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December 23, 2011 10:40 AM Romney’s limited understanding of ‘jobs’

By Steve Benen

Mitt Romney seems to think his strongest issue in a general-election race against President Obama is jobs. I’d argue he has that backwards.

In an interview with TIME Magazine’s Mark Halperin, Romney said, “I know that the Democrats will try and make this a campaign about Bain Capital…. 25 million people are out of work because of Barack Obama. And so I’ll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs.”

“I’ll compare that record with his record, where he has not created any new jobs.”

This detachment from reality fascinates me, so let’s unwrap the argument.

First, the confused former governor believes 25 million people are out of work “because of Barack Obama.” If Romney can explain why Obama is to blame for a recession that began in 2007, I’d love to hear it. For that matter, the economy lost 3.6 million jobs in 2008 — the year before the president took office. How exactly is Obama responsible for that, too?

Second, Romney now claims to have created “over 100,000 jobs” at his vulture-capitalist firm. Romney also appears to have made this number up out of whole cloth. Indeed, two weeks ago, when Romney’s Super PAC ran an ad claiming he “helped create thousands of jobs” as CEO at Bain, Super PAC officials were asked to back that up with evidence. They refused.

Third, it’s remarkable that Romney is only willing to compare his “experience in the private sector.” What about when Romney was willing to put his experience to work in the public sector, during his one term as governor of Massachusetts? Romney doesn’t want to talk about it for a reason — his state’s record on job creation was “one of the worst in the country,” ranking 47th out of 50 states in job growth. It’s one of the reasons Romney left office after one term deeply unpopular, and why his former constituents don’t want him near the White House.

And fourth, Obama “has not created any new jobs”? The ease with which Romney lies continues to be disconcerting.

With one month remaining this year, the U.S. private sector has now added 1.67 million jobs in 2011, well ahead of last year’s private-sector total of 1.2 million, and the best year for businesses since 2006. Since March 2010, American businesses have created 2.9 million jobs.

I’d encourage Romney to consider this chart showing private-sector job growth by month since the Great Recession began…

…and this chart showing private-sector job growth by year over the last two decades (and 2011 isn’t over yet).

Reporters really need to brush up on this stuff. When Romney lies to their face — which seems to happen just about every day — they should be able to push back with reality.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • bob h on December 23, 2011 10:43 AM:

    It is a sad comment that Halperin could not have pointed out this to Romney himself.

  • stormskies on December 23, 2011 10:53 AM:

    Mark Halperin couldn't point our any actual facts to buffoon Romney because he simply had his recorder on while Romney peddled his lies while he was bent over, pants down, squeaking 'harder' ......

  • martin on December 23, 2011 11:04 AM:

    Of course, on the planet where republicans live, the Government can't create jobs, only destroy them. Since Obama is part of the Gov't, he cannont have created any jobs, therefore Romney wins by default.

    And pigs fly.

  • Unabogie on December 23, 2011 11:05 AM:

    Halperin isn't even trying to pretend anymore, is he? In which case why would he push back on Romney when the sole purpose of the interview was to give Romney a chance to lie with impunity?

  • AL on December 23, 2011 11:14 AM:

    Halperin CANNOT push back if he wants to stay in business.

    If he does, he won't get to interview Romney next time, or any other GOP candidate.

    And for journalists, access is their lifeline, which will always trump accuracy.

  • Dan on December 23, 2011 11:14 AM:

    You want Mark Halperin to call Romney a liar to his face? MARK HALPERIN? Halperin has had his nose so far up Romney's butt all year long, why would he stop now?

  • nerd on December 23, 2011 11:15 AM:

    Do reporters deal in facts any more? I think they used to. But now they just seem to repeat whatever the Right tells them.

    To be fair I have been hearing more lately that it is Republicans, not the nebulous "Congress", that have been unwilling to vote for the tax holiday, but I figure that we'll go back to the "no accountability" reporting soon. By "no accountability" I mean that the people who are actually accountable can be secure in the knowledge that no one will hold them accountable.

  • John Dillinger on December 23, 2011 11:31 AM:

    It really doesn't pay to push back hard on this stuff now, as anything the President's people could say would just get lost in the primary coverage. But once Willard wraps up the nomination, I expect the Obama people to respond long and loud to this stuff. When there is no primary race to cover, I would hope the media to look to then look to Romney to try to better explain his statements.

  • Bo on December 23, 2011 11:42 AM:

    Mittens likes to skate on thin ice apparently. The 2012 presidential election is beginning to look like a "walk-over" for Obama. Nothing but weak sisters on the GOP side of the ledger . . . and Mittens is amongst the weakest of him.
    Besides his Bain experience, Mittens likes to also boast about saving the Salt Lake City Olympics and points to it as part of his "private business leadership" success. Of course, what he doesn't talk about is that the funding to "save" the SLC Olympics came primarily from the same Federal government that he likes to complain about.

  • Robert on December 23, 2011 11:58 AM:

    "Reporters really need to brush up on this stuff. When Romney lies to their face which seems to happen just about every day they should be able to push back with reality."

    Are we relying on "professional journalists" to do this clearly needed push back? Perhaps there are none left. See my comment in the discussion of politifact's "lie of the year" below.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on December 23, 2011 12:10 PM:

    "And so I'll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs."

    Being ignorant in the jargon of vulture capitalism, I had to look up what "net-net" means.

    From Investopedia:

    Definition of 'Net-Net'
    A value investing technique in which a company is valued solely on its net current assets. The net-net investing method focuses on current assets, taking cash and cash equivalents at full value, reducing accounts receivable for doubtful accounts, and reducing inventories to liquidation values. Total liabilities are then deducted from the adjusted current assets to get the company's net-net value. This method was introduced by Benjamin Graham

    Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/net-net.asp#ixzz1hNWCBKzs


    Golly, what with all those big fancy sound'n words like "value investing technique", "reducing inventories" and "liquidation values", I got lost in how jobs are supposedly created "net-net". I guess a vulture versed in the lingo would know though.

  • Grumpy on December 23, 2011 12:12 PM:

    If net job creation is the litmus test for re-electing a president, why the hell did Romney work so hard to win Bush a second term in 2004??

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on December 23, 2011 12:39 PM:

    The ease with which Romney lies continues to be disconcerting

    .

    No, what's disconcerting is the ease with which we

    accept the fact that Romney lies with ease. It must be shameful for us, as a people, to even let Romney get too cozy with his lyin' posturing.
  • Highguy on December 23, 2011 12:40 PM:

    In terms of Romney's 100,000 created jobs, he's probably including the bunch of folks he used to build the estate in San Diego.

  • Anonymous on December 23, 2011 2:25 PM:

    Mark Halperin is a whore for the Repukeliscum Party. He is there to enhance the electability of Repukeliscum, not to do anything about "truth" or other convenient fictions of Repukeliscum electability.

    Bain Capital is responsible, directly, for the loss of jobs of hundreds of thousands of people, of the bankruptcy of many companies, and of the suicides or attempted suicides of many as well. Willford Romney is to "job creation" as Attila the Hun is to surgery.

    The captha phrases are getting increasingly difficult to read. what is the point of them, anyway?

  • Menthol on December 23, 2011 3:40 PM:

    I don't like Romney and consider him totally dishonest, but I suspect he justifies this particular accusation (Obama not creating any jobs) by looking at the total job picture since Obama became president. I'm pretty sure there is still a net job loss since January of 2009. Of course this is due entirely to the fact that the economy was losing 800K jobs a month when Obama took office, but still, one could argue that in the big picture Romney is kind of sort of technically correct.

    It's still a cheap shot and fundamentally dishonest, though.

  • Thoughtcrime on December 23, 2011 5:40 PM:

    Halperin, he of "This is excellent news for John McCain" fame, push back against GOP lies?

    Yeah, right.

  • Bob Dobolina on January 06, 2012 9:27 AM:

    Note there's a dip in the chart in 2009. At a glance, it would appear those losses belong to President Obama. Keeping in mind that fiscal year 2009 began in October of 2008--four months before Obama took office--it's clear the budget and trajectory for FY2009 were set in place by the Bush administration. I'm not claiming Bush was responsible for the job losses either (presidents actually hire and fire very few people), but the massive job losses CLEARLY do not belong in the Obama column.

  • Bob Dobolina on January 06, 2012 9:28 AM:

    Note there's a dip in the chart in 2009. At a glance, it would appear those losses belong to President Obama. Keeping in mind that fiscal year 2009 began in October of 2008--four months before Obama took office--it's clear the budget and trajectory for FY2009 were set in place by the Bush administration. I'm not claiming Bush was responsible for the job losses either (presidents actually hire and fire very few people), but the massive job losses CLEARLY do not belong in the Obama column.

  • Laser Haas on January 14, 2012 8:30 PM:

    Everyone still has the gloves on when it comes to Mitt Romney.

    The big questions are Sankaty (Off Shore profits UNdisclosed)

    Stage Stores
    Jack Bush
    Michael Glazer
    Liquidity Solutions
    Kay Bee Toys
    Barry Gold
    eToys
    and
    the one connected to all of them

    PAUL TRAUB

    When those questions are popped up in msm - Romney will Fall!

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