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Retroactive Obama Blame


Apparently the ridiculous political attack line we're supposed to talk about today is Mitt Romney's claim that 92.3 percent of jobs lost since Barack Obama took office belonged to women. This turns out to be true if you decide to assume that Obama is fully responsible for labor market events in January, even though two-thirds of January occurred before his inauguration.

The story within the story is that recessions hit male-dominated highly cyclical sectors like construction and manufacturing first. Women tend to disproportionately work in sectors like health care and education that show slow and steady job growth. But those male-dominated cyclical sectors also bounce back relatively quickly. So since the recession started more than a year before Obama's inauguration, male job losses were close to bottoming out by the time Obama took office and he's presided over a lot of rebound growth in male employment. Women, by contrast, have been devastated by cascading waves of teacher layoffs...

Not only have these layoffs primarily been implemented at the behest of Republican Party governors and state legislators, but the Obama administration twice--once in the Spring of 2010 and a second time in the fall of 2012--pushed hard for legislation to prevent layoffs of teachers. These efforts were roundly denounced by conservatives as wasteful and costly "bailouts" and so they didn't happen.

More on this topic from Kevin Drum.

As we get closer to general election season, i'm going to be trying really hard to not turn this into a pro-Obama blog, but with these kinds of attacks from the Romney camp it's going to be difficult. For this post i'll turn it around and point out that if the Obama administration had taken the advice of economists like Paul Krugman and been more aggressive about seeking a stronger stimulus that would have resulted in a faster recovery, he's be a lot less open to these kinds of attacks which, despite their obvious desperation, consume a lot of oxygen amongst the political chatterers. And, more importantly, a lot less people, male and female, would be out of work.

By fnord12 | April 12, 2012, 9:08 AM | Liberal Outrage