The upcoming presidential election pits openly and directly two conflicting visions for the future. The Republicans, verified by the Ryan Budget endorsed by Romney, would reduce government spending and limit social programs which have defined the American way of life since FDR. They would do so at the expense of middle-class Americans.
At the same time the Republicans would enrich the wealthy by reducing their taxes, believing that trickle-down economics works. The father of the theory, David Stockman, who was Ronald Reagan’s budget director, has abandoned his belief that his theory works.
The Obama stimulus did work modestly, and saving the auto industry prevented the loss of thousands of jobs. Many economists argue that the stimulus should have been far larger than it was, thereby spurring growth rather than slowing unemployment.
The recession that began with Lehman Brothers and the housing bust cut deeper than most economists and government leaders understood. America nearly suffered a Great Depression that would have rivaled the original.
The 2012 campaign for president is a contest of those who believe austerity will result in economic growth by making the wealthy richer and those who would invest in education and infrastructure while managing responsibly the social programs that demand reform and funding from those able to contribute more.