So Mitt Romney has decided to end his presidential campaign the same way he started it. That is, by lying. During what his aides touted as a "major address" in Iowa Friday, Governor Romney charged that while President Obama "inherited a troubled economy," he "made the problem worse." That's the same long-debunked myth Romney used in his June 2, 2011 speech formally announcing his candidacy when he declared Obama "When he took office, the economy was in recession, and he made it worse, and he made it last longer."
But while Romney was pummeled by fact checkers last year as soon as the words first left his lips (prompting Mitt to hilariously claim for 24 hours "I didn't say things are worse; what I said was the economy hasn't turned around"), the "Obama made it worse" fraud has remained the centerpiece of his campaign. Unfortunately for Romney, the facts and the overwhelming consensus of economists - including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and John McCain's 2008 brain trust - flatly contradict Mitt's closing argument. Instead, the numbers show and the experts confirm that President Obama saved the American free-enterprise system from the abyss and averted Great Depression 2.0.
Sadly for Romney and his Republican allies, history did not begin on January 20, 2009. And the data show that President Obama didn't inherit a "troubled economy," but one literally on the brink of collapse. Obama entered office in 2009 as the Bush recession was in full swing. GDP had plummeted by a shocking 8.9 percent the previous quarter. 820,000 jobs were lost in January 2009 alone; all told 2.2 million evaporated in the three months before Obama's stimulus was passed that February. (That might explain why more than three years after he left office, Americans still blame George W. Bush for the economic calamity he bequeathed to Barack Obama.) Now, even with the difficult recovery, the U.S. has produced over 30 consecutive months of private sector job gains and a return to economic growth. And despite Romney's charge that President Obama's are "the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of polices in modern American history," the Dow Jones has jumped by 68 percent since January 20, 2009. Corporate profits are at record highs even as firms' tax burden continues to drop.
Nevertheless, Governor Romney charged in June that the President "slowed the recovery and harmed our economy," a result he called "a moral failure of tragic proportions." Sadly for his campaign's mythmaking, just 24 hours earlier, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office blew Romney's bogus claim out of the water.