The conventional wisdom that if unemployment sticks around double digits for the next year, the Democrats are hosed in 2010. I think this CW has the unexpected advantage of being not only conventional, but also legitimately wise. So the question becomes: If Democrats know their fortunes hold hands with employment, how should they try to create jobs?
Max Fisher at the invaluable Atlantic Wire harvests some ideas from around the web: More money for the states; more public works projects; more stimulus; more small business loans; a payroll tax holiday for everybody(!). Some of those sound politically unfeasible (there will be no second stimulus) or insufficient (small business loans and public work projects) or a little too left-fieldish (payroll tax holiday). But I like the idea of relying on the states.
Gerald Seib, peddling the thought in the WSJ, begins with some history. The last time unemployment hit the current high of 9.8% in 1982, it stayed there for a year and Republicans lost 26 House seats in the mid-terms -- and that was when our recoveries weren't all jobless!
So what to do in 2009? Seib suggests that we marry a Republican plan to reward hiring firms with tax credits with a direct state stimulus plan, which would have biggest backing from Democrats. I like this idea for a couple reasons: 1) It combines tax incentives and the brute strength of government spending; 2) It targets some of the leading job-loss columns like education; 3) It stands a shot at bipartisan support.