Is the US debt crisis mere brinkmanship or a real problem?

Monday, August 1, 2011
By Paul Martin

There are, broadly speaking,
two ways to depict the US debt ceiling saga.

By Ed Conway

The first as a fierce battle between those who believe America must put its finances back in order and those who fear that without more stimulus the world’s largest economy will slide back into recession, or secondly, it is a pathetic political scrap in which irresponsible politicians risk the economic fate of a nation – and the world – in order to air their petty grievances on the big stage. The first is favoured on Capitol Hill, the second pretty much by everyone else.
It is hard to think of a political episode which has terrified, frustrated and irritated so many people. As America squabbles itself towards possible default and potential world economic chaos, the one sure-fire achievement has been widespread alienation. The saga has left Barack Obama’s poll ratings at an all-time low, at the same time as losing him 36,000 of his Twitter followers in barely a few hours on Friday. In China, the biggest owner of American debt, state newspapers have derided this “game of chicken” as “dangerously irresponsible”.

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