.

Worst job in the fucking world.

After the PowerPoint, we head down to the factory floor. And I retract my previous assertion because this is the worst job in the fucking world.

Industrial spaces with twenty, twenty-five, thirty thousand workers in a single enormous space, they can exert a kind of eerie fascination—there’s a beauty to industrialization on such a massive scale. You don’t have to deny it—there’s a wonder to seeing so much order laid out in front of you, and people are walking around whispering statistics in your ear, it’s easy to slip into a kind of Stalinist wet dream. I try to subvert that by locking onto actual faces as they take me up and down the aisles. And the first thing I notice is the silence.

It’s so quiet.

At Foxconn, you’re demerited if you ever speak on the line, at no factory that I went to did anyone ever speak on the line—but this is deeper than that.

As a creature of the First World, I expect a factory making complex electronics will have the sounds of machinery, but in a place where the cost of labor is effectively zero, anything that can be made by hand is made by hand.

Rest assured, no matter how complex your electronics are they are assembled by thousands and thousands of tiny little fingers working in concert, and in those vast spaces the only sound is the sound of bodies in constant, unending motion.

And it is constant. They work a Chinese hour, and a Chinese hour has sixty Chinese minutes, and a Chinese minute has sixty Chinese seconds—it’s not like our hour.

What’s our hour now? Forty-six minutes? You have a bathroom break, and a smoke break, and if you don’t smoke, there’s a yoga break…

This doesn’t look anything like that. This looks like nothing we’ve seen in a century. They work on the lines and a line only moves as fast as its slowest member, so each person learns how to move perfectly, as quickly as possible—if they can’t do it, there are people behind them, watching them, and there are cameras watching both sets of people, and people watching the cameras—they lock it down. They sharpen it to a fine, sharp edge, every hour, and those hours are long.

The official workday in China is eight hours long. That’s a joke. I never met anyone who’d even heard of an eight-hour shift. Everyone I talked to worked twelve-hour shifts, standard. And often much longer than that: fourteen hours a day, fifteen hours a day, sometimes when there’s a hot new gadget coming out—you know what the fuck I’m talking about— sometimes it pegs up at sixteen hours a day and it just sits there for weeks and months at a time, month after month of straight sixteens—sometimes longer than that.

While I’m in country, a worker at Foxconn dies after working a thirty-four-hour shift. I wish I could say that was unusual, but it’s happened before. I only mention it because it actually happened while I was there.

And I go to the dormitories. I’m a valuable potential future customer: they will show me anything I ask to see.

The dormitories are cement cubes, ten foot by twelve foot—and in that space, there are thirteen beds. Fourteen beds. I count fifteen beds. They’re stacked up like Jenga puzzle pieces all the way up to the ceiling. The space between them is so narrow none of us would actually fit in them—they have to slide into them like coffins. There are cameras in the rooms, there are cameras in the hallways, there are cameras everywhere.

And why wouldn’t there be? You know when we dream of a future when the regulations are washed away and the corporations are finally free to sail above us, you don’t have to dream about some sci-fi-dystopian-BladeRunner1984-bullshit. You can go to Shenzhen tomorrow— they’re making your shit that way today.

And you need to know that these people are among the best and brightest of their generation. You need to know that when I interview them outside the factories, they are, each of them, as bright and individual as you are out there in the darkness. You need to know these are exactly the people who fought their way out of their villages, to make a new life for themselves in these cities. These are exactly the people who could have the spirit to think about democracy.

But, fortunately for Beijing, they have a heat sink in the south of the country, they have an economic honey trap that soaks up all those people and keeps them busy, too busy to think about freedom, too busy making all our shit.

When I leave the factories I can feel the metaphor shifting underneath me. I can feel myself being rewritten from the inside out; the way I see everything is starting to change.

I keep thinking, how often do we talk about how we wish more things were handmade?

Oh, we talk about that all the time, don’t we?

“I wish it was like the old days, I wish things had that human touch.”

But that’s not true. There are more handmade things now than there have ever been in the history of the world. Everything is handmade. I know. I have been there. I have seen the workers laying in parts thinner than human hair, one, after another, after another.

Everything is handmade. If you have the eyes to see it.

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Tomorrow: “Part Seven: The Second Coming”

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Part Four

This is Part Four of “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” by Mike Daisey, the 2011 Trading 8s “Journalist of the Year”.

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4. “The Gates of Foxconn”
by Mike Daisey

Shenzhen is a city without history.

The people who live there will tell you that, because thirty-one years ago, Shenzhen was a fishing village. They had little reed huts, little reed walkways between the huts, the men would fish into the late afternoon—I hear it was lovely. Today, Shenzhen is a city of fourteen million people. It is larger than New York City, it is the third largest city in all of China, and it is the place where almost all of your shit comes from.

And the most amazing thing is, almost no one in America knows its name.

Isn’t that remarkable?

That there’s a place where almost all of our shit comes from and no one knows its fucking name?

I mean, we think we do know where our shit comes from—we think our shit comes from China.

Right? In kind of a generalized way? “China.”

But it doesn’t come from “China”—it comes from Shenzhen. It’s a city, it’s a place, and I am there, in an elevator, going down to the lobby of my hotel to meet with my translator, Cathy.

Cathy is fascinating: she’s very small, and she has sort of rounded shoulders, and she has these glasses that are way too big for her face so they keep sliding down and she has to push them up assiduously. She also has this sort of unnerving habit that when she is listening to you, she leans forward…indeterminately. So you get the feeling that if you were to talk to her for long enough, she would actually fall into your chest, and you’d have to pick her back up again.

We go outside and get into a taxi and begin to drive through the streets of downtown Shenzhen.

Shenzhen looks like Blade Runner threw up on itself. LEDs, neon, and fifteen-story-high video walls covered in shitty Chinese advertising: it’s everything they promised us the future would be.

We get out to the edge of the core of Shenzhen and we come to the gates. Because thirty- one years ago, when Deng Xiaoping carved this area off from the rest of China with a big red pen, he said, “This will be the Special Economic Zone,” and he made a deal with the corporations, he said, “Listen, use our people, do whatever you want to our people, just give us a modern China.” And the corporations took that deal and they squeezed and they squeezed and what they got is the Shenzhen we find today.

And on the other side of the gates it’s the factory zone and WHOO! —it’s like going from the Eloi to the Morlocks: everything changes. I’ve never seen anything like it. Everything is under construction. Every road has a bypass, every bypass has a bypass—it’s bypasses all the way down. I swear to God, I actually see buildings being built up on one side as they’re being torn down on the other.

And we pull onto an elevated expressway, and we begin to drive under a silver poisoned sky, because the air in Shenzhen…it’s not good in Hong Kong, but when you get to Shenzhen, you can actually feel it. Like a booted foot pressing down on your chest. But it’s amazing, what human beings will get used to, isn’t it?

Because after just a few days

<<takes a deep breath>>

you hardly even notice it at all.

And as we’re driving, we’re passing by arcology after arcology, these immense buildings that are so large they are redefining my sense of scale moment by moment, and then our taxi driver takes an exit ramp, and he stops.

Because the exit ramp stops. In mid-air.

There’s some rebar sticking out…and an eighty-five foot drop to the ground.

The only sign that the exit ramp ends is a single, solitary, orange cone.

It’s sitting there, as if to say,

“We’re busy…? Be alert…?”

We back back onto the expressway and begin to drive again, and then Cathy turns to me, pushes up her glasses, and says, “Excuse me, but I do not think this is going to work.”

And I hasten to assure her that it will work, but I’m talking out of my ass because I don’t know that it’s going to work; in fact, I have a lot of evidence that this is not going to work. In fact, all the journalists I have talked to in Hong Kong, when I tell them about my plan, you can actually see them wrestling with just how to express to me just how totally fucked my plan is.

My plan is this: We are in a taxi right now, in the factory zone, we are driving on our way to Foxconn.

Foxconn is the biggest company you’ve never heard of. Foxconn makes almost fifty percent of all the electronics in the world. So if you’re ever wondering how much of your shit comes from Foxconn, just take all the electronics you have in your house, put them together in a big pile, cut them all in half: that’s Foxconn.

And at this plant, they make all kinds of things, including MacBook Pros and iPhones and iPads, and so my plan is to take this taxi to the main gates, and then I’m going to get out of the taxi with my translator, and then my plan is to stand at the main gates and talk to anybody who wants to talk to me.

And when I tell journalists in Hong Kong about this plan, they say,

“That’s…different. That’s not really how we usually do things in China…ah…that’s really a bad idea—”

But I don’t know what the fuck else to do. I have been trying to do things “the right way,” I can’t get anywhere. I’ve been working with a fixer for the BBC—all the doors are closed.

And you reach a certain point when you realize you may need to obey your natural inclinations.

And at the end of the day, I am large,

I am American,

and I am wearing a fucking Hawaiian shirt.

And we are going to the main gates.

But I have to say, when we get there…my resolve wavers.

Because the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen is enormous. The Foxconn plant in Shenzhen has four-hundred-and-thirty-thousand workers.

That can be a difficult number to conceptualize. I find it’s useful to instead think about how there are twenty-five cafeterias at the plant and you just have to understand that some of these cafeterias seat thousands of people.

So now you just need to visualize a cafeteria that seats thousands and thousands of people.

I’ll wait.

No, really. I’ll wait.

You can do it. Try visualizing a cafeteria from your youth—maybe one from grade school, maybe one you went to hundreds and hundreds of times against your will, that would be appropriate. Summon it up in your mind.

Ok. Now. Hold it in your mind.

What I want you to do now is push the walls outward…start cloning the space like a Photoshop tool, over and over and over until it holds thousands of people.

Now, imagine twenty five rooms, all that size, all next to each other.

And now imagine them always full—because they always are. If you’re late from your shift, even a little bit, you aren’t getting any dinner.

And I get to the main gates, and I get out of the taxi with my translator, and the first thing I see at the gates are the guards.

And the guards look pissed. They look really pissed.

And they are carrying guns.

And I look back at the taxi which is now pulling away…and I’m involuntarily reminded of this Google News alert that popped into my inbox a few weeks earlier about an Reuters photographer who was taking pictures not at the Foxconn plant but near the Foxconn plant and Foxconn security went out, scooped him up, and beat him before releasing him.

I hope they’re in a better mood today.

And I look up past the gates and the guards, I look up at the buildings, these immense buildings, they are so enormous, and along the edges of each enormous building are the nets.

Because right at the time that I am making this visit, there’s been an epidemic of suicides at the Foxconn plant.

Day after day, week after week, worker after worker is climbing all the way up to the tops of these enormous buildings and then throwing themselves off, killing themselves in a brutal and public manner, not thinking very much about just how bad this makes Foxconn look.

Foxconn’s response to month after month of suicides has been to put up these nets.

<<silence>>

I think it’s Foxconn’s version of corporate responsibility.

It’s shift change, and the workers are coming out of the plant, and I’m standing there under the hot monsoon sun in the gaze of the guards. I feel ridiculous. I look absurd in this landscape—I mean, I wouldn’t talk to me!

And Cathy surprises me—she’s a spitfire, who knew?—she runs right over to the very first worker, grabs them by the arm, drags them over to us, we start talking…and in short order, we cannot keep up.

First, there’s one worker waiting, then there’s two, then there’s three, and before long the guards are like,

“mrrrrrrr??? RRRRRR,”

and we move further and further away from the plant, but the line just gets longer and longer—everyone wants to talk! We start taking them three or four at a time—we still can’t keep up. Everyone wants to talk. It’s like they were coming to work every day, thinking,

“You know what’d be great? It’d be so great if somebody who uses all this crap we make, all day long, it’d be so great if one of those people came and asked us what is going on. Because we would have stories for them.”

And I’m just ad-hoc-ing questions, I’m asking the questions you would expect: “What village in China are you from? How long have you been working at Foxconn? What do you do at the plant? How do you find your job? What would you change at Foxconn if you could change anything?”

That last question always gets them. They always react like a bee has flown into their faces and then they say something to Cathy and Cathy says, “He says he never thought of that before.” Every time. Every time.

And the stories are fascinating. I talk to one young woman who works on the iPhone line. She cleans the screens of iPhones by hand, in these huge racks, thousands and thousands of them every day, and she shows me how she does it, and I show her my iPhone and I hand her my iPhone—I take a picture of her holding my iPhone—and I say to her, “We’ll never know, you may have cleaned the screen of this iPhone when it came by you on the line, we’ll never know.” And, quick as a whip, she takes my phone and she rubs it against her pants and then she says, “There, I’ve cleaned it a second time.”

And I say to her, “You seem kind of young—how old are you?”

And she says, “I’m thirteen.”

And I say, “Thirteen. That’s young. Is it hard to get work at Foxconn when you’re…?”

She says, “Oh no,” and her friends all agree, it’s not that hard. There are inspections, but Foxconn always knows when there’s going to be an inspection, so what they do then—you’re going to love this—they don’t even check ages then, they just pull everyone from the affected line and then they put the oldest workers they have on that line.

You’d think someone would notice this, you know? You’d think someone would say, “My god, you guys are amazing! I can’t believe you keep up with our BRUTAL iPhone quotas and your median age is…ahhhh…74! Chinese productivity, am I right? We gotta get some of you guys back home to Cupertino!”

I am telling you that I do not speak Mandarin, I do not speak Cantonese, I have only a passing familiarity with Chinese culture and to call what I have a passing familiarity is an insult to Chinese culture—I don’t know fuck-all about Chinese culture.

But I do know that in my first two hours of my first day at that gate,

I met workers who were fourteen years old,

I met workers who were thirteen years old,

I met workers who were twelve.

Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?

In a company obsessed with the details, with the aluminum being milled just so, with the glass being fitted perfectly into the case, do you really think it’s credible that they don’t know?

Or are they just doing what we’re all doing?

Do they just see what they want to see?

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Tomorrow: “Part Five: Change the World”

The 2011 Trading 8s “Journalist of the Year” Award

Trading 8s tends to bestow the honor of “Journalist of the Year” on unorthodox journalists. Some might say they aren’t even journalists. At least, not in the Woodward-and-Bernstein kind of way. The 2009 award went to Ezra Klein, who’s known more for his blogging, and the 2010 award went to Paul Krugman, an economist who snuck in the back door of The New York Times with an op-ed column and a blog. This year, we push the boundaries even further.

Mike Daisey doesn’t work for a newspaper or a TV station or any kind of news outlet. He maintains a blog, but that’s just to keep his fans up-to-date. Mike Daisey’s real work is on the stage because Mike Daisey is a monologist.

I had to look up what that word means. A monologist performs monologues–or, you might call them, one-man shows.

Apparently, Mike Daisey has been King of the Monologists for several years, but let’s face it, that’s a pretty small kingdom. So I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see his show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” in downtown Manhattan in early December.

Mike Daisey wasn’t even supposed to be on the stage that night. His show was supposed to be over. One-man shows don’t run for long because…well, how many of you go to one-man shows on a regular basis? Exactly. Not a big moneymaker.

But “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” was like a virus…a computer virus…working its way into the cultural ether, spreading from person to person as more people saw it, loved it, and were changed by it. So Mike Daisey extended its run for a few more days. And thank God he did.

I can’t compare “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” to other one-man shows because, honestly, I haven’t seen many. But I can compare it to other journalistic efforts to investigate and report on Apple, China, trade, labor, and human rights because, honestly, I read almost everything our news outlets have to say on those matters. And there’s no comparison.

First, it must be said that, as an artist, as a performer, Mike Daisey is astonishingly good.

Second, his investigative work was more thorough, more brave, and more honest than anything anyone else has done on this particular issue.

Third, his passion, his conscience, his moral dedication is inspiring without being saccharine. And it has changed the world. Only a little. So far. But his message alone — the work of one person — has, like every good virus, become a cause célèbre of every major news outlet, each of which has adopted the crusade as their own. And now Apple is responding. Foxconn (about whom, more later) is changing. It’s not nearly enough. Not yet. But it’s a start. And it will continue. And it all started with Mike Daisey.

And now Mike Daisey has done something inexplicably generous. He has refused to cash in his fame. He has released the entire transcript of his show without copyright. Anyone can perform it. Anyone can reprint it. No one — and I mean no one — with his fame has ever done that.

And so, I have the unexpected pleasure of reproducing the entire show right here on Trading 8s. But I must caution you not to read it if it is at all possible for you to see the show. Oh, did I forget to mention? The show that was supposed to end in November…is still running. Go see it.

But if you can’t, here, over the course of the next week, we are proud to present “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” by the 2011 Trading 8s “Journalist of the Year” Mike Daisey.

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Tomorrow: “Part One: Midnight in the Chungking Mansions”

What to Read on Rick Perry

In Texas, Perry Rides an Energy Boom — Clifford Krauss

[The] state’s economic health came at a steep price: a long-term hollowing out of its prospects because of deep cuts to education spending, low rates of investment in research and development, and a disparity in the job market that confines many blacks and Hispanics to minimum-wage jobs without health insurance.

When Mr. Perry succeeded Mr. Bush, a barrel of oil was $25. [During] his first term, global market forces began driving oil prices up. They peaked at $147 a barrel in 2008 and have largely remained above $80 over the last two years.

The oil and gas industry now delivers roughly $325 billion a year to the state, directly and indirectly. It brings in $13 billion in state tax receipts, or roughly 40 percent of the total, financing up to 20 percent of the state budget.

The federal government has also helped support Texas. Federal spending in the state, home of NASA and large Army bases, more than doubled over the last decade to over $200 billion a year.

[Before Perry entered office,] the Legislature enacted tight restrictions on mortgage lending, which helped Texas avoid the kind of real estate bubble that devastated states like Florida and Arizona.

The Ten Weirdest Ideas in Rick Perry’s “Fed Up” — Matthew Yglesias

10. Social Security is evil.
9. Private enterprise blossomed under conscription and wartime price controls.
8. Medicare is too expensive but must never be cut.
7. All bank regulation is unconstitutional.
6. Consumer financial protection is unconstitutional.
5. Almost everything is unconstitutional.
4. Federal education policy is unconstitutional.
3. Al Gore is part of a conspiracy to deny the existence of global cooling.
2. Not only is everything unconstitutional; activist judges are a problem.
1. The Civil War was caused by slaveowners trampling on Northern states’ rights.

Rick Perry’s Neocon Friends — Robert Dreyfuss

…Perry declares that “exceptional” America has to be prepared for war with China and India.

Perry is consorting with left-over neocons from the Bush administration,…such as Douglas Feith, the uber-hawk who oversaw the war in Iraq, and Bill Luti, Feith’s compatriot in the Bush White House, who joined with Vice President Cheney to persuade Bush that an unprovoked attack on Iraq was the right thing to do, and Dan Blumenthal, another Bush veteran…

Rick Perry’s Budget Sleight-of-Hand — Suzy Khimm

The Texas governor…used accounting sleights-of-hand that deferred payments and papered over enormous expenditures that will soon come due…though not until the 2012 election is over.

Perry’s budget assumes that the student population will remain constant, when more than 160,000 new students are projected to enroll in Texas public schools over the next two years.

Perry’s budget only covers Medicaid funding through the spring of 2013, coming up $4.8 billion short.

Finally, Perry’s budget ignores a $4.5 billion structural deficit that happens every year due to a 2006 tax reform that’s never generated as much revenue as expected.

Rick Perry’s Environmental Record — Dylan Matthews

[Unlike] Mitt Romney, [Perry] does not believe in the science behind climate change…

He filed a lawsuitagainst the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations on behalf of the state, a suit widely expected to fail. Perry has said that he prays daily for the EPA rules to be reversed. He has consistently defended oil and coal interests in Texas, notably dubbing the BP oil well blowout an “act of God” and opposing the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate offshore drilling in the wake of the disaster. He also fast-tracked environmental permits for a number of coal plants in 2005, cutting in half the normal review period. His transportation agenda similarly does not reflect any concern about emissions, as he did not compete for federal high speed rail funding and has kept state funds focused on roads rather than mass transit.

Rick Perry’s Medicaid Record — Sarah Kliff

Perry [said] that he’d “like to see the states be given the opportunity to opt out of the Medicaid program that we are looking at today.”

In 2008,…Texas applied for a waiver allowing it to limit the number of beneficiaries and create a comparatively sparse benefits plan, among other changes.

The Bush administration rejected Texas’s…waiver request. There was “no precedent,” an administration official said in explaining the decision, in approving an “annual benefit limit as low as” the Perry administration proposed.

Perry Threatens Bernanke — ThinkProgress

…Perry said, “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.” Treason is a capital offense.