The myth of the political center persists despite the evidence that it does not – cannot – exist. Politics is not a game divorced from the reality of our daily lives. Politics determines how we live. Economics is not an esoteric parlor game; it is the basis of the political policies designed to put bread on our tables.
Economic theories are either right or wrong. If they are right, there’s bread. If they are wrong, no bread.
It’s like math. Either 2 and 2 add up to 4, or not. You can compromise and agree they add up to 3, but you would be wrong.
President Obama and the Democrats have one view of America’s economy; Mitt Romney and the Republicans have a totally different vision.
They can’t both be right. And there’s no plausible middle ground.
Paul Krugman and Robert Reich are either right or wrong. If they are right, America must invest in development and infrastructure to buy our way out of the economic doldrums. And that’s the path Democrats would follow if they win control of the government.
If Milton Friedman and Martin Feldstein are right, and the answer to recession is austerity, then the Republicans would be the true saviors of America.
But one thing is clear: there’s no middle ground here. You can’t invest in the future and cut back government spending at the same time. The two paths go in different directions; you go one way or the other.
You can either lavish tax cuts and subsidies on rich individuals and global corporations, hoping that their spending will create jobs, as Romney proposes, or you can take a little more from the rich to fund programs that stimulate the economy and create jobs, as Obama suggests.
You can’t do both.
We go to the races and we place our bet. If our horse wins, we get paidoff. If our horse loses, it’s just too bad.
That’s what we will be doing in November. Placing our bet. Personally, my horse is Obama.
I could be right. Or I could be wrong. But I see no middle ground.
If the government invests a little and cuts back a little, as some pundits – and the polls – seem to be suggesting, failure will be certain.
As my mother used to say, “Between two stools you fall to the ground.”