Monday, February 1, 2016

Ted Cruz Doubles Down On His Stupid Obamacare Jobs Claim

At the most recent Republican debate, Ted Cruz made a whopper of a claim, even for him:

“It’s been a disaster,” the Texas senator said during the final GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses. “It is the biggest job-killer in this country, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work.”
Of course, the problem here is that it is not in any way true whatsoever. But a little thing like reality wasn't going to stop Cruz from repeating this insipid talking point. He went on Fox News Sunday to double down on the stupid:

WALLACE:  But, Senator, the fact checkers say you're wrong.  Since that law went into effect, the unemployment rate fell from 9.9 percent to 5 percent, as 13 million new jobs were created and 16.3 million people who were previously uninsured now have coverage.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of problems with Obamacare.  But more people have jobs and health insurance than they did before Obamacare.

CRUZ:  Chris, the media fact checkers are not fair and impartial.  They are liberal, editorial journalists.  And they have made it their mission to defend Obamacare.

So right off the bat, Cruz brings out the old Republican standby: "BUBUBU THE LIBERAL MEDIA!". But this is not some vague, subjective issue like abortion or gun rights. Defending Obama's record on job creation requires nothing further than the ability to know how to count. You don't need left-wing media outlets like Media Matters (and Fox News, apparently) to find out if jobs were actually lost during Obama's tenure after he signed Obamacare into law (click to enlarge):

The table above is the monthly private sector job growth/loss for all of Obama's presidency up until last December, documented by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Obamacare was passed in March of 2010, and if you look at the numbers since then, you'll find that not only have we not had a SINGLE month where there were any private sector jobs lost whatsoever, but that we've added, as Chris Wallace said, 13 million jobs since.

To put that in perspective, the last Republican president we had, presided over a total positive job growth of 7.4 million.  President Bush achieved this number with pro- tax cuts for the rich, pro-deregulation, and pro-freedom policies. The same policies Cruz is supporting, and the same policies that are the anti-thesis of Obama's policies, which he insists are killing jobs at an incredible rate.

(Note: That 7.4 million number represents only positive job growth under Bush, and doesn't include the millions that were lost under his watch, which would bring the total down significantly)

And yet, as of this point, since Obamacare's passage, job creation under the job-killing legislation, is almost 6 million higher than it was for the entirety of Bush's presidency. Obama also has one year left, and so that job growth number could wind up being even higher.

How does Cruz explain this? He doesn't, as you'll see:

WALLACE:  There's certainly no question that more people have jobs and more people have health insurance coverage.

CRUZ:  Yes, there is question.  Number one, we have the lowest percentage of Americans working today of any year since 1977.  That's fact.  They focused on --

WALLACE:  But there are 13 million jobs created, sir.  That’s a fact.

CRUZ:  The fact is that from 2008 to today, we've seen economic growth of 1.2 percent on average.

CRUZ:  Chris, don't interrupt me.  I'll give an answer --

WALLACE:  That's changing the subject.

CRUZ:  No.

WALLACE:  Thirteen million new jobs have been created.

CRUZ:  And that is a historically slow rate of job creation if you look at what has occurred in any previous year.  You know, Obama is the first president ever to have a year of 3 percent economic growth.  Millions of people in this country are hurting.

One of the problems is you've got the elite, the Washington elite, the rich have gotten richer under Barack Obama.  The top one percent are in a higher share of our income than any year since 1928.  But working men and women are hurting.  
So you see what he did here? He shifted away from job creation to talking about GDP growth and income inequality. We can definitely argue about those particular details, but they are separate from job growth numbers, which Cruz is anxious to run away from. GDP growth is important, but it's not necessarily always related to job growth:

As you can see, GDP growth under Obama is nothing brag about. But although his predecessor did slightly better on that front, Obama has created millions of more jobs ( about 6 million since Obamacare was passed and roughly 7 million since the recession bottomed out). Sadly for Cruz, trying to divert to a different metric dose not hep argue the central thesis that Obamacare has been killing jobs.

But this is probably my favorite part of the interview:

And I'll tell you, you know, representing Texas, one of the things I do when I go home is I host small business roundtables.  And I bring together 20, 30 small business owners around the table and just ask them, share what’s on your heart.  Share what you're thinking about.  Share what you’re praying about.

I have never done a small business table where at least half the small business owners didn't list Obamacare as the single biggest obstacle they're facing.  Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and the people have been forced into part time work.  Or lost their health care or lost their doctors or seen their premiums skyrocket. 
In other words, Cruz has no use for liberal "fact checkers", the CBO, or the BLS,  but hearing the supposed complaints of a few dozen random small business owners is all the proof he needs that Obamacare is a nationwide job killing machine. Who needs actual empirical evidence when you have anecdotes?

There is nothing that encapsulates the modern day Republican party more than this.

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