Eleanor, I agree with your financial doctrine and live my life the same way. I don't own more house than I need, own it out-right, no car payments, etc. IOW, I have no debt. However, your premise that Americans don't have a spending problem is mostly just not true. How many people do you know that are trying to retire that still don't own their own home, car, whatever. They do indeed have a spending problem
Those of us conservative enough to have lived within, or even below, our means these days are not that many in number. Surely not enough to vote anybody in or out. People seem to have lost the idea that building equity is how one become wealthy. Borrowed money, no matter how much, is not wealth.