By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Jobs, jobs, jobs; it’s a good vote-getting gimmick that Republicans have latched onto. Haley Barbour used it to ride into office in 2003. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is using it now – promising to create 12 million jobs.
It may be a winning game plan at election time – but the outcomes from job promises by GOP candidates in the past six decades tell a different story when job creation figures are totaled.
First, Barbour’s story.
He hammered Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove for failing to provide a better climate to attract business, blaming him for the loss of 30,000 jobs in the 2001-02 recession. Barbour led Mississippians to believe that as a corporate lobbyist he had contacts with the captains of industry who would invest in the state and bring thousands of jobs.
However, when he left office in January 2012, after an eight-year stint, Barbour’s job creation record was far less than an impressive. The August edition of “Mississippi’s Business” published by the public universities’ research center, showed that when Barbour left office the state had lost 76,600 jobs since February 2008. During Barbour’s entire gubernatorial reign, Mississippi’s unemployment rate remained above the nation’s.
Now comes along the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket contending it will reverse Democratic President Obama’s job-losing record – the kind of turn-around they say Republicans are good at, much better than Democrats.
However, that’s not what the findings show in a study by Millsaps College Professor Robert McElvaine.
McElvaine, in a post on the New York Times’ website – using figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – shows Republican administrations have not done as well in job creation the past 64 years as Democratic administrations during that period. His study includes administrations from President Harry Truman through President George W. Bush.
During 36 years of Republican administrations, McElvaine finds, 36.2 million new jobs were created, 1.0 million per year. During the 28 years of Democratic administrations, his report shows, 57.5 million new jobs were created, an average of 2.05 million per year. Translate: twice as many jobs have been created under Democrats as Republicans.
Also using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Millsaps professor shows what happened in job creation under George W. Bush and President Obama. Rather than Obama being a job-killer as GOP vice-presidential candidate Ryan has implied, McElvaine shows that there was an average monthly loss of 417,000 jobs in the last 18 month period shaped by Bush’s economic program from the beginning of 2008 until the middle of 2009 when Obama’s stimulus package kicked in.
Comparatively over the most recent 18 months of the Obama Administration, the statistics show approximately 2.8 million jobs have been added for a monthly job gain of 155,000.
While the Obama Administration job numbers show the country is making slow recovery from the “Great Recession” that began before Bush left office, even Obama economists concede that job growth now must be faster for the nation to fully recover. Unfortunately, Mississippi is not among the states in recent months showing higher growth. In fact, June statistics showed Mississippi was one of only three states in decline.
Mitt Romney tells us he coming to the rescue, the money manager, venture capitalist promising to create 12 million jobs. That’s not what venture capitalists do. Downsizing companies, to get along with fewer workers. That’s what they do.
Bill Minor has covered Mississippi politics since 1947. Contact him through Ed Inman at email@example.com.