In August 2011, Congress passed a strange piece of legislation intended to bind itself into the future. In spite of persistently high unemployment and an unremarkable deficit-to-GDP ratio, and in spite of public polling that consistently showed that creating jobs was the American public’s top priority, politicians inside the infamous Washington “Beltway” had spent months locked in a debate over ways to cut deficits and balance the federal budget—policies that would not create jobs and by some estimates would put millions out of work. This debate came to a head as Republicans refused to raise the nation’s debt ceiling without substantial budget cuts. Unable to come to terms, our “leaders” in Washington punted.
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