Tough talk, no answers as US 'fiscal cliff' looms
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House won't budge on tax hikes and Republicans call the president's opening gambit ridiculous, but without a deal by the year's end, the fragile US economy will plunge off the fiscal cliff.
A sense of deja vu has gripped Washington as another budget wrangle reaches its denouement with both sides locked in a who-blinks-first death match and pundits warning of economic oblivion unless a deal is struck.
In April 2011, there were less than two hours to go to avert a government shutdown when the same protagonists, Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner, struck a tentative budget deal.
The hard-fought accord that eventually raised the debt ceiling later that summer came too late to prevent Standard & Poor's from downgrading the credit rating of US government bonds for the first time in the country's history.