Between the candidates’ debates and my conversations with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, it seems to me that there is a persistent, dangerous disconnect between our political conversation and reality. On the right, we’re still too focused on taxes, rather than on the spending that drives taxes. On the left, they’re . . . the Left, still, unfortunately for them.
With an eye on 2012, here are ten important but sometimes counterintuitive facts to keep in mind:
1. There is no austerity.
2. There was no deregulation.
3. You can’t trust Republicans on spending.
4. Wall Street loves Democrats.
5. People who voted for Barack Obama on civil-liberties grounds are fools.
6. If you aren’t for massive entitlement reform, you’re for massive tax hikes.
7. But taxing the rich won’t close the deficit.
8. The housing bubble was largely a political creation.
9. Well-meaning politicians are just as dangerous as self-serving ones.
10. There’s no way out of this jam without big cuts to popular programs.
The real debate isn’t whether to cut, only what and how much and when. (My preferred answers: almost everything, a lot, now.)