In this presidential election season, amid a stubborn and sour economy for the majority of Americans, it may be useful to revisit the origin of our shared difficulties.

I found the recent decision of the Federal Reserve to spend $40 billion each month (or $480 billion annually) purchasing more toxic securities, with no expiration in sight, a sad reminder of how this mess started.

The toxic securities that took the nation down were created by the largest financial institutions in the country and the mess unraveled in 2007.

We already have spent $2.5 trillion attempting to absorb these toxic securities. This spending is unprecedented and because the crisis had global dimensions, is only a fraction of the true cost. This is what happens when banks chase paper dreams rather than make investments in the real economy.

No one should be surprised that the $840 billion in stimulus spending, which dedicated less than a third of funds ($240 billion) to attempts to promote job growth, has failed to create the jobs we need.

If such spending supported 3 million jobs as claimed, then we needed at least three times the spending that occurred to get back the estimated 9 million jobs that were lost.

One trillion dollars in real stimulus sure sounds like a better deal than buying toxic securities, doesn’t it?

Which reminds me: Those tax cuts for the rich cost about $3 trillion, and we got no help from that. None.

Voters this year must recognize that our economic troubles go a lot deeper than party affiliation.

Vote for economic growth.

I hope that either candidate intends to pass an immediate, emergency $1 trillion or so in second-round stimulus.

It is a lot cheaper in the long run.

Matt Hopkins