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Branstad tutorial for Obama

June 4, 2012 - Mike Donahey
Most know May’s job report was bad news for President Obama and good news for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

In short, the report indicated job creation stagnated. How? Final figures are determined by taking the total number of jobs created and contrasting them to jobs which have been eliminated due to plant closings, layoffs and other factors. Specifically, it was a report of net jobs created. Economists across the board believe this is the best way to report job creation.

The May report put the president on the defensive, while Romney launched an all out attack, claiming it was another example of failed administration economic policies. Such job stagnation reports may continue, economists warn, because employers are skittish about hiring due to economic/political uncertainties in the U.S., China and Europe. However, to get Romney off his back, the president only needs to adopt Gov. Terry Branstad’s job creation reporting method. Put simply, the governor only counts jobs created but does not subtract jobs eliminated. (It’s charged Romney applies the same tack: only counting jobs created and not counting those eliminated during his careerr at Bain Capital).

During the governor’s 2010 campaign, Branstad vowed to create 200,000 jobs. On IPTV’s Iowa Press last month, he said his administration’s job creation efforts were ‘way ahead’ of schedule in creating the jobs in five years. Iowa Press panelists Kathy Obradovich of the Des Moines Register and O.K. Henderson of Radio Iowa disagreed, accusing him of “fuzzy math.” They said the governor was counting only jobs created and not jobs eliminated. Backing up their claim was Iowa Workforce Development data reported 16,500 net jobs in the Branstad administration’s first 16 months in office versus the 69,700 claimed to have been created. The solution is clear for the president. Make an appointment with Branstad for a tutorial on job creation reporting.

The Branstad I have seen in action of late with his creative job claims and the like is not the one I witnessed approximately 20 years ago. Then, I had a different job and had the opportunity to spend most of one day with Branstad. The governor's team and I stopped at businesses, met with high school students and others. Standing within a few feet of him, he appeared sincere and genuinely interested in comments made to him. He did his best to answer all of the questions posed. I came away impressed. The Branstad I saw years ago is what I want to see now and not the one using fuzzy math to advance a political agenda.

Iowans deserve to know net jobs created.



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