Does Romney Have An Actual Record As a Job Creator?
The White House had a somber reaction to the modest improvements in the unemployment numbers yesterday. Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers:
Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but much more remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and the deep recession. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began at the end of 2007. President Obama has said that prosperity in America has always come from a strong and growing middle class. He has made clear that getting back to where we were is not enough. We need to do more, which is why the President has laid out his blueprint for an American economy that is built to last and will continue to urge Congress to act to do more to grow the economy and create jobs.
Boehner-- like the rest of the GOP obstruction machine-- were gleeful that their policies have held back the economic recovery. The reactionary agenda was losing jobs at immense rates when Bush was in office; now it's still holding back growth and exacerbating unemployment figures by shrinking local government. One of the big losers in yesterday's employment numbers was government, which-- thanks to extreme right governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Florida, Arizona firing teachers and bus drivers-- shrank by another 15,000 (10,700 in education). The biggest GOP contribution to the unemployment situation has been to force 250,000 layoffs on the post office on behalf of their campaign donors at UPS. Bailed out companies are sitting on trillions of dollars and refusing to hire workers. Overall, the modest 115,000 increase in jobs-- along with an upward revision of the March number ti 154,000-- brought unemployment down to 8.1%, it's lowest level since Bush and the Republicans tanked the economy. Boehner was ready with a prepared statement within seconds of the announcement:
“Today’s report is more evidence President Obama’s policies aren’t working for families and small businesses, and aren’t creating enough jobs to get our economy back on track. Where are the jobs? Families are stuck: the wages of those fortunate enough to have a job are stagnant, but they’re paying more for everything from gasoline to groceries. And those looking for work can’t find it because ObamaCare, our spending-driven debt, and the threat of tax hikes are making it harder for small businesses to hire. Nearly half of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed in President Obama’s economy.
“But rather than address these challenges, President Obama has wasted time trying to distract the American people with gimmicks like the Buffett tax hike and fake fights over noncontroversial issues. Election-year gimmicks might win the president some votes but they won’t create American jobs.
“The House has passed a series of bills to address high energy prices through projects like Keystone XL, remove government barriers to job growth, and stop Washington from spending money we don’t have. President Obama has shown what doesn’t work; now it’s time to try something we know will: getting the government out of the way of families and small businesses.”
What Boehner and his GOP cronies refuse to confront is that it's austerity, not government that's the problem here. Conservative Austerity policies have sacrificed 611,000 jobs-- almost 200,000 of which were educators-- and former McCain advisor Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, says “The job losses at state and local governments is the most serious weight on the job market." The kind of "Free" Trade outsourcing of American jobs that stand at the center of conservative trade policies being pushed by the entire GOP and half the Democrats, isn't helping either. Passing a substantive infrastructure plan and lowering the trade deficit are anathema to DC's Conservative Consensus. Romney's own campaign pins were made in China. Small potatoes? On the surface, sure... but not in the context of his clear record as an outsourcer and someone who creates jobs in China, not America.
People who don't pick who to vote for based on partisan identification, often cite Romney's supposed abilities as a "job creator" as a reason why they're seriously considering voting for him. Nothing could be further from the truth-- as Rick Santorum was only too glad to point out (see the video at the bottom of the post). Multimillionaire investor Nick Hanauer well knows that inherited wealth, like Romney's does not create risk-takers, just greed-obsessed conservative predators:
Risk-taking? These guys aren't risk-takers. Think of the founders of Google. They came from middle-class families and went to Stanford. Short of inheriting the crown of England, there's nobody in this life less exposed to risk than a Stanford Ph.D. in computer science. They had a business idea. They didn't put up their own money. They used other people's money-- venture capital. And the venture capital company wasn't using its own money either. They were investing other people's money too-- and taking fees of 2% on principal and 20% of profits for their trouble. You know the only people at risk in this deal? The teachers and university professors whose pension money would have been lost if the business had failed. Pension funds and insurance companies: they're the source of almost all our domestic investible funds. It's the middle-class and working-class people whose wages go into those funds who are at risk, not the rich-- and especially not a chop shop like Bain, where they buy a company, lever it up, charge huge fees, and then sell the parts.
Tomorrow, French voters seem poised to say "Non!" to the same failed Austerity plans that are the basis of Romney's economic vision for America. U.K. voters already did it Thursday, when they dealt Conservative David Cameron a stunning political blow in every part of the U.K.
Romney is banking on being able to hoodwink nervous, low information American voters into thinking his shady business dealings and ability to earn a great deal of money by wheeling and dealing can somehow be interpreted as competence that will translate to job growth.
Central to that argument is the premise of Romney’s whole candidacy: That you can run American like a corporation, and that Romney’s experience has left him with an understanding of the economy that automatically translates into an ability to create jobs as a public official.
No one is supposed to mention that he already was a public official-- a failed one term governor who left office hated by the whole state.
"His favorability was basically a straight line down from his honeymoon," said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University's Political Research Center and a longtime Massachusetts pollster. "Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt." [...]
Romney entered the Massachusetts State House in January 2003 with a flashy favorability rating of 61 percent.... By November 2004, voters were souring, and a Suffolk poll found his favorable rating had dropped to 47 percent... By November 2006, as he closed out his increasingly absentee term, his overall job approval rating had cratered to 36 percent.
Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political science professor, put it this way: "To know Mitt Romney is to dislike him. That is the moral of the story."
Maybe he looks better in hindsight? No, Romney's former constituents still don't like him and still don't want him to be president.
David Corn, in Mother Jones, goes into how silly and unfounded this notion is based on the facts around Romney's inability to confront truth and his distinct penchant for twisting reality into self-serving misinterpretations.
On the campaign trail, Romney touts his corporate credentials and argues he knows what's best for the ailing US economy. That's certainly fair play. But he has continuously accused Obama of not understanding the nation or its economy (while apologizing for the country overseas) and of desiring to turn the United States into a European-style state where poverty will spread. To level such an indictment credibly, it helps to toss out facts-- or what seem to be facts. By charging Obama with a power grab that will place government in control of half of the economy, Romney positions himself as a savior for those voters who believe (maybe because of Romney's own demagoguery) that Obama is running amok and threatening the fundamental nature of the nation.
This claim was a supersize stretch of the truth. Yet nothing prevented Romney from making good use of it, for in this political culture there is often little, if any, penalty to be paid for hurling such reality-defying rhetoric. One can only wonder how big the whoppers will get by November.
So... Mr. Santorum got to know Mr. Romney and his record pretty well over the months. Here's a good summary of what he thinks about the Mitt who would be president of job creation: