You knew (or at least HOPED) that, eventually, someone in the mainstream media would look into Mitt Romney’s claim that his “plan” would create 12 million new jobs. Well, someone, i.e. the Washington Post, finally did.
It ain’t pretty.
Romney claims he’ll generate 3 million new jobs from his energy “plan”, 7 million from his $5 trillion tax cut, and 2 million from “cracking down” on China.
The Post gives him a full four Pinocchios. It’s possible they would have given him more but four is the highest that they give.
First, they point out that Moody’s Analytics has already predicted that 12 million jobs will be created in the next four years no matter WHO is elected. So, basically, President Obama could, theoretically, go out on the stump and say that HIS plan will create 12 million new jobs, too. It would actually be more accurate because his plan is the one that’s already operational.
But the author of the piece, Glenn Kessler, goes much deeper than that.
But the specifics — 7 million plus 3 million plus 2 million — mentioned by Romney in the ad are not in the white paper. So where did that come from?
We asked the Romney campaign, and the answer turns out to be: totally different studies … with completely different timelines.
For instance, the claim that 7 million jobs would be created from Romney’s tax plan is a 10-year number, derived from a study written by John W. Diamond, a professor at Rice University.
[T]he 3-million-jobs claim for Romney’s energy policies appears largely based on a Citigroup Global Markets study that did not even evaluate Romney’s policies. Instead, the report predicted 2.7 million to 3.6 million jobs would be created over the next eight years, largely because of trends and policies already adopted — including tougher fuel efficiency standards that Romney has criticized and suggested he would reverse.
The 2-million-jobs claim from cracking down on China is also very suspicious.
This figure comes from a 2011 International Trade Commission report, which estimated that there could be a gain of 2.1 million jobs if China stopped infringing on U.S. intellectual property rights. The estimate is highly conditional and pegged to the job market in 2011, when there was high unemployment. “It is unclear when China might implement the improvement in IPR protection envisioned in the analysis, and equally unclear whether the United States will face as much excess labor supply then as it does today,” the report says.
The Romney campaign has already used this study, in a misleading way, to claim that Obama’s China “policies cost us 2 million jobs.” Now the campaign has just taken the same figure and credited the claimed job gain to itself, even though the report does not examine any of Romney’s proposed policies.
The only remaining question, I guess, is which category Romney’s claim fits into? Is a lie, a damn lie, or a statistic? If Mitt Romney said it, statistically speaking, it’s a damn lie.
[For those of you who don’t understand the “ruh roh, Raggy” and “Zoinks!” references, please accept my condolences for having missed out on the coolness that was Scooby Doo.]