The Pessimists Might Be Right on America

In November, the American electorate, deeply unhappy with Washington and its political gridlock, voted to maintain precisely the same distribution of power -- returning President Barack Obama for a second term and restoring a Democratic Senate and a Republican House of Representatives. With at least the electoral uncertainty out of the way, attention quickly turned to how the country's lawmakers would address the immediate crisis known as the fiscal cliff -- the impending end-of-year tax increases and government spending cuts mandated by earlier legislation.

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