Romney Campaign Forced to Downplay Job Creation Claims

The Etch-a-Sketch candidate has done it again and this time it’s about job creation but with a painful twist. Who hasn’t heard the former Governor of Massachusetts talk about the hundred thousand jobs he created during the time he was the head of Bain Capital? It’s been a recurring theme in his campaign and the paramount reason why he says the electorate should trust him, rather than Obama, with the economy. However, under scrutiny, those claims don’t hold up and so the Romney campaign has had to downgrade the claim to thousands of jobs.

Non-partisan states: “It’s true that the private equity firm Bain Capital, which Romney headed from 1984 to 1999, invested in many companies that went on to add jobs. But there’s no thorough count of the jobs gained and lost in all the companies in which Bain invested. And it’s highly debatable whether Bain, and Romney, deserve credit for all of the jobs created, particularly when there were other investors, executives who launched or ran the companies, and new owners in later years.”

This from the Washington Post Fact Checker: Romney’s campaign provided current employment numbers for some of Bain’s greatest success stories: Staples has 89,000 workers, the Sports Authority 15,000 and Domino’s 7,900. Based on that information, we know the private-equity firm did indeed create jobs during Romney’s tenure by providing seed capital and advice to these start-ups. But that list does not include the leveraged buyouts. By itself, it’s not enough to prove a net-net gain in employment numbers. For that, we need to compare the number of people laid off with the number of people hired, which requires old jobs figures for all the companies Bain purchased under Romney. Neither Bain nor the Romney campaign gave us that information when we asked for it. Bain also declined to answer with a yes or no whether its companies created more jobs than it eliminated during Romney’s tenure.

From the Associated Press: Romney has never substantiated his frequent claim that he was a creator of more than 100,000 jobs while leading the Bain Capital private equity company. His campaign merely cites success stories without laying out the other side of the ledger — jobs lost at Bain-acquired or Bain-supported firms that closed, trimmed their workforce or shifted employment overseas. Moreover, his campaign bases its claims on recent employment figures at three companies — Staples, Domino’s and Sports Authority — even though Romney’s involvement with them ceased years ago. … Staples, now with close to 90,000 employees, and Sports Authority, with about 15,000, were start-ups supported by Romney. The direct work force at Domino’s has grown by nearly 8,000 since Romney’s intervention. But Romney got out of the game in 1999, which has not stopped his campaign from crediting him with jobs created at those companies since then.

What it all boils to is this: in the face of the scrutiny of a federal election, the Romney campaign has been unable to come up with concrete proof of their assertions that Romney is a job creator. In fact, the only “proof” offered was an editorial in the Washington Examiner, a right-wing rag that endorsed Romney. In the midst of what was hardly a ringing endorsement, the “proof” was simply a statement that Romney created thousands (note that it didn’t say a hundred thousand) of jobs and knows how to fix the economy.

Once upon a time, the Mittster was running on his financial expertise to capture the office of Governor of Massachusetts, a state that was still reeling from the dot com bust. Because of his experience, the Massachusetts voters put him in office and were rewarded with the ranking of 47 out of 50 in job creation by the time he left office. Hardly an impressive record.

Mitt Romney knows how to create wealth: of that there can be no question. He is the living, breathing proof of that. But creating wealth and creating jobs to stimulate an ailing economy are two different things. The Romney campaign will never admit that as a truth but they have been backed into a wall and their former grandiose claims have been self-downgraded in an effort to take some of the heat off the former governor. However, in an election year, the heat is on and the kitchen is getting hotter by the minute.

Twitter: MsWerner   Facebook:  Author Ann Werner