by Aaron Krowne
Founder, The Implode-o-Meter
The NRO yesterday published a little blurb on the job-creation creds of GOP presidential candidates. The winner? Gary Johnson of New Mexico, with an 11.6% job creation rate. The next-closest isn’t even close (it’s Huntsman with 5.9%).
What do to in the face of such a trouncing by a libertarian independent non-establishmentarian like Johnson? If you’re the NRO, apparently you come up with a BS line about how Johnson somehow had a more favorable economic backdrop (emphasis mine):
But Johnson, who governed from 1995 to 2003, doesn’t overlap much with the other governors — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman — who are running. Among the crowd who governed primarily during the 2000s, Huntsman has the best record. During his 2005 to 2009 tenure as governor of Utah, the number of jobs grew by 5.9 percent…
Of course, some of these comparisons are apples to oranges; Pawlenty, Huntsman, and Perry, for instance, all were governors during the recession, while Romney and Johnson were not. State population changes could also play a role in determining whether a state’s employment numbers surge or decline.
Those sentiments (“Johnson didn’t govern during tough times”) have only one slight little flaw… most of Johnson’s tenure was during recession, or general economic malaise that could hardly be called a “boom”.
Indeed, the end of his tenure (2000-2003) WAS a recession — we were only briefly out of it for 2003-2007 before being back in one again thanks to the housing bubble, remember (NRO, I’m talking to you)?
In addition we were still in a “jobless” recovery in 1995 and 1996 when Johnson started. Really, any honest appraisal admits that the 1990/1 recession dragged on through 1996 (just like the 2000/1 recession dragged on till 2003, and the 2007/8 recession is still dragging on). In fact, most economists recognize that 1995/6 was at minimum “mid-cycle slowdown” or “mini” recession that was essentially aborted by the nascent dot-com bubble and the Fed’s easy money policies.
So actually the comparison is apples to apples… the only 3 years of “boom” during Johnson’s governorship were 1997, 1998, and 1999!
That corresponds pretty well to the count of “boom” years to anyone who started in 2000: (mid-)2003, 2004, and 2005, to (mid-) 2006.
So about 3 years each out of 8.
In my view, that means Johnson absolutely wastes the GOP competition on the subject of job creation. Apples to apples… and dollars to donuts.