Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Fixing “Warren Buffett Fixes Congress! Part 2”

The other day I added a post that had errors in it—Part 2 of  “Warren Buffett Fixes Congress!”. Part of the problem is that I was using an unposted draft written in response to an earlier “Buffett” email, and the data was old. But a more serious error is treating the gross national debt as just so many trillions of dollars. Today it’s maybe $16 trillion, a big scary figure, as deficit hawks and debt fanatics keep reminding us. But we can best make sense of the debt as a ratio, typically a percentage of the nation’s output, or GDP, because that tells us whether it is debt we can handle.

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The Presidential Job Creator Scorecard

So, you want to be president. Are you a job creator? Or a job destroyer?

Presidential candidates these days seem compelled to make dubious claims about opponents as “job destroyers,” compared to their own record as “job creators.”  This has been Mitt Romney’s theme song about himself and President Obama from the beginning. We can expect no less in the presidential debate this week.

Figure 1

Do presidents create jobs? Yes, indirectly, as a result of policy decisions, but how would we measure that? When Obama took office in January, 2009, jobs were in free-fall (Figure 1), with 4.4 million jobs lost since the start of the recession a year earlier, and with monthly losses stuck at their maximum of 700,000 to 800,000 through March. It wasn’t until July that the monthly drop slowed to somewhere below 300,000, reaching zero only in March, 2010, when losses turned to gains. So where does Obama’s responsibility begin? And, when he leaves office, where will it end?

These are not the only questions we must consider if we’re going to take the measure of presidential job creation since the end of World War II. That’s the goal here.

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