What's intriguing today is the thunderclap unheard. It's the greatest jobs crisis in three-quarters of a century. All political hands are on deck for health care. But to most Americans, the storm is elsewhere.
More than 6 million Americans have been unemployed for at least a half-year. That's double the previous record for long-term unemployment, in the early 80s, since tracking began in 1948. The Obama administration projects at least a 9 percent unemployment rate until 2011.
The Pew Research Center reported Thursday morning that a majority, 54 percent, say that someone in their household has been without a job or has looked for work in the past year. Only 39 percent said the same last February.
One in five adults say they have lost their job in the past year. And there is pervasive anxiety among those with jobs. One in four workers believe they will likely be asked to take a pay cut or be laid off in the coming year.
This explains why a majority, 52 percent, views the most important issue today as the economy and jobs. The second most important issue is health care, at only 13 percent, according to a February CBS/New York Times Poll.
Yet Washington's priorities appear to be the inverse.
18 March 2010
In The Frenzy Over Health Care, What About Jobs?
Obama, Dems Fighting the Wrong War: Health Care Amid Jobs Crisis