Budget deficit: Speak softly and carry a big chainsaw
Sorting out America’s fiscal mess is relatively simple. What’s needed is political courage. Last week Asia, this week Europe: no wonder Barack Obama has been to so many foreign summits since his party took a pounding in the mid-term elections. With the prospect of gridlock at home, a president naturally turns abroad. Yet Mr Obama badly needs to show that he can still lead on domestic policy. He should start by cajoling Congress into an agreement to tackle America’s ominous fiscal arithmetic. Conventional wisdom says such an agreement is impossible: the problem is too big, the politics too difficult. But it is wrong to suppose that the deficit is unfixable, as two proposals for fixing it have shown this month. And even the politics may not be totally intractable.