JONATHAN CHAIT SEPTEMBER 24, 2010
Mitt Romney says that president Obama will have the economy back on track by 2012:
"I think President Obama will be difficult to beat in 2012, because I think an incumbent has extraordinary advantages. He will pull out all the stops, although he's pulled out so many stops at this point that there might not be a whole lot more to pull out in terms of federal reserve, interest rates and stimulus and so forth.
But he will do everything he can to get the economy going back again, and most likely -- at least in my view -- the economy will be coming back.
Analytically, I think this is mostly wrong. The Federal Reserve is not acting with urgency to increase economic growth. And Obama has long lost any ability to get Congress to help stimulate the economy.
But the interesting part of Romney's remarks is the implicit concession that government activism, including stimulus, can help restore the economy to health. I have no doubt that Romney understands this is true. But he seems to have forgotten the Republican line that the stimulus has either had no effect or made the economy worse.