On Thursday morning's ABC Good Morning America, Ann Romney explained her and her husband's refusal to make their tax returns public for any other years than 2010 and 2011, by saying:
We've given all [that] you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life, and so the election will not be decided on that. It will be decided on who will turn the economy around, and how will jobs come back to America.
Let's grant to her that Barack Obama failed the economy according to Obama's own standard: When he came into office, he predicted that if the stimulus was passed (and it was passed), unemployment would peak at 8% in 2009, and then decline to 5% by 2013. However, Obama's failure to have recognized how big an economic disaster his predecessor had left him doesn't necessarily mean that Mitt Romney wouldn't be an even worse President on the economy than Obama has turned out to be. The comparison here is Obama vs. Romney; it's not Obama vs. nothing. Romney has a record of his own to defend.
Ms. Romney's claim on "how will jobs come back to America" (by electing her husband) has unfortunately nothing but Republican faith behind it, because all the facts are contrary to her claim that Mitt would make "jobs come back to America." I have shown elsewhere that Mitt's assertion that he had caused a net increase of at least 100,000 jobs at Bain Capital is a demonstrable lie, and that his Bain participation unquestionably generated a net loss of employment in this country, even considering Bain's successful start-up financing of Staples, which comprises the bulk of his claimed "producing jobs."
Mitt's proposals for the economy are even worse. He passionately opposes Obama's call for federal money to pay the states to hire back some of their firefighters, police, and teachers, who have been laid off on account of the Wall Street bailout. Romney, in fact, on June 8, 2012, charged that Obama "says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government." Romney thinks that the nation's going $1.54 trillion into debt in the Wall Street bailout, so as to protect megabanks and their stockholders and bondholders and executives from the crash those mega-bank executives had caused, is good, but that keeping police and other government workers on the job to protect and serve the general public is not -- and he wants them to stay fired, if he becomes president. To him, lowering the taxes of himself and his friends is more important for the economy than is retaining the jobs of those government workers.
How good for the economy are priorities like that?
Ironically, on the very same day as Ms. Romney's remark, a vote was held in the Senate on "S. 3364: A bill to provide an incentive for businesses to bring jobs back to America." It would replace an existing tax-deduction for outsourcing jobs abroad, by a new tax-deduction for insourcing jobs back from abroad. Only 40 votes were needed in order to block it by a filibuster. 42 senators, all of whom were Republicans, voted to filibuster and thus to kill it. Large international corporations wanted it killed, so as to continue receiving tax-write-offs for shipping jobs to low-wage countries. Ann Romney said that the election should be about "how will jobs come back to America." This was how Republicans were dealing with that issue. Not a single Democrat in the Senate voted that way.
Romney has not made his case, no matter how bad Obama might be.
Will Republicans win in 2012 by sabotaging the U.S. economy while Democrats are "in control"? Isn't that what they have been doing? Should we vote for them because they've succeeded at doing it? Isn't that what this election is really about?
Is the problem that there are too few Republicans? Or that there are too many?
There have been enough Republicans to sabotage the U.S. economy while corporate profits soar. Is Obama to blame for that? Should he be replaced because they have succeeded at sabotaging the U.S. economy?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.