"Jobs" Bill Headed for Passage

| Mon Feb. 22, 2010 6:50 PM EST

Finally, some bipartisanship: Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) joined all but one Democrat present in voting to defeat a GOP filibuster of the Senate's "jobs" bill. The legislation will now move to a final up-or-down vote, scheduled for Wednesday. Jon Chait has the definitive take on why this happened:

It tells you that these [GOP] Senators recognized that the legislation is essentially symbolic, and therefore a good time to burnish their moderate credentials rather than spend political capital to advance their party's agenda.

Exactly. While it's all well and good that Democrats and Republicans could finally get bipartisan agreement on something, a couple billion dollars in payroll tax cuts isn't going to solve the nation's unemployment crisis. At around $15 billion, the so-called "jobs" bill represents around one-tenth of one percent of the total output of the American economy over the year ahead, and less than one-half of one percent of total federal spending over that period. It doesn't get much more symbolic than that.