The Debate on the American Economy - "Number One"

The Obama campaign released a new ad today targeting Mitt Romney’s management of the Massachusetts economy during his time as governor.

The ad states that under Romney, Massachusetts’ debt grew to $18 billion, giving Massachusetts the highest debt per capita of any state. Further, the ad notes that during Romney’s governorship, Massachusetts fell to 47th in job creation. Instead of looking at specific policies, this ad questions Romney’s economic leadership, implying that Romney’s inability to manage Massachusetts’ economy demonstrates that he will be unable to tackle similar challenges on a national scale.  

The Obama campaign has generally refrained from attacking specific Republican policies and has instead opted to run against Romney’s career – both at Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts. Similarly, Republican ads have simply called for the end of government spending and cite persistent unemployment as evidence of Obama’s failed economic leadership. Other than a recent Obama ad on the American Jobs Act, neither side is outlining policy solutions to address the deep structural changes in the American economy that are leaving our workers behind.

Democrats don’t seem to be challenging the Paul Ryan budget, which, if approved, will drastically reduce social programs and revenues. Nor do Republicans seem to be responding to the Democratic logic of the President's jobs bill, which emphasizes investing in our workforce. As the election nears, perhaps we will begin seeing clearly enumerated policies and more distinctive economic philosophies. Until then, we wait.