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El Pais, Spain

Dangerous Dialogue of the Deaf

Translated By Natalie Legros

23 December 2012

Edited by Kyrstie Lane

Spain - El Pais - Original Article (Spanish)

The prolonged dialogue of the deaf that President Barack Obama and the Republicans of Congress continue, regarding the reduction of the unsustainable American deficit, threatens to lead to what is called a "fiscal cliff” after Jan. 1. This Armageddon coined by the head of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, means that automatic tax increases and spending cuts – about 600 billion dollars in total – would shake the U.S. economy and carry it into a recession in 2013.

The proximity of the date – which is not sacred despite the Democrats and Republicans having imposed it as the deadline to come to an agreement – and the legislative paralysis project a growing shadow over the world’s largest economy, shown by the nervousness that the markets reflect. Obama, who has asked Congress for an urgent exercise of responsibility, already assumes that a probable bipartisan agreement at the last minute will have a much more modest scope than the one anticipated before the aborted Republican vote this week in the House of Representatives.

The United States, however, risks a lot in believing the fiscal cliff to be inevitable. In this stagnation, which goes beyond the ideological collision of two parties – one that considers raising taxes to be a curse and another that believes social programs for the poor to be untouchable – Obama is playing a decisive card. To weaken and divide the wild Republicans is very important for a president whose agenda for the next four years is, in good measure, prisoner to his political adversaries on crucial topics. If he gets to pressure Republicans in Congress to break his iron will against tax increases, he can harbor hopes of doing well in other, less doctrinal circles.



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