What is this, eight Pinocchios in two days? Team Obama could go for the hat trick, but the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gets the day off tomorrow. Yesterday’s tetra-Pinocchio-palooza involved Team O’s double-down on their Bain attacks by calling Romney a “corporate raider.” Today’s perfecto focuses on David Plouffe’s inability to get math correct in several talk-show appearances last Sunday, when the campaign advisor and surrogate tried to claim that Massachusetts created six government jobs for every private-sector job during Romney’s term, as well as some first-class political paranoia:
“There was an amazing article the other day, I believe it was in The Wall Street Journal, where Republicans in Congress are openly saying, ‘we’re not going to do anything until the election with the economy, because we want to help Mitt Romney.’ With an economy that needs help right now, with the middle class struggling, it’s an amazing thing.”
“For all of this talk about government, for every private-sector job created in Massachusetts by Governor Romney, six public sector jobs.”
As Kessler points out, that’s not at all what the WSJ article said. Republicans, anticipating that the election will win them more seats, want to hold off on major decisions until they have more strength and bargaining power. In fact, the article has Republicans on record specifically denying Plouffe’s claims:
Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said some Republicans were willing to see major fiscal decisions postponed until next year, because they are bullish about Mr. Romney winning and the GOP making gains in the Senate.
“Why not wait for the reinforcements?” asked Mr. Jordan. …
Democrats accuse GOP leaders of deliberately dragging their feet on legislation that might help the economy, as it might also boost President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects. Republican leaders deny that. They blame Democrats for blocking GOP efforts to extend tax cuts and avert scheduled military spending cuts.
The WSJ article also notes that Democrats have been delaying action for their own political reasons related to the election:
Indeed, senior Democrats have political reasons of their own to avoid compromise on major budget issues before the election: They don’t want to undercut their ability to make a campaign issue of Republicans’ support for curbing the growth of Medicare and other popular entitlement programs.
Some Democrats say they would rather let taxes go up and spending cuts kick in than accept a lame-duck budget deal that lacks what they would view as sufficient concessions by Republicans.
Apparently, Plouffe has trouble reading for comprehension. That’s nothing, however, compared to his difficulties with math. Back to Kessler:
As for Plouffe’s claim about the Bay State’s employment gains, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Massachusetts added 22,400 private-sector jobs during Romney’s tenure. That means the state would need to have created 134,400 public-sector jobs in the same period for the White House adviser’s claim to be true.
That’s not even close to what happened. Massachusetts gained just 5,300 state-government jobs while Romney was in office. As such, the state added more than four private-sector jobs for every state-government job. This is pretty much the reverse of what Plouffe claimed.
The best reasoning we could find to support Plouffe’s claim is that the rate of public-sector job growth for the state (4.7 percent) was about six times that of private-sector gains (.79 percent) during Romney’s tenure. But this is very different from having six times the numberof new government jobs, which is what the White House adviser clearly implied when he said, “for every private-sector job created in Massachusetts by Governor Romney, six public sector jobs.”
In other words, either Plouffe is an idiot, or he’s lying his rear end off. You can take your pick, but Kessler’s four-Pinocchio rating makes it pretty clear which way he’s leaning.