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"Because Obamacare has rolled out terribly, Obama's approval ratings are in the toilet," Weisenthal writes. "This is a very welcome turn of events for the Republican party, which just over a month ago was in the toilet itself approval-wise. Republicans now have a good hand to play going into next November, and the only way they could obviously screw it up is by doing something stupid like shutting down the government again."
The one-two punch of bad publicity from the government shutdown and the Obamacare rollout, in other words, forced both sides to play nice and make a deal. And make a deal they have -- the budget compromise currently waiting approval from the Senate and the House would roll back about half of the sequestration cuts to medical, education, and defense jobs for the next two years.
There are other reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the economy. Jobs are growing faster than expected, and unemployment is at a five-year low.
"Jobs numbers are firming up. Auto sales are growing like crazy. Gasoline prices are dropping. State and local governments are no longer shedding workers. Credit is expanding nicely to both businesses and households," Weisenthal writes.
The PayScale Index forecasts relatively soft wage growth of 0.8 percent for Q4 2013, but only time will tell if these first glimmers of hope lead to a brighter picture for 2014.
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