That was fast …

Less than 24 hours after announcing his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was lambasted by The Wall Street Journal for being a “crony capitalist.”

According to columnist Charles Dameron’s explosive piece, Perry has been using tax dollars to pick winners and losers in the marketplace for years. Not only that, more than a few of the “winners” happen to be Perry’s political donors.

Ruh-roh …

Citing figures obtained by The Dallas Morning News, Dameron claims that more than $16 million in Texas tax revenue “has gone to firms in which major Perry contributors were either investors or officers.”

Not only that, it appears as though one firm used its pull with Perry to obtain $4.5 million in taxpayer subsidies after its application was initially rejected.

Again, ruh-roh …

During his announcement speech on Saturday, Perry portrayed himself as a staunch fiscal conservative who is intent on undoing the command economic policies of current U.S. President Barack Obama.

“We reject this President’s unbridled fixation on taking more money out of the wallets and pocketbooks of American families and employers and giving it to a central government,” Perry said.

That’s tough talk, but it would certainly appear as though Perry isn’t entirely averse to centralized planning – as long as he’s the one doing the planning.

Sounds a lot like former President George W. Bush’s comment that a dictatorship would “be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

Obviously, taxpayer-funded “economic development” incentives have become an issue of contention in South Carolina – with the state’s Tea Party leaders choosing to target these eminently-corruptible arrangements over the objections of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (who badly mishandled her first test on this front).