As Members of Congress prepare to run for reelection next November, concern in Washington is growing about the state of the economy as voters are actually experiencing it in their daily lives. For all its imperfections, this is democracy at work. Right now, if legislators want to keep their jobs they're going to have to think about how to keep the rest of us in ours (and get 8 million or so of us back to work). At least, this holds true for Democrats - Republicans may be able to coast along by blaming it all on the majority.
It's finally gotten bad enough for Congress to talk about another stimulus, or at least "potential strategies for accelerating job creation" in the words of the White House. Congress should avoid the same pitfalls that left the last stimulus bill smaller and less effective than it could have been. Had we focused less on tax cuts and more on food stamps, aid to states and cities, and health coverage for the unemployed we might not be staring down 10% unemployment today. Had we worked to empower embattled homeowners rather than heedlessly bailing out banks, we might not still be seeing hundreds of thousands of families thrown out of their homes while bank execs go back to bonus land.
Let's get it right this time.
*** UPDATE ***
Just saw Chris Bowers post from yesterday parsing the politics of an inadequate stimulus and an ill-conceived bank bailout in greater detail. To what extent can we make up for the missed opportunity?