As he has been saying for months, Mitt Romney, during Wednesday's presidential debate, promised to create 12 million jobs during his first term in the White House. Of course, as with his pledge to close loopholes and deductions to offset his $5 trillion tax cut plan, Romney was silent about how he'll actually do it. Worse still, most economists predict Romney's draconian budget cuts will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, especially in his first two years on office.
As it turns out, Romney's secret plan to prime the job pump is a simple one: do nothing. As it turns out, Romney's lofty goal of 12 million new jobs over four years is what the Congressional Budget Office and other analysts have already been forecasting for the U.S. economy.
In August, Moody's Analytics predicted 12 million jobs would be created by 2016, regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office. In April, Macroeconomic Advisers put the figure at 12.3 million. Which is why even Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler brushed off Romney's baseless boasting:
But, in fact, the number is less impressive than it sounds. This pledge amounts to an average of 250,000 jobs a month, a far cry from the 500,000 jobs a month that Romney claimed would be created in a "normal recovery." In recent months, the economy has averaged about 150,000 jobs a month.This is hardly the first time Romney has suggested he would succeed in his Seinfeldian presidency "about nothing." In May, America's would-be second CEO president promised, "I can tell you, after a period of four years, by virtue of the policies we'd put in place, we'd get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent—perhaps a little lower." Again, the American economy under President Obama is already on track to hit that target. As the New York Times explained:
The Congressional Budget Office is required to consider the effects of the so-called "fiscal cliff" if a year-end budget deal is not reached, which many experts believe would push the country into a recession. But even with that caveat, the nonpartisan agency assumes 9.6 million jobs will be created in the next four years. (This is a revision downward; CBO had estimated 11 million in January.)
But in fact, economists who predict the pace of employment growth -- including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Mr. Obama's budget officials and private economists -- have already said they believe unemployment is on track to be about 6 percent by the end of 2016.The stock market, already surging under Obama, would also experience an immaculate inflection merely by Mitt Romney's election. As Romney explained to wealthy donors during his now infamous 47 percent remarks:
The baseline forecast by the economic firm IHS Global Insight is for the unemployment rate to hit 6 percent by the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the firm's chief economist, Nigel Gault. Mr. Obama's budget office predicted that unemployment would decline to 6.1 percent by 2016. And the budget office projections show a 6 percent unemployment rate by the end of 2016.
"If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back and we'll see -- without actually doing anything -- we'll actually get a boost in the economy."Woody Allen famously said that 90 percent of life is just showing up. In Mitt Romney's economic plan, the figure is 100 percent.