The frenetic fiscal cliff drama in the United States seems set to continue into 2013.
CNN, the BBC and Reuters are all reporting that a “deal” has been reached between the Democratic-controlled White House and the Republican-led Congress. But this is apparently only an interim measure, designed to protect the US economy from going into fiscal free fall.
A Reuters video transcript - for which there apparently was no video up to the time of the publication of this article - summarizes the current, still precarious state of affairs succinctly.
It reads: “With the last hours of 2012 ticking rapidly away in the U.S. the White House and congressional lawmakers reached a deal to avert an impending plunge off the fiscal cliff. Without a deal some 600 billion dollars of tax hikes and spending cuts were due to kick in on Jan. 1, 2013.
“An Obama administration source said the deal would delay the harsh measures but only for two months. The source said half would come from defence and the other half from non-defence areas. The agreement includes a balance of spending cuts and revenue increases to pay for the delay in spending cuts.”
The key word here, from this writer’s perspective is balance. This seems to be the critical component missing from much of the machinery of US political leadership.
More often than not, and for some time now, it seems that political partisanship has trumped both Republicans’ and Democrats’ best intentions.
It seems that Mitt Romney-like “stiffed-hipped thinking," of the kind I analyse in my Lewd Logic discourse, ensures that the leaders entrusted with Americans’ future are increasingly indistinguishable from al-Qaida or Taliban suicide bombers.
Their behaviour has been labelled political “brinkmanship,” defined by one source as ”the technique or practice of manoeuvring (sic) a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure the greatest advantage, especially by creating diplomatic crises.”
But that assessment is curiously optimistic, in so far as it assumes that the brinkers exert an appreciable degree of control over the situation.
Many will question that.
From my own point of view, it seems that some brinkers are too blinkered to even understand what is going on – far less control it.
And the failed predictions of some top cat mainstream journalists of a landslide win for Romney overin last November’s presidential election suggests that many of their number labour under similar delusions.
What journalists and politicians alike seem incapable of grasping is the relationship between small beginnings and mammoth, Frankenstorm Sandy-like outcomes.
They seem incapable of grasping random theory’s “butterfly principle” – a continuum event analysing concept I have been treating in another article, published mere hours before this one.
So a “deal” has been reached in Washington, but it may only amount to a delay of the inevitable.
The fractious, partisan character of contemporary American politics means that while the US economy is over the fiscal cliff with a parachute the sky diver wearing it may also be strapped to a political suicide bomb.
As such, until the string of that parachute is pulled it would be premature to bank upon the outcome.