Washington (CNN) – Forget hurricanes and earthquakes, the most lasting American disaster remains the jobs crisis.
This week, American Sauce asks two questions: Why are jobs still comatose? And does the unemployment rate truly capture the scope of the problem?
Hint: government and politicians are lynchpins in both.
Comment below. Or keep reading for more.
Why aren't jobs recovering yet?
Paul LaMonica, assistant managing editor of CNN Money, points to two reasons: big business and small business.
First big businesses, many of which LaMonica says are sitting on piles of cash that could be used to hire.
Instead, those companies are freezing in uncertainty.
"They're worried about consumers not spending," LaMonica said, "and they're also worried about the ineptitude of Washington these days."
The second issue: small businesses. In contrast to large companies, LaMonica's analysis is that small businesses do not have the cash or flexibility to hire right now. Their margins are too close and any expansion, if only a single employee, could risk the entire business.
What is the solution?
LaMonica points to one answer he hears from economists: targeted stimulus.
"Not just throwing money at a wall," he clarified, "but stimulus geared toward education, high-tech, things of that nature could help the job market."
The problem? "Stimulus" has become a politically dirty word.
"It all comes down to the deficit right now," LaMonica said, "we have a political environment...where everyone is focused on getting the debt situation in the U.S. in order."
Not that the deficit can be ignored.
"Make no mistake, that's extremely important," LaMonica put forth, "But at the same token... it's going to do little good to the U.S. if we cut the deficit, get spending down, but then we have little growth."
Listen to more, including our idea for a deficit vs. jobs faceoff, in this week's podcast.
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– CNN's Dan Szematowicz and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux contributed to this report.