By Marie Szaniszlo | The Boston Herald | July 28, 2012
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, knocked on his heels by Olympic gaffes overseas, was back on the offensive yesterday, blasting President Obama in the wake of a mediocre GDP report.
“After failing to meet with his jobs council for more than six months, President Obama is now ducking questions about this morning’s abysmal GDP report,” said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams. “Americans deserve to know what it will take for President Obama to seriously address the issue of jobs and the economy. It has been nearly four years, and we are still waiting for an answer.”
Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, noted that the gross domestic product increased 1.5 percent in the second quarter, which, although down from 2 percent in the first quarter, still marked the 12th straight quarter of economic growth.
“And yet, as we say consistently, this is not enough,” Carney added. “And that’s why Congress needs to act … because the things that are in the American Jobs Act, the president’s proposal that Congress has not yet passed, would create, according to outside economists, a million jobs — firefighters, teachers, construction workers.”
Alan Clayton-Matthews, associate professor of economics and public policy at Northeastern University, said the president alone doesn’t have much control over the GDP.
“Congress controls spending and taxes,” the economist said. “The president has veto power. But the real force behind fiscal policy lies with Congress, not the president.”
While the rate of growth slowed nationally, Massachusetts’ economy continued to flex its muscle, posting 4 percent growth in both of this year’s first two quarters, according to the Current Economic Index released yesterday by MassBenchmarks, the journal published by the UMass Donahue Institute in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
“The recovery here has been driven by growth in the high tech, education and health-care sectors, which rely on a highly skilled labor pool,” said Michael Goodman, an editor at MassBenchmarks and chairman of the Department of Public Policy at UMass Dartmouth. “Massachusetts is a leading producer of those products and delivery of those services. So the way the (national) economy has been recovering has been playing to Massachusetts’ strengths.”