At its core, macroeconomics is not complicated. It offers a set of binary choices such as:

● You can raise taxes, or you can lower taxes. 

● You can increase spending, or you can decrease spending. 

● You can lower interest rates, or you can raise interest rates. 

● You can make more rules for business to comply with, or you can make fewer. 

● Etc. 

Mitt Romney and the Republicans aren’t just offering “more of the same old gruel,” as Carter suggests. I will admit, when Republicans were in power, we did mostly the right thing on taxes, but completely failed on spending. But today, we should learn from our mistakes and remember we don’t have many economic, or even social, problems that a couple of years of 4 percent GDP growth wouldn’t solve, or at least make a lot better. It would be wise to set a growth target and be able to explain how your policies are going to contribute to achieving the desired growth.

Carter tried to give Obama credit for having “governed from the center.” Obama’s only governed from the center because he hasn’t been able to go as far to the left as he really wants to. He was so disorganized when the Democrats had the House and Senate that all he produced was a bloated health-care bill whose constitutionality is in question, and whose costs are still being calculated.  That debacle produced the 2010 midterm elections where he lost the House and a few Senate seats, which has kept him from marching us to the left. If Obama were a dictator, he would embrace the left (I won’t say socialism) and everybody knows it.  He’s inhibited by the genius of our constitutional checks and balances, and by the reality that he couldn’t get elected if he said what he would really do. 

I won’t argue the point that Romney’s economic ideas offer “innovative thinking.” I will argue that his economic policies don’t need to. I’m not sure we need any new thinking, we need to return to the old thinking and demystify the equation for growth! We are not undertaxed, we overspend. We are not deficient in regulatory burdens, we are stifling innovation and wealth creation. We need to return to a common understanding that growth is achieved through limited government, that if you want less of something, you tax it.  If you want more of something, you subsidize it.  Romney needs to restore faith in the private sector, and the Democrats need to get over their fear that somewhere, somebody might be making some money.