Did you hear the one about how our economic problems started 40 months ago when President Obama was sworn into office? If not, you weren’t listening to Mitt Romney on CNBC shortly before 1:00 PM ET.
Romney said today’s jobs report was “devastating” and “very bad news for the American people,” which is to be expected. But he went beyond that, repeatedly claiming that the economy didn’t nosedive until the beginning of President Obama’s first term, 40 months ago.
“This crisis has been going on for 40 months,” Romney said. “We should be well into a very robust recovery by now.”
Romney’s 40 month claim is as absurd as it is false.
First, things didn’t start to get bad 40 months ago—the recession started in December of 2007—54 months ago. The economy was in free fall when President Obama took office. Romney (with his patented Romnesia) wants us to forget about that, but the fact is that the economy fell off the cliff during the Bush presidency. It ended in June of 2009, six months after President Obama took office.
Second, even though the last couple of months have seen weak jobs growth, the fact is that we’ve had 27 straight months of private sector job growth. More than 4.2 million private sector jobs have been created during that span, putting Obama’s overall private sector job growth record in the positive territory—unlike George W. Bush.
But despite the fact that the recession actually started 54 months ago—under George W. Bush—and despite the fact that private sector jobs have gone up for 27 straight months—under President Obama—Mitt Romney’s self-serving “analysis” is that this whole mess started 40 months ago.
And based on that self-serving analysis, Romney says the only cure is to put him the Oval Office. “Probably the most significant thing we can do in the near term is to get a new president.” I guess that’s true—if you want to return to the very same policies that tanked the economy in the first place.