Here's why: Everyone knew that whoever was elected, the economy was obviously the Great Crisis, specifically, jobs, jobs, and jobs... in that order. Real job creation, not short-term government works projects. How do we get people back to work? Every other question paled in importance.
Then our new president announced "Fear not, Americans! I have a plan! A new healthcare entitlement program is on the way!".
"Ummm... whut?" America asked.
"Isn't that great?! Trust me, you'll love it. And don't listen to those who say we can't afford it right now just because the economy is in an iron lung. We have that all figured out. All the costs will be absorbed by EMPLOYERS and greedy fat cat industries like health insurance companies, Big Pharma and HMOs. That will show 'em!"
Personally, I was completely befuddled. Did he not see the economy going up like the Hindenburg? How would this help? Was he leading some parallel dimension USA where the economy was doing just fine? For the love of God, tell us how we're going to make jobs!
The oxygen FLED screaming from the room. Every sentient being in the solar system knew that the political fight would be a drawn-out and bloody, that the program if implemented would be gigantic, costly and complex... and that it would be run by the same bureaucratic geniuses who were doing such great work with Social Security, Medicare and other flagship social programs.
There simply was no forthcoming plan to boost the economy, other than to bail out the banks, have the Federal Reserve keep printing cash, and throw some stimulus money ("Hurray for wind and solar!") around. That was the whole bag of tricks.
Naturally, employers (the ones expected to largely foot the bill for ObamaCare) and investors spooked and the job market snapped shut and curled into a ball like a spiny anteater until someone could tell them for sure what the hell was going on. Because *nobody* knew what effect a colossal new healthcare program would have on the economy. No idea at all. It was like a black hole no one could see into.
There, for all practical purposes, we remain. Employers are deeply anxious and have no confidence in government leadership, and the same goes for investors (here and overseas).
But I hear next we'll be getting an immigration bill, and Nancy Pelosi tells us that free childcare is on the way, for all the moms desperate to get back to all those jobs they don't have. So there's that. Don't worry. I hear it will all be paid for by employers.