Fiscal Policy is the current political focus for conflict. While the economy tries to grow back out of the hole that resulted from lawless behavior, the conflict threatens to exacerbate the situation. The last quarter of 2012 saw the GDP shrink by 0.1% as a result of 1.2% growth in the private sector while the 1.3% of GDP cut by the military in anticipation of the cuts and the "fiscal cliff" exceeded that. Claims that Obama has increased the National debt by more than Bush fail to note TARP was signed by Bush, but point out the conflict is very political, with little reality.
The political Right claims that government is far too large, does not work, interferes with business growth, business is self correcting, the National Debt is unmanageably large and must be cut immediately, any cuts to the military are dangerous, and Entitlements are where the cuts must come from. They are proclaiming Saint Reagan had all the answers with supply side economics.
The political Left calls for reducing the debt with eliminating some tax cuts, cutting or reducing tax deductions, cutting military procurement instead of civil research, using some economic stimulus, and consumer protection.
Using evidence would lead to a much different path than Congress is following. While companies have large stockpiles of cash, and loan rates at record lows, business is growing very slowly with no demand and high unemployment, and no need to grow supply.
The huge increases in the National Debt have occurred under Reagan and G. W. Bush. The two have much in common with Reagan's Saving and Loan crash compared to Bush's Bank crash, Reagan's Grenada compared to Bush's Iraq, but Bush does it much larger. We continue to pay interest on Reagan's Starwars debt. While Republicans call Democrats "Tax and Spend", the Republicans have "Cut Taxes and Spend".
Failure to regulate the Savings & Loans or Banks have lead to economic problems. Business has not done well on the self regulation with Savings & loans, Junk bonds, Derivatives, Milkin, Prudhoe Bay spill, Exxon Valdez, Alaska pipeline oil spill, Enron, Blackwater, Madhof, Lehman Brothers, BP's Deep Water Horizon, with lack of adequate government regulation.
Since Social Security is paid for by participants over decades, and is stable for the medium future, this "Entitlement" is by virtue of having been paid for, and should be dealt with on its own, and cease being the cheap source of loans for Congress.
Medicare has more problems, with a Republican prohibition on it negotiating with pharmaceuticals and medical costs rising far faster than anything else. Medical Insurance companies are reaping profits with 20% overhead, compared to less than 3% for Medicare. Medical review seems more responsible than axing funds.
Since the U. S. spends more than the next 13 largest militaries in the world with 58% of the discretionary budget, I can not say cuts are dangerous, and indeed would result in less borrowing. U. S. policy has given military, economic, and political support which has later caused us problems, like Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Shah of Iran, Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, Ferdinand Marcos, General Suharto, Mobutu Sese Seko, Augusto Pinochet, Anastasio Somoza Sr. & Jr., Manual Noriega, Fulgencio Batiste, François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, Halie Selassie, Francisco Bahamonde Franco, and others. Support of the first two listed have lead to much of the current debt.
Much of the Right's positions are based on "Fundamentals", while US Fundamentalist oppose Middle Eastern Fundamentalists, both claiming the same book supports them in saying "God is on their side." They both deny it tells people not to kill or harm each other.
While the Left says spread the wealth, the Right opposes that, defending the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor.
Parting thought: "The Love of money is the source of all Evil."