As we’ve not­ed with the pas­sage of the debt ceil­ing “deal” ear­li­er today in the House, there is plen­ty not to like. From the capit­u­la­tion of the oth­er Wash­ing­ton’s Democ­rats on core beliefs to a lack of rev­enue, no longer can Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and his sup­port­ers in Con­gress claim the man­tle of change. And now we can add one more casu­al­ty to the list: jobs and unem­ployed work­ers. Accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics there are near­ly 14 mil­lion peo­ple who are unem­ployed across the nation, and this leg­is­la­tion does noth­ing to address that issue. No new jobs and no exten­sion of ben­e­fits. Nothing.

Per­haps if the Pres­i­dent and Con­gress spent more time and effort on putting peo­ple to work, the Amer­i­can econ­o­my would rebound faster. Instead, one of the great­est prob­lems fac­ing our econ­o­my goes unad­dressed.

More imme­di­ate­ly, but equal­ly trou­bling, this agree­ment would not address our most press­ing eco­nom­ic prob­lem: lack of jobs. On the con­trary, by reduc­ing deficits start­ing next year, this deal would do the very oppo­site of what vir­tu­al­ly every main­stream econ­o­mist now believes we should do: increase con­sumer demand by pump­ing more mon­ey into the econ­o­my. At one point, the debt ceil­ing agree­ment includ­ed promis­es to extend unem­ploy­ment insur­ance and renew a break on the pay­roll tax. Those two would have pro­vid­ed a mod­est but very real boost to the econ­o­my (not to men­tion finan­cial relief to peo­ple who need it). This deal would do neither.

Just one month ago, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma acknowl­edged that  putting peo­ple to work was the most seri­ous eco­nom­ic prob­lem fac­ing the Unit­ed States.

Today the sin­gle most seri­ous eco­nom­ic prob­lem we face is get­ting peo­ple back to work,” Oba­ma told employ­ees of Cree, a Durham com­pa­ny that makes LEDs used in ener­gy-effi­cient lights. “We sta­bi­lized the econ­o­my. We pre­vent­ed a finan­cial melt­down. An econ­o­my that was shrink­ing is now growing.

“But I’m still not sat­is­fied,” Oba­ma said. “I will not be sat­is­fied until every­one who wants a good job that offers some secu­ri­ty has a good job that offers some security.”

Has the sit­u­a­tion changed all that much in one month? Not even marginally.

To be sure, the Pres­i­dent would argue that he got the best deal he could in this sit­u­a­tion.  But when the nego­ti­a­tions start­ed  from the cen­ter-right and the solu­tion is right-wing, how hard did the Pres­i­dent actu­al­ly fight for work­ing fam­i­lies? It’s one thing to aspire to greater heights than thought pos­si­ble and to use inspi­ra­tional rhetoric to get there. How­ev­er, when the rhetor­i­cal gym­nas­tics don’t match the actions, as in this case, it’s hard not to see Oba­ma and Con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats as (with apolo­gies to Shake­speare), full of sound and fury, sig­ni­fy­ing nothing.

To allow a small, vocal fac­tion of one par­ty (which only con­trols one house of one branch of gov­ern­ment) to hijack the leg­isla­tive process and hold it hostage, shows either an incom­pe­tence or an irre­spon­si­bil­i­ty nev­er before seen in Con­gress or the White House. Either way, it’s shame­ful. Rome is burn­ing and the Pres­i­dent and Con­gress are adding fuel to the fire.

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