12 Million Jobs

8/31/2012 09:04:00 PM

If you've followed any of the coverage of Paul Ryan's and Mitt Romney's speeches at the RNC convention, you've already heard that they were--erm--factually challenged (see: Romney and Ryan).

One thing that really stuck out in my mind that few people seem to have caught was Romney's claim that his "plans"--none of which are really spelled out--would create the oddly specific number of 12 million jobs. Very little explanation of this is offered: 12 million jobs over how long of a period? What counts as a newly created job? Since Romney offered no caveats or explanation, I'm inclined to take it at face value--that is, that the number of jobs in the US will be 12 million higher under Romney's proposal than there otherwise would be under the alternative.

But that's a really strange thing to claim, since there are only 12.7 million unemployed people at present. Granted, the population will continue to grow, but that growth is part of the alternative, so not part of Romney's 12 million, unless he plans to increase immigration or something. So as a rough measure, Romney has just promised to reduce unemployment to 0.5%.

That is absurd on the face of it.

As a post script, I'd add that 12 million is something of a consensus forecast for how many jobs will be created in the next four years, regardless of who wins. Granted, any president would try to take credit for that. But the point here is that Romney has not said that 12 million jobs will be created over 4 years, but that they would be created as a result of his plan, which can only mean that he thinks they will be in addition to the 12 million that would be created even without his plan.