Jobs Bill, Sliced And Diced.

Journalistically, it's hard to come up with a fresh angle for this story: The Senate is paring down an already stingy piece of jobs legislation after a vote yesterday failed to pass the original motion.

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Those are your no-votes, dear reader. With unemployment forecast to remain unreasonably high for years to come, Congress seems unwilling to invest in fiscal stimulus or even to craft legislation that might encourage broader private sector growth, like a new energy bill. These are the members who don't think we should tax the income of hedge funders and private equity managers the same as someone working minimum wage, the senators who think that the next few years of anemic growth and unemployment will resolve itself without government intervention. The legislators who believe that it's alright for states and cities to slash their budgets, cutting jobs people desperately need.

The American economic doldrums of the seventies were summed up with the term "stagflation." Since there seems to be no will to do anything productive about our current situation, and little promise of a better approach next year, perhaps we'd best come up with a new portmanteau. Somehow we can jam together "unemployment," "deflation" and "stagnation": Maybe "stunemflation"?

-- Tim Fernholz

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