(I’ll probably have some real-time bon mots about the debate on my Twitter feed )
Thoughts turn to tonight’s Presidential debate, which is scheduled to focus on domestic issues, particularly the economy. These debates actually matter less than the media would have you believe , at least according to the political science literature. But they may be crucial in ways outside the mere political sphere and in terms of the policy going forward.
Simply put, there’s a potential here to refocus this entire race, which has flown off onto tangents at every opportunity. As Jim Tankersley ably explains today, the biggest challenge facing working families in America right now is this: can I find a job at a good wage, and can the millions of others who want to work find one too?
The question is, “Why aren’t you seriously trying to solve the jobs crisis?”
The so-called “jobs plans” both candidates have put forth are, put simply, nowhere near aggressive enough to close the gap between where the economy should be right now and where it actually is, due to the Great Recession and the feeble recovery that followed it.
Voters understand this — just look at how many of them tell pollsters they’re not confident either candidate will improve the economy. Now, Lehrer needs to force the candidates to explain themselves. They’ll filibuster and offer platitudes.
Lehrer should not relent. He should say this: “Gentlemen, 13 million Americans want to work today but can’t find jobs. According to the nonpartisan Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, the economy remains 11 million jobs short of where it should be, by historical trends.”
Tankersley then goes through the jobs plans of the two candidates, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the near-term jobs crisis. They