Jobs, first. The headline unemployment number remains at 8.2 percent, although President Barack Obama cited the 84,000 new private sector jobs last month as “a step in the right direction.” He had the grace to add: “But we can’t be satisfied.” He can say that again. That 8.2 percent only measures people who have actively applied for a job in the last four weeks by going to an interview or filling out an application. It is not a relevant measure. People who have been unemployed for many months don’t go through the business of applying for a job every four weeks. …

Given that the median period of unemployment is now in the range of five months, vast numbers who want to work are just not counted. If we include, as we should, people who have applied for a job in the last 12 months, and those employed part time who want full-time work, the real unemployment number is closer to 15 percent. And we’ve made virtually no progress in reducing this number. We need 150,000 jobs every month just to take into account the people entering the labor force. Today we are looking at monthly job creation estimates of only 75,000 over the last three months.