Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on CNBC this morning to bash President Obama for supposedly not having a clear plan to create jobs. But when hosts Erin Burnett and Mark Haines pressed Steele to present an alternative, all he could offer were predictable Republican talking points like, “Don’t trust the government to get it done.” When Burnett pressed again, asking, “What specifically is the Republican Party going to offer?” Steele simply continued attacking Obama, adding that we should “trust” job creators, like Wall Street.
Steele then suggested that we return to the failed economic polices of President Bush, because, Steele said, Bush “created a lot of jobs.” Haines, obviously stunned by the remark, exclaimed, “Beg your pardon?”:
STEELE: George Bush created a lot of jobs.
HAINES: Beg your pardon?
STEELE: I think there were jobs created in the eight years that George Bush was in office.
HAINES: No I’m sorry, you’re mistaken. [...]
STEELE: I think jobs were created. I’m almost confident about that. And I think the markets reflect that. [...]
HAINES: So, did the Lehman blow up and all, that didn’t happen on Bush’s watch? … You were talking about the markets. The markets tanked. [...]
While Steele is “almost confident” that Bush created jobs, the facts disagree. As the Wall Street Journal noted in the last month of Bush’s term — in an article that Burnett references on air while fact checking Steele — Bush’s job data “shows the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records.” A paltry 1 million jobs were created under Bush; that’s “a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under President Bill Clinton’s administration.” Even President Carter — who conservatives love to cite as the paragon of poor economic management, and who only served one term — created 10.5 million jobs. That’s more than three times as many jobs as Bush, in half as much time. More jobs may be created under Obama in this year alone than in Bush’s eight.
The Journal article doesn’t even account for the jobs lost after it was published due to Bush’s economic policy, and before President Obama’s began to take effect, as this chart demonstrates:
As Haines tells Steele, “we tried” Bush’s economic plan, and “we wound up with a disaster.” Indeed, Bush’s supply side economics “fostered the weakest jobs and income growth in more than six decades,” along with “sluggish business investment and weak gross domestic product growth,” the Center for American Progress’ Joshua Picker noted. Meanwhile, the Bush years saw an additional 8.3 million people fall below the poverty line. “On every major measurement” of income, “the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms,” the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein observed, citing Census data.
The American public disagrees with Steele as well. More Americans continue to blame Bush, rather than Obama, for the country’s current economic woes, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.
At the end of the interview, after Steele delivers his laughably vague “plan” to “take the billions of dollars we’re spending on government intrusion into the markets and turn it over to the capitalist,” Kernan concludes, “You must be used to, like, buying time and speaking without interruption.”