As the year comes to an end, dysfunctional Congressional politics continues to dominate the headlines, and rightly so. If left to fester, the related inability of Congress to step up to economic responsibilities would risk being associated with more than just sluggish growth or persistently high unemployment. It would also undermine the ability of many citizens to realize the American dream.
To repair its economy, the U.S. urgently needs finely-tuned macroeconomic policies and institutional changes. For this challenge, a rational voter would not rely on the Republican pseudoconservative political stance that, after helping to bring about the Great Recession, has foundered in self-contradiction.
The polarized politics of our time, joined with an appetite for pigeonholing, exert pressure on everyone to categorize themselves. Sometimes people declare themselves for "isms" that they have not plumbed. An example in point is conservatism. The politicians who now travel under the banner of "conservatism" happen to espouse views and methods that are incompatible with the philosophy bearing that name. Meanwhile members of the opposing political party have imbibed a dose of the wisdom conveyed by conservatism. This includes a cautious disposition to welcome expert reasoning about economic policy, reasoning of the sort desperately needed for recovery. When the details of this are made clear, so are voters' alternatives in the forthcoming election.