The Independent, U.K.

[Click Here for More Cartoons]



'Fiscal Cliff' Chicken Game Exposes Failings of U.S. Political System (Xinhua, People's Republic of China)


Is American democracy inherently flawed? For China's state-run Xinhua, columnist Ming Jinwei warns that without the capacity to address fiscal issues that threaten not only the United States but people around the world, Washington's bitter partisan politics may pull the country into an 'abyss' it can never emerge from.


By Ming Jinwei


January 3, 2013


People's Republic of China - Xinhua - Original Article (English)

U.S. Capitol dome in Washington: Has the American political system lost the capacity to address its biggest problems?

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Global markets surge after America's fiscal cliff deal, Jan. 2, 00:02:38RealVideo

BEIJING: After coming dangerously close to falling off the "fiscal cliff," U.S. politicians have finally come together on a deal to avoid sharp tax increases and deep spending cuts that would affect millions of Americans and send the world's largest economy back into recession.


Late Tuesday night in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law a bill passed by the Senate and House of Representatives to end a months-long drama that has exposed the ugliest side of American partisan politics.


Many have long warned of the potential danger of the United States falling off the "fiscal cliff." But according keener observers, the United States, with a total public debt of nearly $16.4 trillion, has bigger fiscal challenges ahead.


U.S. public debt, which stands at more than 100 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), makes the sovereign debt crisis which has toppled so many European governments and has led to ugly street demonstrations in Greece look like a mere hiccup.


As the world's sole superpower, the United States is clearly not Greece. The greenback is still the dominant currency in the global monetary system. Even when smaller European economies are completely shut out of the global bond market, Washington can still borrow at low cost.


But economics and common sense don't lie. People, or governments, can overspend for some time, but they cannot live on borrowed prosperity forever.


For the Americans, their government has been in the red too long. After borrowing heavily to support costly wars in the Middle East and stimulating the economy out of recession in the wake of the global financial crisis, Uncle Sam hasn't tasted a government surplus in over a decade.



And the U.S. government has issued hundreds of billions of IOUs to cover the ever-expanding costs of its bloated entitlement programs.


With the "fiscal cliff" drama finally behind us, both the United States and the world are now presented with a unique opportunity to debate the much-delayed issue of long-term U.S. fiscal sustainability.


When U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke coined the term "fiscal cliff," he should also have been aware of the $16.4-trillion hole in U.S. public finances.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


If you call $600 billion dollars in tax increases and spending cuts a "fiscal cliff," total U.S. government debt must be considered nothing less than a "fiscal abyss."


The most worrying thing about U.S. politicians is that given how close they came to falling off a "cliff," they appear far less likely to be able to reach a deal to climb out of an abyss.


In a democracy like the United States, tax increases and spending cuts, the very medicine needed to cure its chronic debt disease, have long proved hugely unpopular among voters. So politicians have chosen to kick the can down the road again and again.


But as we all know, the can will never disappear. Sometime and somewhere, you might trip over it and fall flat on the ground - or in the U.S. case, into an abyss you can never emerge from.



Like Worldmeets.US on Facebook




blog comments powered by Disqus











































[Posted by Worldmeets.US Jan. 3, 1:09pm]