Obama’s Debate Challenge: Identifying an Actual Agenda

I have no reason to doubt that Mitt Romney’s math purporting to show how he’ll create 12 million jobs is bogus.

First of all, the studies on which the figure is based have longer timelines than the first term, which is the assumed time frame for the job creation. Romney’s claim of 7 million jobs created from his tax plan (and it’s a claim with little basis in reality) is based on a ten-year timeline.

The 3 million jobs created from oil and gas drilling is based on an eight-year timeline, and derived from policies already adopted. And anyway, 12 million jobs created over the next four years approaches the baseline expectation for job creation under current policy.

That said, it sounds suspiciously like a plan. We sadly don’t have a media that disqualifies candidates for using bogus math or flawed studies (though Romney skirts that line). We do have a public which has waited patiently for the economy to improve. Though consumer confidence has ticked up, as well as the outlook for the economic future, the public still expects candidates for Presidents to have some plan, especially when there remains a fragility to the economic picture.

And it’s here, not in the listlessness or taking of notes, where Obama fell down during the first debate. He didn’t offer much of an actual plan for the future. Indeed, he has trimmed his sails and rolled up most of the ambitions from the first term. He can talk about the futility of Mitt Romney’s plans, but he has decided to massively under-promise, in line with some lesson learned about Washington and its challenges. The Obama plan for a sick economy doesn’t offer anything voters can grab onto.

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