One reason I find this debate hard to enter decisively is because I don't know what the solution is. I do not have the expertise to figure out what mix of spending and tax-cutting is the best tailored to this particular down-turn, how much stimulus is required, how much would be too much, how much too little. Usually, in policy debates, I try to ask myself what my ideal might be and then figure out why that can't work, and come to some kind of conclusion. But on this, I don't know where to start.
Worse: I read all these economists and the "once-in-a-century event" we're experiencing seems to leave the honest ones among them flummoxed as well - or at a minimum open to debate. More importantly, some kind of decision is necessary since the economy is indeed in flux and inaction could be as momentous as action. From all this, I'm not alarmed that this process is messy or contentious within some limits. But it also seems to me that this president and this new Congress were elected in part to address this issue, that their more interventionist stand was clear, and that they should both get the benefit of the doubt - as well as full responsibility for the consequences.
The GOP has every right to resist; but they should surely understand that they lost the last election; that they have no credibility on fiscal discipline; and that, when push comes to shove, it may be the responsible thing in a crisis like this to be a little more gracious in setting aside hardball partisanship.