I suppose a number of different titles would accomplish the same goal, with a little less snark, but it’s Monday. Candidate Romney and the men behind the mannequin have come up with another whooper:
“We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.”
“Anything over 8 percent, anything near 8 percent, anything over 4 percent, is not a cause for celebration…”
Whenever people tell me that all politicians are liars, it is my standard practise to remind them that we Americans don’t like electing folks who tell us the truth. The truth isn’t inspirational, the truth is rarely a Disney movie, the truth is usually the point farthest from our best vision of the nation. But Romney continues to get a free pass on the most blatant suggestions in this campaign, regularly stretching the truth about the economy and national defense. In light of his tendency to turn his two pound trout into 500 pound catfish, let’s do what all responsible voters should, and put his suggestions into context.
Saint Ronny the Gipper never saw 4% unemployment during “Morning in America”; he finished at 5.4% in January of 1989 after seeing 5.3% for the two preceding months. Let us also remember that he started with 7.4% unemployment in February of 1981, and saw it climb to 10.8% almost two full years after taking office. The February 2009 number that our current White House resident was greeted with was 8.3%. He took office at the end of January 2009, and the first full month of his Presidency saw an unemployment rate of 8.3%. Unemployment now stands at 8.1%. That is, for the math-deficient, 0.2% of a percent lower than it was when President Obama got started. Now, we don’t like 100,000-200,000 jobs created per month…it isn’t fast enough, but it beats the pants off of the last guy’s record.
(A note for those of you who insist that the seasonal adjustment is a political massage…the adjustment has been negative the last two months.)
But surely there is someone who generated 4% unemployment…right? You bet, and his name is William Jefferson Clinton, who inherited a 7.4% number from George H.W. Bush, and handed his son a 4.2%. W. only managed to, even after excluding the results of the Bush Recession (summer 2007-summer 2009), add 66,000 jobs per month. In my opinion, 66,000 is substantially lower than 500,000, although Clinton managed to get close to that number. In the last three decades, the only president to preside over unemployment numbers lower than 5% was a Democrat who did it after he raised taxes. In fact, during 49 of the last 50 months of Clinton tenure (with all of them coming after the tax increase), this nation’s unemployment stood at less than 5%.
So Romney’s whopper wasn’t as bad as it originally looked. It is still a stretch to be sure, but only if Mitt wins in November and becomes a born-again liberal. Who knows, if there is anyone capable of a flip-flop that big, it is the man who passed ObamaCare in Massachusetts.
The Rational Middle is listening…