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That US shutdown. What it means for you

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Really those Americans. When it comes to enthusiasm for bombing volatile Middle Eastern states or invading Afghanistan, they feel a resounding sense of global responsibility. When it comes to ensuring that their economic woes do not send the world back to suffering 2008 all over again, they seem not to care.

The current US shutdown, due to Republican stubbornness to reach a deal because they think that the man they regard as a dangerous leftie, Barack Obama, has no right to offer cheap health care to America's needy, will have global implications imminently, unless they can come to a compromise.

Obama told the Republicans to back down, saying that his Affordable Care Act was here to stay. "They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans," the president said.

In the short term, American public employees are being laid off, museums and public parks closed and American psychopaths are finding it tougher to buy the high-powered firearms they need to go on a killing spree (well, every cloud . . . ). If it lasts more than a few days, we're in for a significant global impact, unless those pesky Americans can get their act together.

Despite the rise of China, the USA remains the dominant world economy. When somebody lobs a stone into that lake, the ripples spread around the world. The current situation is a reminder that the economic crisis that Europe is just beginning to recover from was instigated by two American causes, the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the States and the failure of Lehman Brothers bank.

If the US economy slides, the UK is particularly vulnerable, with the USA one of Britain's main trading partners. If US spending goes down, it's the Limeys who will start to feel the consequences. Really, George III has got a lot to answer for.

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