Friday 23 February 2018

America leaves it very late to rescue itself

FOR Americans, the words, "Tea Party," conjure up the first act of defiance against British rule and taxation. For English speakers on this side of the pond, they bring to mind the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland". The latter seems a more accurate description of US politics.

The present debt crisis has always been much more about politics than finance, but it is no less serious for that. American politics have become so bitter and irrational as to cast doubt on the ability of the world's most important economy to run its affairs properly. The political system of the United States is unique in its separation of powers between Administration and Congress. It is an admirable system in many ways, but it requires that, after legitimate political argument and negotiation, both White House and Capitol Hill show an underlying commitment to the national interest.

This has been sadly absent in the present crisis. It has to be said that the blame lies far more squarely on the side of Congress, and in particular with the Republican Party.

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