According to CNN.com,
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney repeated his campaign line that President Obama has made the economy worse in New Hampshire Monday, a sentiment that has received criticism from those on the left and independent fact-checkers.
“The recession is deeper because of our president, it’s seen an anemic recovery because of our president,” Romney said after a July 4th parade in Amherst.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party quickly jumped on the “debunked” claim that they said “has been central to his campaign message.”
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, as pointed out by the Washington Post, the recession officially ended in June 2009.
Let’s examine this “debunked” claim. The recovery has been the slowest of the last fifty years (see nifty graph here) and payroll employment is 5% lower than when the recession began forty-one months ago. Unemployment in June 2009, the end of the recession, was 9.5% (up from 9.4% in May 2009); it has dropped to 9.1%.
So what is the problem? What are these “fact-checkers” asserting? A change from a 9.5% unemployment rate to a 9.1% unemployment rate is a robust recovery? The non-shovel-ready $278,000 per job stimulus made things better? The passage of ObamaCare increased employment? Do they disagree with former professor of economics Phil Gramm’s assertion that, “If we had recovered at the rate we recovered from the 1982 recession — and I remind you we had a little bit higher unemployment then than we had in this recession — we would have 15 million more jobs today and per-capita income in real terms would be $4,000 higher”? That the “unexpected” nature of the double-dip in housing prices somehow means that housing prices are not still declining? Do they take seriously the allegations that gasoline going down to a mere $3.50 a gallon will stimulate the economy more than when gas was $1.75 a gallon?
Kudos to Romney for not backing down; he is entirely correct. Maybe the former Governor grew a spine and a political orientation, and is hammering Obama because Obama should be hammered for his anti-business, anti-growth, big-government policies. Maybe Romney is still testing the political winds, and knows that 9.1% unemployment and $4 per gallon gasoline means that the vast majority of the electorate is hurting or knows someone who is hurting, Obama-spin aside. Either way, this blogger can’t help but think that the “fact-checkers” and pundits are only damaging their own credibility in this battle, which is a good thing.