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Mitt Romney (file)
The Washington Post offered real insight into the Romney camp's thinking on the economy today. Kevin Hassett and Glenn Hubbard, both economic advisers to Romney penned today's op-ed, "Obama inconsistent on pace of economic recovery." Here's taste:
President Obama’s principal economic argument for reelection now appears to be that he has an excuse for the U.S. economy’s extremely weak recovery from the deep recession of 2007 to 2009: that recoveries after financial crises are always slow. The president said in Ohio in June, in language that has been echoed by his surrogates, that “this was not your normal recession. Throughout history, it has typically taken countries up to 10 years to recover from financial crises of this magnitude."
In other words, according to the excuse narrative, even though the Obama stimulus was brilliant and timely, it could not deliver a normal recovery because the financial crisis made that impossible.
What really sticks out their understanding and approach regarding the stimulus. In his analysis on Hassett and Hubbard's conclusions, the always wonktastic Ezra Klein argued what failed to yield a better recovery isn't the stimulus — it was the lack of stimulus. He writes:
The first part of the op-ed reprises the argument from an earlier paper Hasset and Hubbard released on behalf of the Romney campaign: While financial crises might lead to slow recoveries internationally, they don’t lead to slow recoveries in the United States. Again, the citation goes to ”an extensive study of recessions in the United States” by Michael Bordo of Rutgers University and Joseph Haubrich of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, which found that the recovery from this recession has been unusually slow.
As in the original paper, Romney’s economists blames this on the Obama administration’s economic policies. And, also like in the original paper, they omit what Bordo says when you ask him about the study, which is that this recession was unusually long because it was driven by a housing collapse.
Also of note, Romney's economic advisers never take the president to task for the one thing they absolutely could: the housing crisis. The slow recovery of the real estate market is what has made this recovery so different than the ones in the past. The Obama administration has been criticized for not giving enough support to underwater borrowers.