A Daunting Problem
But first, let’s be clear about how desperately Americans crave creative problem-solving. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, 53 percent of Americans say jobs are the most important problem in the country. Only 7 percent name the budget deficit. Every other issue is at 2 or 3 percent.
And the scope of the problem is daunting. More than 14 million people are unemployed, and almost half of them have been out of work for more than 27 weeks. Labor Department figures released Thursday show that applications for jobless benefits increased to 418,000 in the week ended July 16, more than forecast.
I’m hoping that when the debt-ceiling crisis ginned up by Republicans finally eases, Obama will move toward an imaginative jobs agenda that can actually start to put a dent in these figures in the short term.
More likely, he’ll repeat the ideas he has already floated, like extending the payroll-tax holiday, creating an infrastructure bank or offering a job-creation tax credit of $5,000 (on average) for every net new worker hired by business.
Copyright 2011 The National Memo