06 July 2012

How the Romney Campaign Fudges Its Figures

Mitt Romney has made a lot of claims about the US economy under President Barack Obama. Most of them involve blaming him for the effects of the Bush-Cheney recession, widely recognized and reported as the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Thus, the Romney campaign claimed this spring that President Obama has a “net negative record on job creation.” That math adds up only by including job losses in January 2009. For most of that month George W. Bush was President, and Obama clearly hadn’t had time to initiate any new economic programs.

Similarly, the Romney campaign claimed, “Women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under Obama.” Politifact called that Mostly False, noting that it:
  • ignores the larger number of jobs lost by men in the two years before Obama became President.
  • blames Obama for job losses before his policies could take effect.
In fact, nearly all the Romney campaign’s analyses of Obama administration funding include the federal fiscal year that ended in September 2009, based on the budget resolutions signed by George W. Bush. Obama did initiate the stimulus in that year, and most economists believe that it preserved jobs. However, that didn’t happen right away (and anyway Romney opposes such Keynesianism except when he might be in charge).

The Romney campaign’s ways of measuring economic performance may not be logical, but at least they’re consistent—except when it comes to Romney’s own sole term in elective office as governor of Massachusetts. In that case, his people issued a press release that began: “Governor Romney Inherited An Economy That Was Losing Jobs Each Month…” It insisted that he shouldn’t be judged on net performance (as he was doing to Obama) but relative to what had come before.

It would be possible to have a reasoned, fact-based, political debate about the federal government’s role in stimulating job creation. But such a debate is only possible based on fair and unchanging standards. Instead, the Mitt Romney presidential campaign wants voters to believe that different, harsher, and unreasonable rules apply to President Obama. And people suffering from OIP Derangement Syndrome are only too happy to do that.

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