Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jobs: "Who's to blame for early 2009?" (with chart)


Steve Benen via The Maddow Blog:
By carefully manipulating statistics, Mitt Romney and his campaign are pushing a wildly misleading claim this week about job creation in the Obama era. But there's a larger analytical point that shouldn't get lost in the shuffle: who deserves the blame for the job losses in early 2009?

Greg Sargent noted yesterday that Romney, as part of his new con, "relies on a net overall job loss calculation that uses January 2009 as a starting point." Since President Obama didn't take office until Jan. 20, 2009, and hadn't implemented any economic policies in his first 11 days, blaming Obama for the month's job losses seems ridiculous by any fair standard.

Greg added, "But here's the thing about this. Romney's use of the basic fallacy on display here goes well beyond this one claim about women. It's central to virtually his entire case against Obama's economic record."

Quite right -- when we start the clock makes all the difference. Romney argued two weeks ago, for example, "Since Barack Obama became president, over 800,000 Americans have lost their jobs." The presumptive Republican nominee called it a "basic fact" -- take all the jobs lost, measure against all the jobs gained, and Obama is still hundreds of thousands of jobs in the hole.

Or is he? Consider this new chart I put together (see chart above).

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