By Glenn Kessler
Let me tell you how I will create 12 million jobs when President Obama couldn’t. First, my energy independence policy means more than 3 million new jobs, many of them in manufacturing. My tax reform plan to lower rates for the middle class and for small business creates 7 million more. And expanding trade, cracking down on China and improving job training takes us to over 12 million new jobs.”
— Mitt Romney, “in his own words,” in a campaign television ad
Romney’s 12-million-jobs promise has garnered a lot of attention. We became interested in this ad after a reader asked whether the campaign had provided much detail on how he would reach this total. This television ad is also prominently featured on the Romney campaign’s “Jobs Plan” Web page.
The math here appears pretty simple: 7 plus 3 plus 2 equals 12. But this is campaign math, which means it is mostly made of gossamer. Let’s take a look.
As we have noted before, the 12 million figure is not a bad bet by Romney. Moody’s Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April also predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs.
In any case, four of Romney’s top economic advisers — R. Glenn Hubbard (Dean of Columbia Business School), N. Gregory Mankiw (Harvard professor), John B. Taylor (Stanford professor) and Kevin A. Hassett (American Enterprise Institute scholar) — co-wrote a white paper that lays out the case that Romney’s spending, tax and regulatory policies would yield a more robust recovery — adding 250,000 jobs a month — that would result in 12 million jobs over four years. The analysis, which is prominently posted on the Romney campaign Web site, concludes: