Editorial: Congress: Back to task on jobs
In less than two weeks, Congress returns to work after a long summer recess. Hopefully, it will get right to work on measures to boost the economy.
The sluggish return from the deepest recession since the Great Depression has been difficult and is still ongoing. Unemployment is in double-digits and the stock market continues to languish.
Mortgage foreclosures' continue to mount, yet mortgage rates are at their lowest level in decades. Money is tight; no one is borrowing. America's largest corporations are sitting on $1 trillion in capital, yet none are hiring and manufacturing is at a standstill. Why?
The economy is something we must work at, and Congress must decide what, if any, public measures are needed to push the private sector into high gear. That was Part II of President Barack Obama's address to the nation the other night.
"For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation's long-term competitiveness is put at risk," the president said.
"We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs," he said.
Passing a small business jobs bill should be one of the first things Congress can do when it returns to work. It should look at other ways to stimulate private sector movement without running up huge amounts of more deficit spending. Still, the pump needs to be primed.
Many argue that the massive federal stimulus bill hasn't done its work to put America back to work, but that portion of the bill which provided direct funding to jobs - road and bridge construction - did just that, created thousands and thousands of jobs.
Bill Clinton operative James Carville, during the 1992 presidential campaign, coined the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid." That couldn't be more true today.