Heffer: America could still go over the cliff — and take the rest of us with it (15)

After America postponed its jump off the fiscal cliff in the small hours of Tuesday night, world stock markets soared. Anyone listening to the BBC yesterday with its headlines praising Barack Obama would think something quite profound had changed in the world’s greatest — if battered — economy. However, it has not.
Intractable problems — chief among them chronic over-spending and weak consumer demand — have still not been solved.

The tackling of those issues has merely been postponed until the end of next month, when America’s legally enforceable ‘debt ceiling’ will probably be reached.

That will be the moment that U.S. debt passes a pre-determined point — north of $16 trillion — and a raft of dramatic public spending cuts will be triggered.

However, America’s politicians — especially its weak-willed President — may lack the guts to act even then to reduce the debt.

On Tuesday, a self-serving and pitiful compromise was reached between Republicans and Democrats to raise taxes by a small amount on the richest Americans — those earning more than £245,000 a year will pay 39.6 per cent rather than 35 per cent.

Yet those traders who propelled international markets sharply upwards as a result seem to have forgotten that America’s debt is an incomprehensible $16.3 trillion (£10 trillion) and that its politicians are failing to reduce it.

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See Also:

In 2013, the great global unraveling

Today’s American Politics a ‘Tiresome Farce’

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Gov. Chris Christie Throws Boehner Under the Bus, Backs Over Him Repeatedly

The Real Country-Killer in 2013

Afternoon Update:

12:02 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — German retailers bemoan sluggish 2012 sales

12:03 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — German job market to stagnate in election year

12:04 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — Spaniards, Greeks flock to Germany for work

12:05 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — Eurozone bank lending shrinks as recession bites

12:06 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — Coalition closes ranks on Lagarde list probe

12:07 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — Report says farm co-ops squandered state money

12:08 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — EU concerned over German bank regulator: Report

12:09 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — Oldest Swiss bank to close in US tax evasion case

12:10 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — Germany plans 5-6 bn euros in more cuts by 2014

12:11 pm EST, January 4th, 2012 — American Cities Drown in Debt

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