Romney Blasts Obama Jobs Report
May 6, 2012
Hammering President Barack Obama on April’s jobs report, GOP presidential nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took off the gloves, dismissing the nation’s 8.1% unemployment rate. Remarking about the Labor Department’s most recent report about the nation adding 115,000 non-farm jobs, Romney said it’s “not a cause for celebration.” Romney remained silent in 2008 when the nation shed over 200,000 jobs a month, losing over 7 million jobs by June 2010. After a little more than a year in office, Obama and his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner implemented policies that have now restored over half the jobs lost during the Great Recession. While Romney complained about April’s numbers, he said almost nothing in March when the Labor Department reported only 60,000 jobs. To highlight Obama’s anemic economy, Romney insisted the nation should add 500,000 jobs a month.
Romney doesn’t give Obama credit for helping the country crawl out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan called the 2008 financial meltdown one of the four great financial panics in the nation’s history, including the financial panic of 1907 that led to the creation of the Federal Reserve Board. Former President Bill Clinton remarked that economic recoveries after great financial upheavals take between five and 10 years. Romney’s claim that the nation’s unemployment rate should be around 4% completely ignores what happened over the last five years. Romney’s campaign is built on putting positive economic news in a bad light. Whatever progress under Obama, Romney talks about how much more is possible. Romney wants 4% unemployment and to add 500,000 jobs a month but doesn’t say how to get there.
Sitting in the armchair, Romney hopes to skew perception of hard Labor Department facts pointing to economic recovery. While everyone wants more, Romney paints a dire picture of the U.S. economy. Trashing the jobs report at a Concrete factory in Pittsburgh, Romney twisted the numbers, telling his audience they don’t represent all the uncounted folks, making the unemployment rate even higher. Whether it’s a Democratic or Republican president, unemployment numbers are always undercounted. Romney says that unemployment figure over 4% is no cause for celebration, something not seen since the Clinton administration. Blaming today’s168 point drop on the jobs report plays fast-and-loose with the facts. Romney, a former CEO of Bain Capital, knows that routine profit-taking often accounts for stock market sell-offs, not only Labor Department stats.
Any piece of bad economic news Romney wants to pin on Obama. He knows that Obama has nothing to do with sovereign debt problems in the Eurozone, perhaps ending Sunday French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency and forcing Greece out of Eurozone. Romney jumped all over Obama’s treatment of a Chinese dissident that threatened to wreck Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s economic summit in Beijing. Romney said Obama tossed 40-year-old anti-forced-abortion and sterilization activist Chen Guangcheng under the bus. Romney knows that giving Chen refuge in the U.S. embassy or political asylum threatened high-stakes summitry and also essential Chinese cooperation in the U.N. Security Council. Blasting Obama on foreign or domestic policy doesn’t say what Romney would do differently, if anything.
Today’s Labor Department report shows the nation’s jobs picture remains sluggish, despite the Fed’s historically low interest rates. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, taking the Dow Jones Industrials down below 8,000, former President George W. Bush and his Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson blamed sub-prime mortgages for the collapse of the housing industry. Bush’s 2005-2008 housing bubble paralleled Clinton’s inflated stock market in the late ‘90s. When it comes to inflated values: What goes up must come down. Bush officials pointed fingers on unqualified homeowners, rather than reckless derivative trading by major financial institutions. By anyone’s measures—other than Romney—the economy has come a long way back from the dog days of 2009-10, when unemployment soared. Whether or not Romney wants of celebrate, the Labor Department’s stats don’t lie.
Talking about 4% unemployment and adding 500,000 jobs, Romney went over the top bashing today’s Labor Department report. While there’s still work to be done, the economy’s in better shape today than when Obama took the reigns from Bush January 20, 2009. Recovering from financial panics—as Greenspan and Clinton point out—doesn’t happen overnight. Unless Romney can point specifically to what he’d do differently, his hyperbole could boomerang, as voters see him bashing Obama without substance. Long-term investors know there’s no reason for panic when Wall Street takes profits. Whether or not Wall Street gets what it wants in good economic news, markets look poised to rise between now and the election. Romney can blame Obama all he wants. Voters know their portfolios are up about 70% from the days when the young president took office.
About the AuthorJohn M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma
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