My point of view is that questions that clearly come from "interested outsiders" rather than from research level economists, or even economics students, cannot be subjected to a single rule. I mean, from the 200 questions of the main site, there are many-many such questions (half?)
So one should judge per case. The problems I see with this question are the following:
1) It makes a "claim with a question-mark" without offering anything in terms of argument, however naive or non-economic: why there should be an "ideal" middle ground? Just because? The OP offers no clue as to the thought process that led him to such an impression, he just writes
it seems like there ought to be...
Why does the OP thinks that "there ought to be"? OPs have a duty to offer something at this point of their question. In other words, there is "no research effort", not even as a simple "plain-logic" argument.
2) He also writes
The economists I've encountered seem to insist that this isn't the
He doesn't share with us what these economists told him, and why he was not convinced. He doesn't share previous input he had on his question, and what his thoughts were on it. Again "lack of effort", and lack of clarity.
Then, the question is good only as a springboard to teach economics (but then again, any question can perform this function, however stupid, naive, or badly formed). Since we want this site to go beyond "teaching the economics basics to the people on-line", but not to totally ignore this educational aspect, it follows that questions that essentially require from us to teach the fundamentals, should somehow earn this by showing involvement, rather than looking like a casual question that came to mind and was thrown into the site hoping for a catch.