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Oct 172013

With apologies to all drunken sailors who will no doubt resent – quite reasonably – being compared with a dysfunctional government.

The big news today (and yesterday – different time zones confuse these things) is that the US government has grasped just a bit of sanity and has stepped back from the abyss. Well most of them did, but the lunatic fringe of the Republican party (also known as the Tea Party) still persisted in trying to block the government from doing any work and paying any debts it owes.

But it is only temporary, and unless some more sanity returns to US politicians, we will get to see this mess repeated in January.

Ultimately this is all the fault of a fanatic wing of the Republican party who believe it is their right to undemocratically block the government budget until their favourite hobby horse is taken care of. Obamacare. Whether it is a good or a bad thing, it is a done deal, and it is undemocratic to try to sabotage it without first giving it a chance.

Yes the US has too much public debt, but too much is made of the so-call US ‘debt crisis’. The overall figure is immense to be true – so big that it is impossible to understand; so big that we have clever means to make it understandable, and to understand it in terms of affordability. If you look at the US debt as a proportion of GDP (in other words how affordable it is), you will see that the US is in 35th position (according to CIA figures) with a figure of 73.6% of GDP. Or 9th position (using the IMF figures).

Not a good position certainly, but hardly a basket case.

Now there’s a great deal of sense in reducing US government debt, but not in this way. Simply by stopping US government cheques would cause a catastrophic effect on the US (and world) economies.

Perhaps those with a vote in the US would like to remember this when it comes to voting next time. Your current set of politicians look dangerously dysfunctional; even in comparison to politicians in other countries.

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