A Severely Weak Economy Under Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney’s main justification for running for president is his experience Bain Capital and supposed ability to turn the economy around. As it turns out, that was also his main justification when he was running for governor of Massachusetts in 2002.
How’d that work out for Massachusetts? Not very well.
ThinkProgress’ Travis Waldron rounds up five damning facts about Romney’s stewardship of the Massachusetts economy:
1. Ranked 47th in job growth: Despite Romney’s professed expertise in creating jobs, Massachusetts ranked 47th in job growth during his time as governor. The state’s total job growth was just 0.9 percent, well behind other high-wage, high-skill economies in New York (2.7), California (4.7), and North Carolina (7.6). The national average, meanwhile, was better than 5 percent.
2. Suffered the second-largest labor force decline in the nation: Only Louisiana, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, saw a bigger decline in its labor force than Massachusetts during Romney’s tenure as governor. The US Census Bureau estimated that between July 2002 and July 2006, 222,000 more residents left Massachusetts for other states than came to it. That decline largely explains the state’s decreasing unemployment rate (from 5.6 to 4.7 percent) while Romney was in office, according to Northeastern University economics professor Andrew Sum. At the same time, the nation as a wholeadded 8 million people to the labor force.
3. Lost 14 percent of its manufacturing jobs: Massachusetts lost 14 percent of its manufacturing jobs during Romney’s time in office, according to Sum. The loss was double the rate that the nation as a whole lost manufacturing jobs. In 2004, Romney vetoed legislation that would have banned companies doing business with the state from outsourcing jobs to other countries.
4. Experienced “below average” economic growth and was “often near the bottom”: “There was not one measure where the state did well under his term in office. We were below average and often near the bottom,” Sum told the Washington Post in February. As a result, the state was more comparable to Rust Belt states like Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio than it was to other high-tech economies it typically competes with.
5. Piled on more debt than any other state: Romney left Massachusetts residents with $10,504 in per capita bond debt, the highest of any state in the nation when he left office in 2007. The state ranked second in debt as a percentage of personal income. Romney regularly omits those statistics from his Massachusetts record, instead touting the fact that he balanced the state’s budget (he was constitutionally required to do so). He wouldn’t be much different as president: his proposed tax plan adds more than $10 trillion to the national debt.
Astoundingly, the Romney campaign’s response to these facts is that Romney deserves some slack because the economy was really bad when he came into office. Here’s Romney’s senior adviser Ed Gillespie on Fox yesterday:
“This is what they’re doing, Chris,” Gillespie said. “You take the first year, which is a low base year when the governor came in and took office, because it was 50th in job creation out of all of the states, dead last … and they’re averaging out over the four years. So, they are bringing down the gains of his fourth year in office, which shows the real impact of his policies and diluting it with the first year in office.”
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent explains how ridiculously hypocritical this is:
Got it? The Romney campaign now claims that factoring in the “first year” of job losses under Romney constitutes “diluting” his record, and that the later part of his term is what we should look at to gauge the “real impact of his policies.” And yet, the Romney camp is claiming that the “real impact” of Obama’s policies should be judged by a metric thatdoes factor in the massive job losses that took place at the start of Obama’s term. The Romney camp echoed this last week in a press release.
If Gillespie were to exempt Obama’s first year in office — as he seems to want us to do for Romney — then Obama has created millions and millions of jobs.
As we discussed on Friday, President Obama has now created more than 4.3 MILLION private sector jobs and could have created more than a million more jobs if not for Republican efforts to sabotage the economy recovery.
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