To its critics, austerity was supposed to equal armageddon, but it hasn't quite lived up to its billing.
Instead, structural government deficits are declining in both the U.S. and Europe, where belt-tightening has spurred a dramatic plunge in interest rates while the continent is emerging from a fairly shallow recession.
Closer to home, sequestration budget cuts in Washington also were supposed to spell huge trouble for the economy, which has continued its plodding rise since the financial crisis.
Trouble is, of course, that while the worst-case scenario never materialized, there's not a lot of hope of growth as countries continue to implement stunting tax cuts in the interest of more deficit reduction.
Thus sets the stage for the latest debate among the NetNet TV crew: Austerity or not?
What do you think?
—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him
@JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter.