Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for Obama’s reelection effort, seems more a character out of fiction than a real person. A high-octane spokesman, she is willing to say anything to win the 30-second sound byte cycle. She will lie, contradict herself and make up stats on the fly to get through any single cable news appearance. Its something real people, with a credibility gene, wouldn’t do. Fortunately, she’s a Democrat, so the media will never really hold her statements to account.
Yesterday, Cutter appeared on MSNBC and was asked about Obama’s economic record. She claimed that Obama’s “recovery” had created 4.5 million private sector jobs. She went on to claim that Obama has created more jobs than Reagan.
I realize media fact-checkers will be reluctant to dig into Cutter’s statement, so I’ll save them the effort. Her statement is false. It isn’t true. Hell, its not even on the same continent as the truth.
When Obama took office, the US was officially emerging out of a recession. The country suffered a severe recession during the first two years of Reagan’s first term, as the Fed took steps to wring inflation out of the economy.
Both men were facing very tough economic climates. Reagan responded with, first, across the board tax cuts and, after reelection, comprehensive tax reform. Obama responded by borrowing a huge pot of money and throwing it at state and local governments, renewable energy fantasies and other boondoggles and a smattering of minor tax breaks. Oh, and a new entitlement, regulations and a promise of higher taxes. In response, the economy under Reagan surged and added almost 17 million jobs during his tenure. Under Obama it has, at best, limped along.
When Obama took office, there were 142 million people employed. Last month, there were 142.2 million people employed. A tad under 200,000 more people have jobs today than had them when Obama was sworn in. (but the population has grown 35%) In January 2009, 11.6 million people were unemployed. Today, 12.7 million are unemployed.
Those numbers are bad enough, but they are abysmal when you factor in population growth. We’ve added almost 10 million working age adults to the population since January 2009. The only thing keeping our unemployment rate from double-digits is that millions of people have simply given up. Since Obama took office, over 7 million people left the labor force. If the same number of adults today were in the workforce as in 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11%.
If you torture statistics long enough, they will confess to anything. But nothing in Obama’s economic record supports even the most partisan spin of the numbers. Saying that Obama’s recovery has added more jobs than Reagan’s is pure fantasy. It is simply a made up talking point. If I were to read that in a political novel, I would shake my head thinking that, in real life, no one would have the audacity to make such a blatantly false claim. But, sadly, an objective media is the stuff of fiction today, too.