BLEAK…. Gee, it sure does seem like this is the kind of news that might encourage policymakers to act.

Federal Reserve leaders marked down their expectations for growth and inflation last month, concluding that the economic recovery is proceeding more slowly than they had thought in the spring but that the slowdown did not warrant new policy actions.

But Fed leaders did agree to explore options for supporting the economy further in case conditions worsen.

So, the Fed isn’t going to help. House Dems might want to do something, but a) a whopping 58 House Dems are under the impression voters care more about deficit reduction; and b) the caucus knows nothing can pass the Senate anyway. President Obama wants to do something, but he doesn’t want to push for an economic measure that’s going to fail on the Hill. Senate Dems might want to do something, but they don’t have 60 votes, and would probably fail to hold onto Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, and Evan Bayh anyway.

Republicans are more than content to see the economy deteriorate, because it’s the centerpiece of their electoral strategy. Besides, with Dems fighting amongst themselves, GOP officials are giddy as children.

So, with weaker growth and an unemployment crisis, political paralysis means … nothing happens. That may seem overly harsh — some things, like an extension of unemployment benefits, will probably pass next week — but the economy needs a real boost, and it’s not going to get one.

Brian Beutler had a very good piece this today, explaining that even though Republican obstructionism is principally to blame, the result still “means we’re not going to see much in the way of economy-improving legislation in the months ahead.”

“Look at what we had to go through for the last eight weeks,” said Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley. “The fact is that we have a Republican party that’s betting on this President to fail. We’ll continue to look at additional efforts to provide help for the economy but the fact is in this heavily polarized Senate, it’s very difficult to get stuff done.”

Checkmate. Suddenly, a picture has emerged of Democrats stumbling toward November with nothing to show the unemployed, only to feel the full wrath of a disenchanted electorate.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.