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Matthews on Wall Street's reality check

Let me finish tonight with today's reality check. The reality we're getting from Wall Street today is clear as the closing bell.

Let me finish tonight with today's reality check. 

The reality we're getting from Wall Street today is clear as the closing bell. People are scared, scared enough to be pulling their money out, to be stacking up their dollars where they can see them and nobody can get at them.

Fear. That's the reality out there in the land today - and the question before the President is what's he going to do about it?

It's time to recognize - isn't it! - that we're in a period of recession. Corporate America isn't hiring people.  It's finding every way it can not to hire people. 

So even a modest pick-up in the economy doesn't mean there's going to be a pick-up in job creation. 

Want to bet on something today?  Bet on the jobless number staying high up there in the 9 category. Bet on this country's corporations to continue finding any way they can to make money without hiring full-time employees, the kind who wants a good income and health care and a retirement plan. Bet on corporate America to keep going with overtime, part-time, temporary, overseas, whatever it takes to avoid hiring Americans.

This is what the president's been up against and this is the backstory to the current loss of faith.

Why would anyone have faith in the jobs market today? Give me a reason. Growth is stymied. We may be headed toward a second dip.  And even if we head upward a bit the people making hiring decisions are finding ways not to.

You know why we don't have inflation? It's because there aren't any shortages to drive the prices up. We've got factories with unused capacity. We've got a workforce almost 20 percent operating at either under-employment or downright unemployment. It's the way it is and it's not a condition that makes for stout hearts or shopping sprees. People are sitting on their money and thinking of how they can find a deeper hole, a stronger safe to lock it in.

So it's up to the President to lead us out of it. If he's counting on corporate America to be the U.S. cavalry and come to the rescue, he's been looking at his "hope" poster too long.

If he's counting on the boardroom to make it any easier for him to stay in the Oval Office, he's completely deluded.  Republicans don't think Democrats belong in the White House and most business people are Republicans. 

So today's a good day, Mr. President, to get your people thinking what the government can do to put people to work - public service jobs, public works jobs. It's time to pass out the shovels and get people to work.  The deficit is high.  It will get higher if the jobless rate gets any higher. 

Your only choice is whether you want the deficit to rise from people being thrown out of work or from being put to work. I recommend the latter.  Seeing people being thrown out of work spreads dread. Seeing people being put to work spreads confidence.