GOP frontrunner's history as governor clues us in to the type of leader he may beHere are some thoughts on presidential contender Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is the current front-runner for the nomination from the GOP, and as such the most likely to face Obama in the general election next year. The following points are meant to diffuse any positive points Romney has made for himself while serving as governor. Much more has been said about Romney, but what follows is just a general synopsis of his ability to lead -- or rather, his ability to have done very little at all, except benefit from dumb luck, while he was governor.
During Romney’s tenure as governor, Massachusetts ranked third-lowest in job creation. Manufacturing jobs were a big loss for the state, declining by 14 percent between 2002 and 2006, more than double the national average.
Unemployment went down in Massachusetts, but experts believe this was largely because so many people left the state in the face of its declining economy. Only one other state, Louisiana, had a larger “out-migration” than Massachusetts during the time Romney was governor. More than 3.5 percent of the state’s population left between 2002 and 2006 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Housing prices also went up during Romney’s tenure. By 2005, Massachusetts saw its housing prices increase by 95 percent (the national average was 40 percent).
Romney touts having turned around a $3 billion deficit in his state while governor. But that deficit was more than halved by an unexpected gain in capital gains taxes. In other words, half the deficit that Romney “fixed” was due to absolutely no action on his part -- and also due to an unpopular form of taxation from Republicans, which means it’d be unlikely that Romney could utilize it if he became president. The other half was by closing corporate tax loopholes, essentially raising taxes on corporations, a move that Romney has indicated he wouldn’t do as president also.
And while Massachusetts saw a few gains in its economy during Romney’s tenure, the improvements when compared to the rest of the country were minimal. For instance, the measure of real output of goods and services grew by 9 percent between 2002 and 2006 -- but in the nation as a whole, it grew by 13 percent. The average wage of workers, too, only grew by $1 per weekly paycheck while Romney was governor.
Unemployment in Massachusetts mirrored that of the national average during Romney’s tenure, being off about half a percentage point or less in either direction at any given point. This indicates that Romney’s policies didn’t improve (nor hinder really) the unemployment rate in his state. However, we must remember: more than three percent of the state’s population left Massachusetts while Romney was governor in direct response to the economic climate at that time. Had they stayed in the state, there’s no doubt that the unemployment rate would have been higher, perhaps significantly so, than that of the national average.
There are plenty of more examples why Mitt Romney shouldn't be president. But these short synopses offer limited proof of why anything the candidate may tout during his tenure as governor weren't as great as he lets on. Romney was a governor, a former executive office holder -- but not exactly a stellar one.