Among other hazards of the tightrope walk members of Congress are contemplating - balancing between raising tax revenues and cutting spending to reduce budget deficits - is that either could be a drag on the economic recovery. Enough of both would send the country into recession.
That is key because achieving full employment would help resolve many issues acknowledged by liberals and conservatives. A jobless rate near 4 percent would force employers to compete for workers.
Wages would rise. Any earnings gap between males and females would narrow. People working multiple jobs to make ends meet might be able to work one full-time position, resulting in openings for entry-level workers. And a healthy economy might be able to handle that without fueling inflation - all while generating more tax revenue
Perhaps lawmakers will dawdle long enough to allow this to happen. That may be our best hope.