It must be terribly inconvenient for the Obama White House to be reminded every quarter and every month that the $800 billion stimulus — and subsequent mini-stimuli — failed to ignite the boom Obama economists repeatedly predicted through the first term. The president has so many higher priorities, after all: immigration reform, gun control, climate change, income inequality. Stuff with which to build a legacy.

Faster growth and faster job creation apparently don’t make the cut. A president deeply concerned about growth would perhaps have followed a few more of the recommendations of his own Jobs and Competitiveness Council before letting it expire, as Obama did last week. Sure, Obama acted on agenda items that comfortably synced with his ideology, like retrofitting government buildings for energy efficiency. But he ignored commonsense ideas that didn’t mesh, such as expanding domestic oil and gas drilling and revamping the corporate tax code. More high-skill immigration? Sorry, it will have to wait for comprehensive immigration reform. …

But right now output growth and job growth aren’t even back to trend. And that means every month the output and jobs gaps grow a bit wider. With an economy that hasn’t hummed since the 1990s, we’ve already had one lost decade. If we begin to accept and acquiesce to the creeping new normalcy, America risks suffering its own lost generation. Someone right now needs to say “Enough” — and then back up those words with action. It would be helpful if that person were Obama.