America now has 17 million unemployed, up from the normal level of about 7 million. This is directly effecting something like 40 million, counting their families. And the worst thing about unemployment is not the loss of income per se, but the permanent damage to the unemployed and their families.
If this were unavoidable, that would be one thing, but it's not, and so it is wrong to let it happen. Partly this is being done out of ignorance, but there are economic and political forces driving this ignorance.
The rich do not want the necessary spending because they might have to pay, and the Republican politicians don't want to see unemployment reduced because high unemployment is what damages Obama most.
We could. As every politician knows, ear-marking federal money for their district creates jobs. That is the main reason they want earmarks. In good times, when unemployment is as low as it will go, this won't work.
But whenever there's excess unemployment, it will work—hence the desire for earmarks. Now I am not(!) advocating earmarks. I'm saying we know how to reduce unemployment — just hire people. All the crazy supply-side rhetoric in the world will not wash away that simple fact. (see What to Do)