It is astonishing to me that two concepts--austerity and government spending--are dominant in framing the discussion and analysis. Neither concept works any longer to explain the processes, in particular, the stranglehold in the U.S. by the professional classes on labor. Why is the U.S. so short of doctors? Why does a b.f.a. in drumming cost 160k in tuition (only) as the "top" schools? Why are colleges at 75% part-time instructors? Social rebellion has to be re-imagined...among other things.
As a recently retired college prof. (arts and humanities), the raising of tuition far above inflation and lowering of the quality of the faculty (a truth few wish to acknowledge) is the educational version/form of fraud and corruption--yet it is impossible to convince people of this. Why? Because we are dealing with fetish-items--the name of an institution grafted to the work-career of a student. The narrowing of life into a sub-set of career requires distance and withdrawal, but who can do this in a total business environment?
The sophisms do not stop. You write: But there is still time to negotiate an agreement that extends these cuts for the bottom 98%, and that contains temporary measures to cap deductions and credits for high-income taxpayers in 2013." The NYTimes has a piece today that says the 250k is after deductions, not before. The 98% you refer to includes then those making up to 330k (before deductions reduce that to 250k) and those making 10cents a year. As the average family income in the U.S. is now 49,500k per year, exactly where did the number 250k come from....?
You say "China’s greatest strategic fear – encirclement." I think that is an idea floated by Chinese govts to give cover to their wretched murder of Tibet, control over parts of the Laotian and Burma economies, aggression in the south china sea, and retake Taiwan--which they signed away in 1876. Chinese economic development drives their use of ideology, not their mythological sense of chinese history.