Why Romney Shouldn’t Let Former Bush Economists Issue Statements On Jobs Day

Our guest blogger is Gadi Dechter, Managing Director of Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Faced with an inconveniently robust jobs report today, the Romney campaign trotted out economic adviser Glenn Hubbard to pooh-pooh it. But Hubbard, a supply-side economist who was George W. Bush’s first chief economist and the architect of the Bush tax cuts, is an odd choice for this assignment, since any criticism he makes is undermined by the clear failure of his own policies in comparison with those deployed by Obama.

“Today’s unemployment numbers only further underscore the fact that President Obama has failed to fulfill his promise to the restore the strength of our economy,” said Hubbard in a statement released after the Labor Department showed unexpectedly strong October gains of 171,000 new jobs, and upward revisions for jobs created in August and September.

But if the Obama recovery, described by the New York Times today as showing “persistent economic growth,” is a failure, how would Hubbard describe the performance of the U.S. economy when he was whispering economic advice into the president’s ear — as he apparently hopes to do again?

It’s been 45 months since Obama took office. In that time, the U.S. economy has created a net 759,000 private-sector jobs, compared with a loss of 1.2 million private-sector jobs during Bush’s first 45 months.

Perhaps it’s fairer to compare the two presidents — both of whom inherited recessionary economies — on their job-creation track records once economic recovery set in. It’s been 40 months since the Obama recovery began in June 2009. Since then, the U.S. economy has created 3.8 million private-sector jobs. That compares with just 1.5 million private-sector jobs created 40 months after the Bush recovery started in November 2001.

Mitt Romney also weighed in today with a logic-defying assessment of the good October jobs report, calling it proof that the economy is “at a virtual standstill.” Standstill means “absence of motion or progress,” though by last month’s measure the economy is now producing more than two-thirds of the new jobs it needs to be on pace to hit 12 million jobs over four years, which is Romney’s own goal.

Does the economy need to grow faster in order to bring down the unemployment rate? Yes. But it’s clearly not at a standstill and it’s not a failure, especially when you consider Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression. This is an economic recovery gaining steam.