Here is an excellent column summarizing just what the hold-up appears to be on the continuing, abysmal jobless numbers. A slight majority in Congress favors continued assistance to the unemployed and a minor stimulus package to boost employment; but as we've all learned, a majority can't get anything done in the Senate. But it is the Federal Reserve, overseen by Ben Bernanke, which is charged with maintaining low-inflation growth and full employment - and as recent reports (and statements by Bernanke) show, the Fed isn't so interested in the second half of that equation. Why?
Bernanke and friends fear that taking steps to open up the "money supply" - economics-speak for printing money to cause a temporary boost in economic growth - would spark unease in the "markets." (By which is meant, the 25-year-old bond market traders at Goldman Sachs.) So once again, Main Street is held hostage while leaders worry about the pocketbooks of investment bankers.