Thoreau compares the US to other mature democracies. I have to say that fiscally, the US system seems spectacularly flawed. In Britain right now, even a coalition government has to actually balance the books and cannot pass the task off by blaming the opposition. The Lib-Tories will be held directly responsible for the pain this causes, and they will have a reasonable amount of time, with a solid majority, to prove (or not) that their fiscal strategy is working. Not so Obama. And if we get divided government again - and it sure looks like it - what are the odds that the Dems will refuse to budge on entitlements and the Republicans will obstruct any tax increases ... until they fight in another two years' time.

In general, I can see the wisdom of preventing swift government action. But when a sinking imperial power  is facing fiscal collapse, delay and the avoidance of real accountability can be the seed of a sudden implosion. Or default.

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