The new economic profligacy

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For decades America ran huge budget deficits, only balancing the books in the last two years of the most astonishing economic boom on record. Now the two presidential candidates are rubbing their hands at the prospect of spending huge projected surpluses. They should be planning to meet the country’s real long-term financial challenges, rather than frittering the bounty away in popular tax cuts and spending. The age of sound economic leadership in the US may be about to come to an end. Antony Currie reports