The problem with Mr. Romney’s “blame Obama” mantra is that Mr. Obama is not responsible for the deep and protracted recession that predated his administration and is at the root of the persistently high unemployment. Job creation under Mr. Obama’s term far outpaced the job growth following the first recession of George W. Bush’s presidency in 2001. New evidence released this week showed recent employment has been stronger than previously tallied.
Mr. Obama is not free from responsibility for the economy. He did not push hard enough for a larger stimulus and more robust housing relief. He also changed focus prematurely from creating jobs through stimulus to reducing the deficit through spending cuts.
But Mr. Romney doesn’t criticize the president for those mistakes. He criticizes the use of government to help the economy — including the stimulus, the auto rescue, health care reform and financial regulation — all the while calling for more tax cuts and deregulation, policies that inflated the bubble and led to bust. He wants to couple those policies with savage budget cuts, fantasizing that a swift reduction in the deficit would boost economic growth.