Inside Augusta

Sorensen crushes liberal spin on Maine’s economy

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Maine’s liberals are at it again, cherry picking data in an attempt to portray Gov. Paul LePage’s economic policies as unsuccessful.

On social media and via Democratic Websites, liberal activists are touting a click-bait blog post from Business Insider that allegedly shows Maine’s economy is under performing.

But on Tuesday David Sorensen, communications director for the Maine Republican Party, blasted liberals’ arguments to smithereens simply by pointing up comments made by local Maine economists.

“[T]he Dems like to compare the raw number of jobs or GDP growth in Maine to other states’ since the recession.  Here’s what nonpartisan Maine Department of Labor chief economist Glenn Mills has to say about that:
“Every news release that puts us at the bottom for GDP growth or any of the other things is no surprise,” Mills said. . . . Mills said the state was relatively insulated to the impact of the financial crisis, compared with places like New York City where finance jobs dried up or Arizona and Nevada where the real estate market rapidly collapsed. “We had many industries that were hit hard, but our economic structure is not such that we’re heavily weighted to any of the really bad industries that went down so much,” Mills said, noting that resurgence in industries like car manufacturing has also led areas of the country to bounce back more quickly than Maine.

Sorensen then brings up remarks from John Haskell, editor of the Bangor Daily News blog Pinetreeconomics. Haskell, who does not identify as a supporter of either LePage or the Maine Republican Party, wrote the following:

“And the problem I have with some of the Dem platform is that arguments lack critical thought. For instance, while I disagree with LePage on his economic policies, the Dem criticisms that Maine lags in job creation is specious. Maine’s economic/job growth is constrained somewhat by demographics, and Maine did not fall off the cliff jobs wise following the 2008 recession like some other states did. Steeper dive, steeper climb–hence states like Nevada, which saw its labor market pummeled when the housing market collapsed have had higher job growth rates over the past few years . . . but guess which state is closer to its pre-recession job levels, Maine or Nevada

According to Sorensen, the better indicator of Maine’s economic health is the employment-to-population ratio. But don’t take his word for it. According to his press memo (and the BDN), that’s the opinion of DOL’s chief economist Glen Mills:

Mills said that he considers [the employment-to-population ratio] alongside other measures, but prefers using it to compare Maine to other states and to gauge the overall health of the economy, particularly as the state’s demographic trends have long indicated this would be a period of slow growth in other regards. 

Sorensen’s grand finale is using liberals’ most honored source for news and facts — The New York Times — to rebut their central economic argument. The June 16 NYT he links to ranks Maine’s economy among the top three states in terms of the important employment-to-population growth measurement.

Maine’s liberal media are sure to cover economic matters as they relate to the governor’s race. But what are the chances they give fair treatment to the well-reasoned, thoroughly sourced and non-partisan arguments Sorensen presents?

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently producer for the Howie Carr Show. Follow him on Twitter @Stevie_Rob or send him an email at Steve@HowieCarrShow.com.

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