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Must Read: Change the Debate from Deficit to Jobs

Most Democrats get it that if the nation’s jobs numbers aren’t a whole lot better a year from now, or at least moving in the right direction, they’ll be looking at a possible wipe-out in 2012. Problem is, few if any Democratic proposals for juicing the economy and creating jobs have any hope of passing Congress, where Republicans control the House and have effective veto power in the Senate. As E.J. Dionne notes in his Washington Post column today, the only ideas with any hope of getting Republicans on board involve tax and spending cuts, which Democrats think are as likely to hurt as to help the economy. Republicans, meanwhile, are in no hurry to shift the debate from debt to investing in (i.e. spending on) job creation, because “they gain twice over from keeping Washington mired in discussions on the deficit”: First, Republicans benefit from a bad economy; second, “they will always outbid Democrats on spending cuts.” So … Democrats are basically screwed? Not necessarily, Dionne argues – but it’ll take a decisive intervention from Obama to save them. As Sen. Sherrod Brown tells him, “The president has got to get this discussion more on jobs and less on the budget,” opening up some space for policies that might actually create jobs. Otherwise, we’ll end up with “a deficit deal that ignores the unemployed,”– which is to say, a disaster for both ordinary Americans and the Democrats.

‘Gridlocking the Lives of the Jobless’ [E.J.Dionne/Washington Post]

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