Jobs, or lack thereof
Of course unemployment, for lack of a better term, sucks rusty nails. I've been there, and am lucky to have a job with a local, private company with good growth prospects. Unfortunately my much more intelligent and talented spouse M_ is now looking for a place for her skills and knowledge.
In that vein, there was an excellent economic article yesterday in Slate by Daniel Gross, skewering a few economic myths. Chiefly I tend to agree with the ones regarding economic productivity, job growth, and how it relates to large-scale tax policies.
But the stock answers that conservatives give to employment problems are being proved false. Are Americans lazier today than they were a few years ago? If so, why aren't low marginal tax rates making them less lazy? How about those generous unemployment and welfare benefits, which are supposed to be a disincentive to work? There's less of a safety net today than there was in the 1990s. Could it be John Kerry and his relentless pessimism? If jobs can be willed into existence through a sunny disposition, we should replace Elaine Chao with Kelly Ripa.He also links to this handy chart of employment by percentage of population.