Why did the numbers of independents surge this year? Because neither the Right nor the Left could provide satisfactory answers to the economic crisis: Capitalism, it seemed, could not be left to its own devices without resulting dramatic social repercussions. On the other hand, a nation bridled with great debt could not be depended on to spend its way out of crisis.
The Democrats are ignoring the debt crisis of the future by acting as if spending is the salve for all social wounds. The Republicans are ignoring the financial crisis of last year by blaming Obama for all government actions, including those initiated by Bush; instead, they choose to increase the shrillness of their rhetoric.
The economic crisis did demonstrate that government spending is sometimes necessary to ‘right the national ship.’ But our looming debt should remind us that such spending must be, in the vast majority of cases, a carefully considered economic investment.
The ideologies of the past must give way to a more pragmatic approach to spending and investment that acknowledges the tremendous, but not infinite, power of individualism to drive national growth.