Congress’s just-in-time agreement ignores the country’s long-term problems

SEEN from afar, the behaviour of America’s government over the past month or so has been decidedly odd. Finance ministers visiting the IMF and the World Bank on October 11th, some of them from countries America has helped rescue in the past, seemed bemused by what was going on in Washington. China’s government, which holds the idea that countries ought not to intervene in each others’ affairs to be self-evident, criticised America repeatedly for failing to raise the debt ceiling, the legal limit on government borrowing, in a timely manner.

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