Romney's Misleading Housing Chart
It's the truth. But not the whole truth. Is that too high a bar?
TAMPA, Florida—Mitt Romney understands the housing crisis — so much so that he clinically explained the causes of the boom and bust to reporters and a group of eight Floridians who are suffering through the aftermath — but he perhaps he should explain it to his graphics department.
The chart at the right, showing Florida home prices under President Barack Obama's presidency, is at odds with Romney's narrative that the housing bubble was a result government intervening in the marketplace. Placed behind Romney at Monday's roundtable event, it makes it seem that the decline in home prices is a bad thing — though Romney himself said the housing market needs to "hit the bottom."
Romney explained at Monday's event that until about 2000, home prices grew at just 1 percent annually when adjusted for inflation. The market grew at a pace many times that in the years leading up to the correction, which brought prices down closer to the historical mean.
Spotlighting what prices did under Obama alone is misleading under Romney's own description of what happened to the market over the past decade and a half.
Asked to explain why the chart, Lanhee Chen, Romney's policy director, told BuzzFeed Monday night that "we're showing a fact."
Which it is, but it's not the whole picture either.