Herb Engstrom: At this time of TEA Party hysteria, Fox News mendacity, and GOP hypocrisy a government guarantee of universal employment might seem like a radical idea, although it seemed not to be so to Franklin Roosevelt.
Steven Conn: For thirty years inflation has not been a serious threat to the American economy, yet politicians and pundits continually fret about it. The never-ending worry about inflation is like fighting the last war rather than the current one. What’s needed today is a war on unemployment and wage stagnation, not inflation.
David A. Love: Part of the problem is Obama’s quixotic journey to the political center. There is nothing in the middle of the road but yellow lines and road kill, and you’d better believe it. Although his campaign rhetoric was progressive, this president chooses to govern from the middle.
Republicans, for their part, worry that if they tell it like it is Americans will want government to do more rather than less. They’d rather not talk about jobs and wages, and put the focus instead on deficit reduction (or spread the lie that by reducing the deficit we’ll get more jobs and higher wages).
Robert Reich: Not only do we need extended unemployment benefits. We need a new WPA, modeled after the WPA of the Great Depression, to put jobless Americans to work. We need a national infrastructure bank to rebuild our crumbling highways and water and sewer systems, thereby putting additional people back to work.
Joseph Palermo: The whole tenor of the next two years is going to feel like George W. Bush never left office. The GOP will have de facto control over the nation’s politics and agenda. If President Obama goes down the Clinton path of triangulating against his progressive base (as seems likely) then he deserves to be a one-term president.