News / Economy

Political Bickering Threatens US Economy, Again

Political Bickering Threatens US Economy -- Againi
|| 0:00:00
X
July 25, 2012 10:21 PM
A year ago, many Americans were appalled when partisan bickering between opposition Republicans and President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party pushed the nation to the brink of default on its massive debts. The political gridlock prompted a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. As VOA’s Jim Randle reports, the country now faces even greater financial problems in the midst of a hyper-partisan atmosphere as November's presidential election approaches.

Political Bickering Threatens US Economy -- Again

WASHINGTON — A year ago, many Americans were appalled when partisan bickering between opposition Republicans and President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party  pushed the nation to the brink of default on its massive debts.  The political gridlock prompted a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

The country now faces even greater financial problems in the midst of a hyper-partisan atmosphere as November's presidential election approaches.

During the debt ceiling debate, a popular newspaper portrayed leading politicians from the two parties as whining brats in diapers.  

Washington was nearly paralyzed by bickering as it tried to make tough political and financial decisions.

Related Video Report - Click to View

x
Economist Says US Is Bright Spot in Weak Global Economyi
|| 0:00:00
X
Mil Arcega
July 25, 2012 11:35 PM
Financial markets stumbled this week as worries about a potential bailout for Spain, weakness in emerging markets, and a looming fiscal crisis in the U.S. gained momentum. Despite the increasingly negative outlook, a New York economist tells VOA the one bright spot may be the United States. Mil Arcega has more.

Related Video Report - Click to View

The squabbling prompted Standard & Poor's to make an unprecedented cut in the U.S. credit rating.

“There had been significant deterioration recently on both the political and fiscal front --  on the fiscal front, in terms of the government indebtedness as a share of the economy, and on the political side in terms of the willingness to arrest that deterioration,” said Nikola Swann, a key S&P analyst.

Economists say the polarization inherent to this year’s election campaigns could make Washington’s dysfunctional politics even worse.

Last year’s congressional debate focused on efforts to raise the legal limit on what the U.S. government can borrow to fund its deficits and debt.

The squabbling worried some investors even when It ended with a deal that put off some tough political and financial decisions.  

So Congress has to deal with the debt ceiling again and also agree on what to do about tax cuts set to expire at the end of this year.  

Without a deal, the government faces drastic spending cuts that will hit both the military and popular social programs.  

U.S. central bank Chairman Ben Bernanke says that could push the nation back into recession.

“If the full range of tax increases and spending cuts were allowed to take effect, a scenario widely referred to as the fiscal cliff, a shallow recession would occur early next year and about 1-1/4 million fewer jobs would be created in 2013,” Bernanke said.

Brookings Institution economic scholar Phillip Wallach says he expects that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will work something out, eventually.
 
“The Republican leadership compromised just enough to make sure they got a deal done at the last minute, and if you were [willing to make a wager] you would probably say that’s what will happen again the next time around because they don’t want to be responsible for plunging the economy into chaos,” Wallach said.

So Congress and the President have just a few months to finish the difficult task of reaching agreement on spending and taxes in ways that do not damage the economy.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.