WILL: Not much. First of all, 80,000 isn't nearly enough to accommodate even the natural growth month by month of -- of the workforce. There are two bits of good news in there. The 80,000 is a net number. The private sector created 104,000 jobs; the public sector, happily, shrank by 24,000 jobs. Both of that's good.
Here's the bad news: 46 percent of the unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more; 4 million Americans have been unemployed for a year. We know what happens. It's got human capital depreciation. Skills decay. The very spirit that causes people to engage in economic life decays. The result is, if you've been unemployed for six months or more, your lifetime earnings are apt to decline by 20 percent under what they would have been by natural trajectory.
AMANPOUR: And, Niall, it doesn't look, according to this poll, that people have much faith in that it's going to get any better. Where do you see the trajectory?
FERGUSON: Well, I think here people actually turn out to be better economists than economists, because the consensus view, if you go back to '08-'09, was that if you hit the economy with a big monetary stimulus, zero interest rates, quantitative easing, and then a big stimulus on the fiscal side, with a 10 percent of GDP deficit, there would be a V-shaped recovery and the U.S. would bounce back like it did after most recessions post-1945, but people recognize that this isn't an ordinary recession.
And the real problem is the drag on consumer spending of the great debt that households accumulated over the last 10 or 15 years. And I think that debt makes it easy to see that there won't be a great bounce at any point soon. It's a very slow process, paying down that debt, and it restrains Americans from going out -- going out to the shopping malls. And that, after all, was the main driver of growth in the glory years before the crash. It was consumption.
AMANPOUR: There's a bit of a, Arianna, a national sort of funk, isn't there, to Niall's point?
HUFFINGTON: Well, I think what's happening is that there is a sense of a bit of Groundhog Day feeling, that every Friday, the first Friday of each month, we get these job numbers, and, really, nothing is fundamentally changing.
And the most depressing thing is, really, what was in Ron Suskind's book, Paul Volcker quoting Larry Summers, saying that politicians, when it comes to reform, just want to be caught trying. And you saw that in your interview with John Boehner. He's laminated proof of how he's trying to create jobs. You see the president in front of crumbling bridges that have been crumbling ever since he's been in the White House, but suddenly we're getting closer to 2012, so he wants to be seen to be trying to create infrastructure jobs.
But it's all a show. And the American people sense it, that there's no real effort or will to create jobs, because there are many ideas out there about how it could be done, but it's not happening.
AMANPOUR: Let me just show you, Matt -- I wanted you to weigh in on this -- show you some numbers about who the American people sort of blame and hold responsible for this. Basically, in October, the president had a 15-point advantage over congressional Republicans on the question of who the public trusts to handle jobs. And a month later, our new ABC News-Washington Post poll has them tied at 40 percent, which is a big drop for the president. In terms of pure politics, what does this mean?