On his MSNBC program tonight, Schultz also was a bit off the mark.
Schultz then played a video clip of Pres. George W. Bush talking in September of 2008 about the worsening financial situation: “Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse and some have failed. As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending. Credit markets have frozen and families and businesses have found it harder to borrow money. We’re in the midst of a serious economic crisis.”
Schultz responded by saying, “And for months on end, Pres. Obama’s never had to say anything like that…. But the fact is this. Pres. Obama’s never had those conditions since he’s been President. It’s been all (unintelligible but obviously a word meaning ‘positive’).
The fact is that those conditions still exist though to a lesser extent. Pres. Obama has said the situation was and is serious. Here’s the way the L.A. Timesreported it, just three months ago:
The MSNBC host then played another cut of Pres. Bush just after Mr. Bush said, also in late 2008, “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.” When asked whether he sees a recession coming, the former president said to ask economists and added, with a smile, “I think I got a B in Econ 101.”
Schultz’s response, “Oh yeh, let’s make a joke about it.”
You may recall that while talking about his proposals to create jobs, Pres. Obama said with a chuckle, “Well I guess those shovel-ready jobs weren’t quite shovel-ready.” Both presidents’ probably wish they hadn’t said those things but although we can justify Schultz’s criticism, the current president made the same mistake.
Another Schultz statement, “Do you really want to turn the economy over to a guy (Mitt Romney) who has a history of outsourcing and has never done anything for labor?”
The outsourcing charge has been partially debunked by fact-checkers, PolitiFact for example, but Romney certainly has done something for labor in his successful Bain Capital turnarounds.
One more Schultz comment. “It has been high unemployment although it has come down since Pres. Obama has taken office.”
This is only partially true. The household and payroll survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a slight increase in employment from January 2009 through July of this year. However the unemployment rate during the period has risen .7%.
We believe calculating the change from June of 2009 to the present is much fairer because it takes time for an incoming president to implement new policies and Pres. Obama came into office in January of 2009. Using that period, total employment has gone up a slight bit more while the unemployment rate has come down from 9.5 to 8.3%.
Schultz used a comment by Romney in support of his argument that people are better off than they were four years ago. The Republican candidate said, “Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession, there is always a recovery.”
We believe this is a little bit of apples and oranges. Romney saying “it’s getting better” is not the same as saying people are better off. The GOP standard bearer made a general statement that the economic situation is improving.
Those who maintain people are better off are implying that there’s been a widespread improvement for the majority of people. Our opinion is that our only available measure before the election is the polls. And they clearly report that more people are saying they are not better off. We should note that this result doesn’t necessarily hint at who they will vote for in November.
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