State record on jobs is no guar­an­tee as pres­i­dent

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SETH MCLAUGH­LIN

Gov. Rick Perry says that on his watch Texas has cre­ated more than 1 mil­lion jobs. Former Gov. Mitt Rom­ney touts turn­ing job losses into gains in Mas­sachusetts. Former Gov. Jon Hunts­man Jr. boasts that his job­growth cre­den­tials in Utah trump them both. But records from re­cent gov­er­nors turned pres­i­dent show it’s dif­fi­cult to re-cre­ate gu­ber­na­to­rial suc­cess on a national level.

Since 1950, not a sin­gle gov­er­nor elected pres­i­dent, a four­some that in­cludes Repub­li­can icon Ron­ald Rea­gan and Demo­cratic su­per­star Bill Clin­ton, has matched their record on job cre­ation af­ter mov­ing into the White House, ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis by The Washington Times of not sea­son­ally ad­justed em­ploy­ment data from the Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics.

The best numbers of the lot were Jimmy Carter’s, who dur­ing his sin­gle term as Ge­or­gia gov­er­nor over­saw a 14 per­cent in­crease in jobs, but the national em­ploy­ment fig­ures in­creased only 6 per­cent dur­ing his four years in the White House.

Mr. Rea­gan, Mr. Clin­ton and Ge­orge W. Bush all had a rougher go at it, with Mr. Bush scor­ing the worst. In his eight years as pres­i­dent, he didn’t come close to match­ing the 18.9 per­cent jump in jobs Texas ex­pe­ri­enced while he was gov­er­nor. U.S. job growth was less than 4 per­cent dur­ing his eight years in the White House.

An­a­lysts said they’re not sur­prised that the gu­ber­na­to­rial records didn’t trans­late on a national stage be­cause the coun­try’s em­ploy­ment health has to do with a lot more than who calls 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Ave., home.

“As gov­er­nors, you are much closely con­nected to a state and re­gional econ­omy,” said Chris­tian Dorsey, of the Eco­nomic Pol­icy In­sti­tute. “When you are do­ing some­thing as dif­fu­sive as pre­sid­ing over a national econ­omy, you don’t have many of the levers that you have in place from the state and lo­cal level. So, I think it’s cer­tainly clear that gov­er­nors and may­ors have a much greater im­pact on mov­ing the dial up and down by what they do than a pres­i­dent does through national pol­icy that of course has to be vet­ted through Congress.”

Mr. Dorsey warned that it is “just too im­pos­si­ble” to de­ci­pher what hap­pened in a par­tic­u­lar state at a par­tic­u­lar time and then to prom­ise to repli­cate it na­tion­ally.

“It’s com­par­ing not just ap­ples to oranges, but it’s com­par­ing ap­ples to all the fruit that’s avail­able in the mar­ket,” he said.

Still, with the national un­em­ploy­ment rate at 9.1 per­cent and the 2012 pres­i­den­tial race be­ing billed as a “jobs elec­tion,” the gov­er­nors and former gov­er­nors in the GOP field have used the de­bates this month to pub­licly tan­gle over the man­tle of jobs guru.

“What Amer­i­cans are look­ing for is some­one who can get this coun­try work­ing again,” Mr. Perry said. “And we put the model in place in the state of Texas. When you look at what we have done over the last decade, we cre­ated 1 mil­lion jobs in the state of Texas, [at the] same time Amer­ica lost 2 1/2 mil­lion.”

Mr. Rom­ney, mean­while, has tried to chip away at Mr. Perry’s record by ar­gu­ing he was “dealt four aces” in Texas, in the form of zero state in­come tax, rightto-work laws, a Repub­li­can Leg­is­la­ture and an abun­dance of oil in the ground.

“When I came in as gov­er­nor, cam­paign.

“I hate to rain on the pa­rade of the great Lone Star gov­er­nor, but as gov­er­nor of Utah, we were the No. 1 job cre­ator in this coun­try dur­ing my years of ser­vice, and to my good friend Mitt, 47th just ain’t go­ing to cut it, my friend, not when you can be first,” he said.

Chris Edwards, di­rec­tor of tax-pol­icy stud­ies at the lib­er­tar­ian-lean­ing Cato In­sti­tute, said he is con­cerned that Repub­li­cans will trap them­selves with a “silly dis­cus­sion about how many jobs a chief ex­ec­u­tive can cre­ate.”

“For one thing,” he said, “the Amer­i­can econ­omy is so huge

Since 1950, not a sin­gle gov­er­nor elected pres­i­dent, a four­some that in­cludes Repub­li­can icon Ron­ald Rea­gan and Demo­cratic su­per­star Bill Clin­ton, has matched their record on job cre­ation af­ter mov­ing into the White House, ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis by The Washington Times of not sea­son­ally ad­justed em­ploy­ment data from the Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics.

we were in a real free fall,” Mr. Rom­ney said in a re­cent de­bate, cast­ing him­self as a turn­around spe­cial­ist. “We were los­ing jobs ev­ery month. We had a bud­get that was way out of bal­ance. So I came into of­fice; we went to work as a team, and we were able to turn around the job losses.”

Mr. Perry has coun­tered that Mr. Rom­ney “had one of the low­est job-cre­ation rates in the coun­try.”

Then there’s Mr. Hunts­man, who is try­ing to out­flex both of those Repub­li­can ri­vals and breathe new l i fe into his and com­pli­cated. Pres­i­dents have in­flu­ence [. . .] and we’ve seen this with Obama the last few years, they can try their [best] to cre­ate jobs, but ob­vi­ously, the econ­omy has a mind of its own.”

He said the re­cent fight over the last­ing im­pact of the pres­i­dent’s eco­nomic-stim­u­lus pack­age, with Repub­li­cans call­ing it an ut­ter fail­ure and Democrats claim­ing it pre­vented an­other deep de­pres­sion, shows the dif­fi­culty of mix­ing pol­i­tics and eco­nomics.

“The prob­lem with eco­nomics is that ul­ti­mately it is not phys­i­cal sci­ence,” he said. “It is not ab­so­lutely prov­able or not.”

Pre­vi­ous gov­er­nors turned pres­i­dent learned that the econ­omy does in­deed have a mind of its own.

Mr. Rea­gan presided over a 23 per­cent in­crease in em­ploy­ment dur­ing his eight years in the Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor’s man­sion and then a 15 per­cent in­crease dur­ing his eight years in Washington.

It was a sim­i­lar story for Mr. Clin­ton, who ran the show in Arkansas for about 12 years and saw the state’s work­force grow by 28.5 per­cent, though it rose less than 19 per­cent dur­ing his eight years in the White House.

Mr. Bush, though, had the big­gest drop, gov­ern­ing over a 3.75 per­cent in­crease dur­ing his two terms as pres­i­dent.

Asked why Mr. Rom­ney thinks he can repli­cate on the national level what he says he did on the state level, spokes­woman An­drea Saul said her boss has a “a proven record, not just in one state.”

She pointed to his ex­pe­ri­ence help­ing lead “suc­cess­ful” turn­arounds of Bain & Co., the Salt Lake Win­ter Olympics in 2002 and then in Mas­sachusetts.

“He took of­fice in the midst of a re­ces­sion and presided over a re­ver­sal in the state’s for­tunes as well.”

Hunts­man spokesman Tim Miller said state and national em­ploy­ment are based on the same skills that helped him strengthen the numbers in Utah.

“The same fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples are in place when cre­at­ing an environment for job growth: com­pet­i­tive tax code, get­ting the reg­u­la­tory mon­key off the back of small busi­ness and at­tract­ing cap­i­tal.”

Mr. Perry’s camp did not re­spond.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.