Austerity plans: Where do you stand?
Which side is right in the debate over spending cuts and the economy? The truth is that no-one can know. Because the only thing everyone can agree on is that we live in extraordinarily uncertain times.
Everyone brings ideological baggage to these questions. If you believe in smaller government, you're more likely to support Mr Osborne. If you tend to favour a big welfare state, you'll probably be more worried by the prospect of steep cuts.
But the more urgent debate I've been focussing on this week isn't really about the proper size of the state. It's about timing - and the size and nature of the economic risks we now face.
In fact, you can be a firm believer in markets and smaller government and still feel that the coalition is taking the dangerous path: Martin Wolf, the FT's chief economic commentator, who has been talking up the risks of austerity for many months.
The best way to work out what you think is to ask yourself three questions.
1) Is this recession more or less like the others that we've seen in the past 50 years - or a once in a lifetime global crisis?
Everyone agrees that this has been a serious crisis. But the recessions of the 1970s and early 80s also felt pretty bad at the time. There are many who think the comparisons between now and the 1930s are overdone.
Yes, there was a moment in the autumn of 2008 when the global financial system could have collapsed. But, say the normalists, all that emergency support by governments took us back from the brink. Now everything's back on course for a normal, or nearly normal, recovery.
This is the view of most mainstream economists, and the hope of most central bankers. But others - the likes of Paul Krugman, or Brad De Long take a darker line. They say countries like the US have not yet turned the corner - in fact, all the pieces are in place for a long, Japanese-style slump.
If you think they're right - that the private sector is too laden with debt to support an economic recovery - you're probably feeling pretty gloomy about the future.
But you still have to answer question number 2:
2) Even if we're looking at a long and painful road out of this - what do you think government can do to help?
Krugman and others call for more fiscal stimulus to insure against a double-dip recession in the US. In a large, relatively closed economy like the US, that could make a difference. But many economists think fiscal pump-priming is less effective in a small open economy like the UK, because a lot of the extra demand - if there is any - will leak overseas.
As we know, Mr Osborne agrees. He thinks that monetary policy is the only reliable way to support our economy. And the only reliable way to encourage the Bank to keep rates low is by cutting public borrowing. He thinks that's especially true when public borrowing is as high as it is today - and many in the city agree.
After a financial crisis, it's probably more difficult for low interest rates to spur lending and economic growth. For some, that's reason to go back to fiscal policy (see my post on The case against Mr Osborne's austerity). But you could also conclude that the world has changed and we just have to make the best of things.
Carmen and Vincent Reinhart - distinguished experts in the impact of financial crises - argue in their latest paper [687.18KB PDF] that part of the reason financial crises are so costly is that policy makers don't realise that the path they were on before the crisis is gone for good.
3) How do you weigh the short-term risk of a weak recovery - or even a return to recession - against the long-term cost of excess borrowing? And how far do you trust politicians to get the balance right?
Maybe you think today is all that matters - that another downturn would be so disastrous, the job of preventing one trumps everything else.
On the other hand, even supporters of the spend now, cut later school accept that it does have costs long-term. Public debt will be higher. Probably interest rates too. If governments overdo it insuring themselves against a double-dip, you could get high inflation - and a loss of financial market confidence - as well.
You might think those long-term risks are more important than the risk of a weak recovery. Or maybe you just don't believe politicians when they tell you they have to borrow more today - in order to borrow less tomorrow. Both will make you more likely to side with the coalition.
So, to sum up:
You will worry most about the coalition's policies if you think that this is a once-in-a -lifetime crisis; that government spending can help avert disaster; that the short-term risk to the recovery trumps everything else; and that policy makers can be trusted to cut borrowing as soon as the danger is past.
You'll be most supportive of Mr Osborne if you think that this economic cycle will be similar to the past; that more borrowing can't do much to support growth; that it's the long-term risk of inflation and a loss of market confidence that we should be focussed on; and that politicians have a hard time keeping their promises.
So now maybe you know where you stand.
But like it or not, it's the government's approach that is now going to be tested - in that sense, we should all be hoping that it is right.