'One Stage Away From Slavery': Rangel on Rick Perry's Job Creation

Rep. Charlie Rangel in Harlem this morning. (photo credit: azi paybarah / observer)

Rep. Charlie Rangel said Governor Rick Perry’s job creation accomplishments in Texas are nothing to be proud of because they pay such low wages “it’s one stage away from slavery.”

Rangel’s harsh assessment comes the same day a New York Times review of Perry’s record concluded “Texas has one of the highest percentages of workers who are paid the minimum wage and receive no medical benefits.”

It also comes one day after former President Bill Clinton called Perry a “good-looking rascal” whose anti-government platform was “crazy,” during a speech to firemen in midtown Manhattan.

Perry — the longest serving governor in Texas history — formally kicked off his presidential campaign on Saturday, largely on the strength of having created more jobs in Texas since 2009 than any other state in the nation.

This morning, Rangel appeared inside the Harlem office of the New York Urban League with fellow Democrats Senator Gillibrand and Assemblyman Keith Wright. They were urging the congress to passage of the federal Urban Jobs Act, which they said would pump $200 million into underserved communities to help prepare young, at-risk youth to enter the work force.

After the announcement, I asked Rangel his thoughts about Wal-Mart, the mega retail chain store which has been looking to open its first New York City store in Brooklyn, promising to offer low-income shoppers cheap merchandise and a plethora of jobs.

“Any large retail establishment would have an economic impact, not only in the merchandising but also in the lives of the people who work for them,” Rangel told me. “So, I think that saying that we should have a living wage is consistent with what anybody would want. And Wal-Mart has demonstrated they have the ability, if not the will, to provide that as well.”

When asked if he’d support the store if they offered living wage compensation to employees, Rangel demurred, and, unprompted, went after Perry.

“I’m just saying, generally speaking, you don’t want people taking advantage of poverty. The guy from Texas, he’s got the highest job accomplishments in the country, Governor Perry, but it’s one stage away from slavery, from what I understand the salaries are.”

  'One Stage Away From Slavery': Rangel on Rick Perry's Job Creation