All these — and many more — were ignored by Congress. Even seemingly obvious steps, like continuing federal emergency benefits for the large number of long-term unemployed, have been blocked. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 19 states — mostly with Republican governors — have declined Mr. Obama’s Medicaid expansion plan.
In its most recent budget, the White House put forth a robust plan for wage insurance, a concept with much support among economists. Under it, a worker who lost his or her job and was forced to take a lower-wage one that paid less than $50,000 per year would receive half of the lost wages for two years, up to $10,000.
Like many of Mr. Obama’s proposals, that wouldn’t be a game changer for working-class Americans, but it would have been a constructive piece of a more comprehensive solution.