Explain the looming potential US debt default?

Explain the looming potential US debt default?

  • Government doesn't have enough dosh to pay for stuff, so will need to borrow more on 3 Nov, beyond a pre-agreed debt ceiling.
  • So either the US defaults (i.e. stops paying for things like interest obligations on previous borrowings), or it raises the debt ceiling.
  • Only way to avoid default is if Congress agrees to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.
3689

Describe what Republicans & Democrats are thinking re a potential 03 Nov default?

  • Republicans don't want to raise debt ceiling, i.e. they want smaller and not bigger government.
  • So they are proposing prioritising payment of some (but not all) obligations (i.e. debt service, military and some welfare), or a raising of the debt ceiling in exchange for a reduction in social spending (Medicare, food stamps, social security).
  • The Democrats simply want the debt ceiling raised.
3686

Is Russia pushing the US around now?

  • Might look like it (e.g. Crimea & Syria) but Russia is a lot weaker than it appears: feeble economy, few international partners/allies, and no decisive institutional influence on the international order.
  • By contrast, the US stands centre-place in a global network of international institutions, alliances, military and strategic partnerships.
  • Arguably, prudent foreign policy dictates managing this network with care, which, when compared to Putin's boldness, might create an impression of indecisiveness.
3691

Central Europe’s limping Tigers back on their feet?

Central Europe’s limping Tigers back on their feet?

  • Yep - looks like it.
  • Post Communist countries roared in the 2000's, but, apart from Poland, all were hit hard by 2008 crisis.
  • Finally signs of decent rebound, with Hungary & Romania taking the lead.
3655

What actually is fiscal policy?

What actually is fiscal policy?

  • The ability of a government to tax and spend in order to influence the economy.
  • An expansionary fiscal policy means either lower tax, higher spending, or a cocktail of the two.
  • A contractionary fiscal policy (" tightening") means, yep, you got it, either higher tax, lower spending, or a cocktail of the two.
3632

ISIS, al-Qaeda and territory?

  • Broadly similar aims: Impose Sharia law worldwide, destroy infidels, hasten the arrival of the prophesied redeemer of Islam.
  • But ISIS, unlike al Qaeda, consolidates control of territory, and then immediately sets about building the fundamental pillars of a genuine state on that territory.
  • al-Qaeda, in its early form, showed little interest in/capacity for controlling territory.
3663

The “Hollandisation” of the UK that irks the US?

The “Hollandisation” of the UK that irks the US?

  • The US worries that their major ally is becoming like Holland (abandoning pursuit of power & withdrawing from the international geo-political stage).
  • UK reducing military expenditure as % of GDP, absent from Ukraine Minsk negotiations, absent from Libyan crisis, and tepid response to China's handling of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
  • UK appears to be kowtowing to China to attract trade and investment, plus was the first G7 country to join China's rival to the US-dominated World Bank.
3629

Macrosnap Canada Election?

Macrosnap Canada Election?

  • Massive defeat of decade-long Conservative rule (under Harper) by Liberals (under Trudeau).
  • Vote for change in policy: Away from right, to centre-left, i.e. translates as rejection of fiscal austerity.
  • Vote for change in political vibe: Away from negative (US-style politics of enmity) to more positive/collaborative politics.
3618

Who is Justin Trudeau? (1971 – present)

  • Politician: Leader of Liberal Party & Canadian PM (since Oct 2015).
  • Political positioning in election: Progressive, optimistic, idealistic, multicultural.
  • Economic positioning in election: End austerity, start fiscal expansion.
3616

Macrosnap Yemen war?

  • Main theme = Sunni vs. Shia.
  • Or in other words, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran.
  • Shia in north & west (backed by Iran) vs. Sunni in south (backed by Saudi Arabia, Gulf states & Pakistan).
3614
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