The U.S. has been in a jobs emergency since at least 2008. The cause of the crisis -- too little demand -- isn’t mysterious, and neither are the solutions. We could invest in infrastructure to create construction jobs. We could give tax breaks to employers who hire new workers. We could restore the payroll tax cut to workers so they have more money to spend. We could help state and local governments hire back some of the employees they laid off during the recession. Macroeconomic Advisers, an economic consulting firm, found that the American Jobs Act, which contained many of these policies, would have created 2 million jobs.
The 2012 election is looking better for President Barack Obama. In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, he opened a six-point lead against Mitt Romney -- a finding confirmed in two other polls this month by Rasmussen and Reuters-Ipsos.
After the failure of the 1973 Geneva Peace Conference, the Israeli diplomat Abba Eban sighed that “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” In recent years, the same could be said of Americans.
Here’s the general theory of legislative failure: Political polarization leads to congressional gridlock, and congressional gridlock leads to legislative inaction. If Congress can’t get its act together, then the worst that happens is nothing gets done.