The New Crisis of DemocracyFareed Zakaria
We built that: President Barack Obama visiting the Hoover Dam, October 2, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque / Courtesy Reuters)
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.
As the United States continues its slow but steady recovery from the depths of the financial crisis, nobody actually wants a massive austerity package to shock the economy back into recession, and so the odds have always been high that