Paul Krugman ("The Pain Caucus") writes that our economic problems stem from inadequate re-distribution because of (everyone else's) mean-spiritendess.
Mark Steyn ("We're too broke to be this stupid") says that politicized redistribution (here and abroad) got us into the mess, but we are now too poor to stay with it. Politicians here and abroad make promises they cannot keep.
Becker and Posner describe how and why social and economic policies in Europe came to be that way -- and why Americans should be wary.
Tyler Cowen notes that, no matter how you come down on fiscal policies (the aggregate demand management and/or redistribution varieties), watch out for the uncertainties that remain in the air. "Until the underlying uncertainty is resolved, the economy remains in the doldrums."
It seems to me that the underlying uncertainties have to do with promises made that cannot be kept -- and no clear way out of that bind.
Here is a more optimistic view.