With all due respect, there's something wrong with it (on both sides frankly). We are in the midst of what is undoubtedly the worst economic period since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, there is the worst gridlock in the history of the country, measured by cloture votes in the Senate. In terms of atmospherics, it stinks, or at least for those people who cannot go a few years without a decent economy. If Obama is a one term President, inasmuch as history tells the story of the one term, there will be plenty of ink spilled on those legislators (and we all know who they are) who simply refused to get anything done.
With all due respect, while the debt remains a serious problem, there does not appear to be reason to have faith in austerity measures or other measures designed to cut spending dramatically right now. Greece is a prime example of what happens here. The risk you run there, as here, is that spending cuts will hurt existing growth and then lead to lower tax revenue. Then, you are back where you started.
1) Austerity in most European countries has not taken the form of drastic spending cuts. It has taken the form of increased taxes (whether through tax increases or, in the case of Greece, actually collecting the taxes on the books). Almost all of the spending "cuts" have taken the form of cuts in the rate of spending. Any actual cuts, if there have been any, have been minimal. Even President Obama knows that raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea--the problem is the Europeans have generally decided to raise taxes.
2) Countries that have cut spending without raising taxes have seen much better results. Sweden, the Baltic States and Germany are examples of this. So is Canada. The spending cuts usually must be accompanied by structural reform (for example, Germany making it easier to fire workers, which made companies more willing to hire workers, especially younger ones). mercatus.org/expert_commentary/two-kinds-austerity
Have any other more notable policy explanations than ones provided by Mercatus? Not a big fan of organizations involving the Koch brothers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercatus_Center). Call me crazy.
For what it's worth, I am willing to accept immediate, significant cuts in both Medicare and Social Security as part of an overall plan to make structural changes, not short-term changes. I'm also willing to accept tax increases, again as long as they are accompanied by structural changes to entitlements. Those casting stones at us old folks, are you willing to see cuts in student loans? Or home mortgage deductions? Tell me what you are willing to accept that hurts you.
A significant limitation in the home mortgage interest deduction (only one home, and a cap on total deductible interest), means testing Social Security, actually allowing ALL of the cuts in last year's sequestration deal happen (rather than trying to take a mulligan on DOD cuts) and undoing a few of the Bush tax cuts - allow dividend and LT cap gains rates to rise slightly (20% +/-). All of that would at least give us a little more money to flush on health care costs.
Did you hear the one about the Norwegian that loved his wife so much that he almost told her?