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A balanced budget? Not in election year

“We don’t begrudge success in America,” Mr. Obama said. But, he added, “We do expect everybody to do their fair share, so that everybody has opportunity, not just some.”

Hardly controversial stuff; or so you’d think. On Monday President Obama announced his budget for the 2013 fiscal year and along with it large swathes of his manifesto for re-election. In a campaign that is likely to be defined by economic issues, this budget was always destined to be political in nature. Yet, opponents have still found it within them to express commendable faux-outrage.

The words of leading anti-tax campaigner Grover Norquist were indicative of the criticisms Obama faced. He claimed “this is not an economic document, it’s not a policy document, it’s a political document”.  Of course, it goes without saying that a budget is, at least in the most literal sense, an economic document. Yet the measures announced by Obama are in some parts so lacking in excitement and originality that they will do little to change the economic course already set, and in others so flagrantly partisan that they have no chance of being passed. So in truth, the budget will have a minimal economic impact at best. Read the rest of this entry

Mitt V Mitt: Why Romney is his own worst enemy

“Experts are predicting kind of a tough fight between Romney and his biggest ideological opponent: Mitt Romney from four years ago. Those guys don’t agree on anything.” A stinging critique, made worse by the fact that it comes from a comedian, rather than one of Romney’s many political opponents.

In recent days political ads have dominated the American political arena. Two attack ads from Rick Perry and, most significantly, Mitt Romney, have drawn wide-ranging criticism for their rather neoliberal approach to accurate quotation. Indeed, one Fox commentator was even drawn to label Romney’s “an out and out lie”. The Obama administration were said to be furious, and their response is significant. Read the rest of this entry

To default, or not to default? That is the question

It reached the eleventh hour, but finally the American House of Representatives agreed and passed the controversial bill increasing the debt ceiling and announcing enormous cuts to government expenditure, all in order to stop America having to default on its debts. This past week there has been extreme manoeuvring and politicking between all sides of the house to gain some kind of consensus to pass this bill in order to stop America defaulting for the first time in its existence. Click here to keep reading

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