President Obama and his media supporters tell us his jobs policies are a success and thus he deserved reelection. But measured against either the historical record or the standard set by his own promises and projections his jobs record is a failure.
To put the best spin on the Obama jobs record his campaign and his media allies disregard the job losses during each of Obama’s first 13 months and begin counting at month 14. [continued below the chart]The chart above compares Obama’s best 32 months with the first 32 months of every previous post-recession period of job growth over the past sixty years. Each line on the chart starts a the first month of job growth after a 9 – 26 month period of recessionary job losses.
It’s true, as the media constantly remind us, that Obama inherited a deep recession with hundreds of thousands of job losses every month. But it’s not true that “his policies,” including the largest surge in government borrowing and spending since mobilization for World War II, should be judged a success just because job losses ended and a period of job growth began.
Every previous period of job losses resolved to a new era of job growth, no matter who was President and no matter what policies the government pursued. After every previous recession over the last sixty years the subsequent era of economic growth and job growth was stronger than what we’ve experienced under President Obama.
The Reagan recovery of the 1980s, at the top of the chart, resulted from economic strategies that were exactly the opposite of those pursued by Obama and the Democrats in Congress.
Note that the 1958-61 recovery fizzled out and became a double dip recession but was still better than we’ve seen in the most recent 32 months. The 1991-93 jobs recovery began very slowly but eventually accelerated to a rate that exceeded the 2010-12 rate.
Obama’s January 2009 message describing his audacious plan to borrow and spend $860 billion over and above the government’s already bloated budget on “stimulus” or his so-called recovery act, is still here at Change.gov, the Administration’s transition website. Here’s an excerpt:
I’ve taken the extraordinary step of working – even before I take office – with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will call for major investments to revive our economy, create jobs, and lay a solid foundation for future growth.
I asked my nominee for Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Christina Romer, and the Vice President-Elect’s Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Jared Bernstein, to conduct a rigorous analysis of this plan and come up with projections of how many jobs it will create – and what kind of jobs they will be…
The report confirms that our plan will likely save or create three to four million jobs.
The report, still posted on the Change.gov website here invoked Keynesian economic theories to explain how the now infamous “stimulus” or Recovery Plan would cause increased economic growth and create millions of jobs. It included projections – that looked like promises – of specific numbers of jobs to be created as a result of the massive borrowing and spending.
Those projections and the actual jobs results are displayed in the chart above, showing that, against the standard of his own promises, Obama’s jobs record is a failure.