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Gaming US Fiscal Reform

NEWPORT BEACH – It sounded like a really clever idea: Use a very public and sizeable threat to get bickering politicians to collaborate and compromise. Well, it has not worked so far, and the already-sizeable stakes just got bigger.

No, I am not talking here about Europe’s debt crisis, decisive resolution of which still requires greater cooperation and shared responsibility, both within individual eurozone member states and between creditor and debtor countries. I am referring to the complex fiscal situation in the United States – a fluid problem that has just been rendered more consequential by the recent warning from the ratings agency Moody’s that the US could lose its top credit rating next year if Congress fails to make progress on medium-term fiscal reforms.