"I didn't have a full appreciation of how frugal we were going to have to be and how profligate their spending was."
Beth Myers, senior Romney aide
This above quote from the WSJ analysis on election day results caught my attention. In the context of the article, it was in regards to the widely reported belief that a strategic decision by the Obama campaign to ramp up spending during a hush time for Romney's campaign served to win the election for Obama by more forcefully defining Romney when he was defenseless.
There's no question that the Democrats are spend and tax, and the Republicans are about austerity and frugality at the public level; taken in this context, I think the election campaign, and in particular the above quote, can also serve as a microcosm of how effective policy decisions may be for the country in the long run. If applied in this metaphorical manner, I think Beth Myer's quote may be prescient as to how the US economy will fare in the coming years and decades. If the Krugmam-ish spending mentality does take hold, it may become a gross understatement to define it as "profligate". If the Tea Party-ish austerity measures take hold, it may cut so much as to leave the country defenseless, especially after the crippling in-fighting that would have to take place between entitlement beneficiaries and the Republicans axing their programs. Given how this microcosm of the general election played out, it becomes easy to conclude that Keynesian deficit spending will have to take its course in order for this country to remain strong and show as few signs of weakness as possible. To do otherwise may put us in an indefensible position, much like where the Romney campaign found itself before August - such a position may result in ultimate defeat in the long run.
Although it is this author's position that no small amount of austerity is necessary in this country, my position remains that strategic, short-term deficit spending is a necessary evil.