Robert S. McElvaine, a history professor at Millsaps College and author of “The Great Depression,” set out to investigate the claim and has concluded that quite the opposite is true: About 7.5 million jobs were lost in the country under the policies of President George W. Bush, while 2.8 million jobs were added over the last year and a half of the Obama administration.
In a piece in the New York Times, McElvaine provides a graphic that shows just how bad the job losses were every single month in the final days of Bush’s tenure, and how the economy has gained jobs consistently for the past two and a half years except for four months in mid-2010.
“It is the misstatement that is the essence of the case Republicans are putting before American voters: That President Obama has made the economy worse. Getting voters to believe that assertion is probably the Republicans’ only hope of winning the election,” McElvaine writes. “The argument that President Obama has made the economy worse is not only central to the Republicans’ case, it’s pretty much all they have. But the facts do not support their claims.”
In addition, in a fascinating fact from the nation’s economic history, according to the history professor the Democratic presidents over the last 64 years created jobs at twice the rate of Republican presidents.
During the 28 years of Democratic administrations in that period, 57.5 million new jobs were created, an average of 2.05 million per year.
During the 36 years of Republican administrations in that period, 36.2 million new jobs were created, an average of 1.0 million per year.
“The bottom line is that over the 64 years leading up to the inauguration of President Obama, jobs were created more than twice as fast under Democrats as they were under Republicans,” the professor writes. “Republicans who are wondering how Obama could be polling as well as he is with unemployment above 8 percent might want to take a look at this graph.”
McElvaine said the average monthly job loss before Obama’s policies took effect was 417,000. Over the last year and a half, the average monthly job gain has been 155,000.
“If Rep. Ryan and Gov. Romney see that as making a bad situation worse, it should tell us something about their ‘vision,’” McElvaine concludes.