Romney-Cited Researcher Disputes Romney’s Jobs Math

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On Tuesday, one of Mitt Romney’s boldest claims — that his new jobs plan will create 12 million jobs — fell apart.

Quizzed about the claim by Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler, the Romney campaign cited three separate studies that, taken together, include numbers that add up to 12 million jobs created. But as Kessler found, the studies employ different time frames, and two of them have no bearing on Romney’s policies.

And, it turns out, not all of the authors believe their research helps justify Romney’s conclusion either.“I think the WP [Washington Post] story says it all,” said Ed Morse, a managing director at Citigroup Global Markets, in an email. “I have no comment to add.”

Romney claims that Morse’s Citigroup study proves he’ll create 3 million jobs. But the paper actually concludes that the economy will add 2.7 million to 3.6 million energy jobs over the next eight years if existing policies, including fuel efficiency standards that Romney opposes, are continued.

The Romney campaign cites a second study by Rice University professor John Diamond, predicting that the Republican candidate’s tax reform plan will spark massive growth and create 7 million jobs over 10 years. He stands by his conclusion, which is far more optimistic than most economists’, and takes no issue with Romney citing them — even if Romney’s playing games with the time horizon.

“Base-broadening, rate-reducing tax reform would increase economic growth and create jobs if it is revenue neutral, and even more so if it also reduces the deficit,” Diamond told TPM. “My study shows this. While I reported a 10 year job growth number, there would be substantial gains well before then as well.”

A third study the campaign cites, a May 2011 report by the U.S. International Trade Commission, finds that 2.1 million jobs could be gained in the event that China stops ignoring U.S. intellectual property rights. The projections assume that uncertain prospect, and the growth estimate is based on the unusually high excess labor supply in 2011. The chief author of this study did not respond to TPM’s requests for comment.

Pressed by the Post, Romney’s economic adviser Glenn Hubbard acknowledged that the studies don’t account for the 12 million jobs Romney’s long predicted he’d create in his first term. “The big point is the 3+7+2 does not make up the 12 million jobs in the first four years (different source of growth and different time period),” he told the Post.

(Photo Credit: Brett Marty Photography)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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