GOP’s Economic All-Star Team: Mitt Romney

Our guest blogger is Brian Levine, a Senior Policy Adviser at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

romneytalks1.jpg Mitt Romney is part of tonight’s “prosperity” program at the Republican National Convention. If you got a nickel every time a pundit said Mitt Romney was strong on economic issues over the past 18 months, you might be as rich as Mitt himself by now. This bit of conventional wisdom is worth challenging.

Economists Andrew Sum and Joseph McLaughlin from Northeastern University in Boston examined the Romney era and found “a weak comparative economic performance of the state over the Romney years, one of the worst in the country.” Specifically, Sum and McLaughlin discovered that:

– Formal payroll employment in Massachusetts in 2006 was 0.5 percent below its average level in 2002, the year before Romney took office. Under Romney’s leadership, Massachusetts ranked third lowest in the nation on this job generation measure.

– Manufacturing payroll employment in Massachusetts declined by more than 14 percent during the Romney era, the third worst record in the country.

– While the number of employed people over age 16 in the United States rose by nearly 8 million during the Romney years, Massachusetts was the only state in the union that failed to post any gain in its pool of employed residents.

– Between 2002 and 2006, the median real (inflation adjusted) weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers in Massachusetts are estimated to have fallen by $10 or nearly 2 percent.

Romney was also a job-killer in the private sector. As Politico reported in January, workers’ jobs took a backseat to corporate profits during Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital:

In 1992, the firm acquired American Pad & Paper. By 1999, the year Romney left Bain, two American plants were closed, 385 jobs had been cut and the company was $392 million in debt. The next year, Ampad was forced into bankruptcy.

Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs bought Dade International for about $450 million in 1994. The firm quickly fired or relocated at least 900 workers. Over the next several years, it sunk increasingly into debt and laid off 1,000 workers. In 2002 – after Romney had left Bain – it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A 1997 buyout of LIVE Entertainment for $150 million resulted in 40 layoffs, roughly one in four of the company’s 166 workers.

Romney doesn’t bring any fresh ideas to the table. Like McCain, he believes that continuing George Bush’s failed policies is the best way to grow our economy and create jobs. So why exactly is Mitt Romney the GOP’s go-to-guy on the economy?

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