"The plan is that $136 billion (£85.5 billion) in cuts – 0.8 per cent of GDP – will come in at the same time as $532 billion of tax increases, taking a total of $668 billion out of the deficit, or four per cent of GDP.
The cuts include defence and unemployment benefits; the tax rises reverse all the Bush-era tax cuts, and will hit the middle classes. They will also hit employers by increasing payroll taxes.
The programme will be anti-growth and anti-enterprise, but Republicans claim that it is the only option, given the Administration’s refusal to address the deficit, and the country’s colossal debt, in other ways. It is the main reason why the euphoria of the first Obama victory in 2008 has not been repeated and why the stock market slid south when it was realised four more years of Obama were being served up.
Corporate America especially is in despair. For them, there is no end in sight for over-regulation, debt and financial incontinence: and the Chinese, especially, are in their rear-view mirrors, coming up fast.
This is a deeply divided country: divided not between Democrats and Republicans, or even liberals and conservatives, but, it seems, between givers and takers."