Americans ready to ‘Die Another Day’ (Washington Newsletter)November 27th, 2011 - 4:35 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Nov 27 (IANS) The world did not come to an end as a ’super committee’ of lawmakers dispersed without making the miracle it was supposed to do - reduce America’s $15 trillion deficit by a mere $1.2 trillion in ten years.
Nor did it spoil the holiday cheer as President Barack Obama back from a nine day sojourn in Asia pardoned ‘Liberty’ and ‘Peace’ and retired the two lucky turkeys to Mount Vernon, where George Washington spent his golden years.
Some 42.5 million hit the road or took to the skies to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family and along with others who stayed back home stuffed themselves silly with over 45 million ‘unpardoned’ turkeys and pumpkin pies - and watched football replays or James Bond movies.
Then even before the dinner tables were cleared and fridges crammed with leftover turkeys, some 150 million bargain hunters headed for the malls for the Black Friday vigil as retailers from Gap to Wal- Mart to Toys “R” Us opened their doors earlier than ever.
Even as crowds turned riotous in at least seven states, shoppers spent a record $11.4 billion as Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent, according to Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak. Many more turned to their computers to push online shopping up by 39.3 percent on Thanksgiving and 24.3 percent on Black Friday, according to IBM Coremetrics.
Meanwhile, looking to cut their own deals ahead of the 2012 elections, politicians continued their blame game with Republicans faulting Obama for everything under the sun and the President returning the compliment.
If Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney accused Obama of failed economic leadership, the White House unleashed a campaign painting the opposition as defenders of the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Economic soothsayers kept up their crystal gazing with some suggesting that the failure of the super-committee may breed success and that the debris of the bipartisan budget panel may provide material for a deal without which huge defence and domestic spending cuts would be automatically triggered in January 2013.
Others say coupled with expiring Bush era tax cuts to the tune of $3.8 trillion and reduced interest payments, a no deal may actually reduce future deficits by $6 trillion all at once though it may be a bit hard for the weak economy to take such a jolt.
Rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s too have indicated that there is little danger of a further downgrade of America’s credit rating as long as the cuts come whether in a planned manner or through the automatic route.
Even as prophets of doom have warned of another recession with forecasts of growth pegged at 2.5 to 2.9 percent, “for parties, there is always next year,” as a newspaper headline put it and the Americans are ready to “Die Another Day” as they eat, shop and have a blast with Bond today.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)