The political community has so far been unable to revive an economy operating so far below capacity. One critical question is how to disaggregate the forces for decline into those that are cyclical and those which are structural. The latter cannot be easily cured; they reflect such forces as globalization and dramatic technological change enabling companies to employ fewer workers and an educational system that simply is not doing enough to train workers for the higher standards of a modern economy.
The irony is that the Obama administration expended its political capital on healthcare and its social welfare agenda in lieu of a range of policies to nurture strong, durable economic growth. We have instead what might be called the "Less Economy." Unemployment and underemployment mean that as many as a stunning 30 million Americans are now facing less work and less reward for the work they can get.