Mountains

Solve jobs problem before arguing over the credit

San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco, CA

If you were to chart jobless numbers over the past three years, it would be flat-lining right now at a low point. Some 12.7 million Americans are looking for work, and in June only 80,000 landed jobs, a rate that barely keeps up with population growth.

The picture, in other words, is bad and unlikely to change much. Between now and the November election, there will be four more such monthly reports to see if the 8.2 percent unemployment rate improves. Don’t bet on it.

The factors are well known. The Eurozone economies are sickly and won’t revive soon. Major economies such as China and Brazil are slowing too. The United States, by far the biggest and most diverse, can’t escape untouched.

Add homegrown troubles to the list. The Federal Reserve, having dropped bank borrowing rates to near zero, is scrambling for more answers, which it may introduce in August. Another major obstacle is the “fiscal cliff” deadline of January when Bush tax cuts will expire and huge trims in federal programs are due — barring a deal to sidestep this monumental disruption. Who wants to lend or hire in this fog of uncertainty?

Neither President Barack Obama nor his GOP challenger Mitt Romney had much new to say in the wake of the June jobless numbers. That’s because Obama is paralyzed by Washington’s failure to deal with the fiscal showdown at year’s end and Romney trotted out his familiar lineup of lower taxes and less regulation. ...

... Neither side wants to cut a deal before the results are in. But given present polling, neither side is poised for a sweeping win that will hugely change the picture.

Leadership and responsibility will have to wait. A balanced, negotiated answer must be found for the sake of country and especially the jobless.

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