|ROMNEY’S ECONOMIC RECORD
By Andrew Sum and Joseph McLaughlin | July 29, 2007
As Mitt Romney pursues his bid for the presidency, his record as Massachusetts governor will come under scrutiny, including how the state’s economy performed during his administration. Our analysis reveals a weak comparative economic performance of the state over the Romney years, one of the worst in the country.
On all key labor market measures, the state not only lagged behind the country as a whole, but often ranked at or near the bottom of the state distribution. Formal payroll employment in the state in 2006 was still 16,000 or 0.5 percent below its average level in 2002, the year immediately prior to the start of the Romney administration. Massachusetts ranked third lowest on this key job generation measure and would have ranked second lowest if Hurricane Katrina had not devastated the Louisiana economy. Manufacturing payroll employment throughout the nation declined by nearly 1.1 million or 7 percent between 2002 and 2006, but in Massachusetts it declined by more than 14 percent, the third worst record in the country.
While the number of employed people over age 16 in the United States rose by nearly 8 million, or close to 6 percent, between 2002 and 2006, the number of employed residents in the Commonwealth is estimated to have modestly declined by 8,500. Massachusetts was the only state to have failed to post any gain in its pool of employed residents. The aggregate number of people 16 and older either working or looking for work in Massachusetts fell over the Romney years.
We were one of only two states to have experienced no growth in its resident labor force. Again, without the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the dispersal of the Louisiana population, Massachusetts would have ranked last on this measure. The decline in the state’s labor force, which was influenced in large part by high levels of out-migration of working-age adults, helped hold down the official unemployment rate of the state. Between July 2002 and July 2006, the US Census Bureau estimated that 222,000 more residents left Massachusetts for other states than came here to live. This high level of net domestic out-migration was equivalent to 3.5 percent of the state’s population, the third highest rate of population loss in the country. Excluding the population displacement effects of Hurricane Katrina on Louisiana, Massachusetts would have ranked second highest on this measure. We were a national leader in exporting our population.
From 2002 to 2006, the level of real output of goods and services did increase each year, rising by 9 percent over this four-year period. This modest rate of growth, however, fell well below the 13 percent rate of real output growth for the nation, and the state ranked 14th lowest on this measure. Labor productivity growth underlies all of the increase in the state’s output, but little of this productivity improvement accrued to the typical worker or family in the Commonwealth in the form of higher wages or earnings. Between 2002 and 2006, the median real (inflation adjusted) weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers in Massachusetts is estimated to have fallen by $10 or nearly 2 percent. The real income of the average (median) family in Massachusetts in 2005 was 1 percent below its value at the time of the 2000 Census while median household income was 3 percent below its 2000 value. Median household income fell even more sharply in the nation. Family incomes in both the United States and Massachusetts have become more unevenly distributed since 2000.
There is one additional area in which Massachusetts was a national leader over the past five years, the rise in housing prices. Between 2000 and 2005, the median self-reported home price in Massachusetts increased by nearly 95 percent versus an increase of only 40 percent for the United States. The median home price ranked fourth highest among the 50 states, and the median value of homes relative to household income was the third highest in the country. The high affordability cost ratio encouraged the high levels of outmigration from the state of young families with children.
Real world experience has shown that a governor is limited in his power to influence the course of economic development in a state. A full-time governor who is deeply committed to the economic well-being of a state’s workers can, however, make some difference. The state unfortunately did not receive such leadership over most of the past four years. Jokes about Massachusetts may receive some half-hearted laughter on the national campaign trail, but few working men and women in Massachusetts should see anything funny about the state’s lackluster economic performance during the Romney years.
Andrew Sum is director and Joseph McLaughlin is research associate at the Center for Market Studies at Northeastern University.
FOOTNOTE FROM OTHER SOURCES:
THE 844 VETOES OF MITT ROMNEY IN MASSACHUSETTS
In Mitt Romney’s 4 years of political experience, he signed 844 vetoes. He was perhaps the most vetoing governor in Massachusetts history. He claimed in the debate with Obama that he was good at working with the opposition party which controlled 87% of the legislature. In reality he was an obstructionist, the embodiment of “No”. Because the legislature 707 times overrode his vetoes, he was an ineffectual governor. He suffered a great defeat in the midterm elections. Having spent 3 million to defeat Democratic legislators, his campaign increased Democratic legislators. Of his 844 vetoes, 707 were overridden, several unanimously as the 13% who were Republican were also opposed to the tactics. “The Boston Globe reported that in 100 instances Democrats did not challenge Romney and his vetoes stood. In cases when the Senate challenged him, Romney was overridden every time. When the House challenged him, Romney was overridden more than 99 percent of time, the Globe reported, based on statistics from the House minority leader’s office.”
FALSE CLAIM OF JOB CREATION
Mitt Romney said in the debate as well that he was a job creator, despite the fact that he fired over 100,000 people as sole voting stock member and CEO of Bain Capital, despite the fact that he outsourced jobs to China and Mexico, that his tax plan would give tax credits to companies outsourcing to China and other countries.
IN HEALTH CARE CLAIMED CREDIT FOR WHAT THE LEGISLATURE DID
Romney claims credit for the Massachusetts health care program, but he merely went along with the work that the Democratic legislature did. Dailykos reports Romney was “on the board of Damon Clinical Laboratories, which plead guilty to charges of defrauding Medicare and agreed to pay what was at the time the largest health care criminal fraud fine in history – $35,300,000. They also agreed to larger civil fines which totaled $83,700,000. Romney was also on the board of Marriott International, a Mormon owned hotel chain. http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/7/14/165455/617
ROMNEY VETOED HOMES FOR THE HOMELESS
Romney defeated $220,000 in programs to give the homeless shelter. Ontheissues.org reports:
“Budget Item 7004-3036 was reduced by the Governor from $1,221,925 to $1,000,000; the Governor disapproved $141,000 for Just-A-Start housing stabilization conflict management services, a program to prevent homelessness; and $80,925 for the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance.”
ROMNEY VETOED CONTRACEPTION FOR RAPE VICTIMS
ROMNEY VETOED A BILL WHICH WOULD MAKE THE MORNING AFTER BILL AVAILABLE OVER THE COUNTER
ROMNEY VETOED MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
Romney vetoed in 2006 a minimum wage increase, but was overridden UNANIMOUSLY by the legislature. http://www.factcheck.org/2012/02/romney-vs-santorum-a-misleading-contras/
Fact Check goes on to say “it is misleading to claim — as the ad does — that Romney closed the deficit without raising taxes. He increased government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Peter Canellos reports “it is fair to hold him (Romney) accountable for Marriott’s spurious tax reporting”.
According to Mr Wines of the NY Times “Statehouse Democrats complained he (Romney) variously ignored, insulted or opposed them Unemployment dropped less than a percentage point during his four years”
Romney complains of a $900,000 subsidy to PBS while ignoring the BILLIONS in subsidies to big oil companies and the TRILLIONS of subsidies in corporate welfare to war profiteers.
ROMNEY VETOED DENTAL AND EYEGLASS HELP FOR THE POOR
ROMNEY VETOED THE RIGHT OF STUDENTS TO REFUSE TO CARVE UP ANIMALS
Romney vetoed in 2004 a bill which would honor students’ rights not to carve up living or dead animals in biology and medical school classes. As an explanation he wrote
. . . biomedical research is an important component of the CommonwealthÂ’s economy and job creation. This bill would send the unintended message that animal research is frowned upon.”
ROMNEY VETOED INCREASED BENEFITS FOR A POLICEMAN INJURED IN A FALL
Romney graduated from Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution.
David Welna of NPR: “From now on,” he (Romney) told The Boston Globe, “it’s me-me-me.”
In the remaining days of October and November, may much more about Romney’s vetoes, tax manipulations and board memberships surface.
Romney’s 844 Vetoes
Romney’s Clean Energy whoppers
More on Romney’s 4 years as an elected politician
707 of Romney’s 844 vetoes overridden
Romney vetoed money for housing for the homeless
Romney was on the board of a company which pled guilty to mass Medicare fraud.
Romney said ‘let the foreclosure crisis hit rock bottom
Romney Ryan Animal Abuse Record
Romney’s Family Busting in Massachusetts
8 Of The Many Countries to Whose Corporations Romney Has Ties…