There is a very powerful leader out in The FT about the likely US debt deal this week, which you should read if you have a subscription. Clive Crook has a knife in either hand for Obama, accusing him of leading ‘from behind’ and landing the US with fiscal cuts just when the country needs fiscal stimulus to offset a stuttering recovery. In essence, the argument is that Obama has caved to the moronic right, known officially as the Tea Party.
I suspect Crook underestimates Obama, as almost everyone in the US seems to do. It looks like the cuts that Obama is promising the Prozac Party are very heavily backloaded over a ten-year period. In other words, almost no impact over the next, critical 12-18 months. Meanwhile the Adderall Party have agreed there will not be another debt ceiling negotiation before the presidential election, next November. That, for me, is the key thing. In another 18 months, when Americans go to the polls, unemployment will be very high but signs of recovery will be such that people can draw sufficient breath to remember that it was actually not Obama, but a combination of Bill ‘Grinning Idiot’ Clinton and George ‘Not As Smart As Bill’ Bush who landed them in this mess. Either that, or the masses really do tend to the right every time, and we should all give up on democracy.
My disaster-waiting-to-happen politics bet remains on the UK chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne. Fiscal stimulus-wise, I reckon he needs to do more than Obama, and will do less. I am also completely flummoxed by his Liberal running dog Treasury minister Danny Alexander, who is the subject of a fawning profile in today’s Observer. The weekend papers tell me that Obama’s a flake and Danny Alexander has got his hands round the British problem. I’m not so sure.