Belfast Telegraph

Deadly brinkmanship that went too close to deadline

By David Elliott

Deadlines are funny things. Students, journalists and presidents of the United States all seem to suffer from the same problem of not realising a deadline is coming until they're standing on the edge of an educational, printing or fiscal cliff.

Speaking as a former student and current journalist, I'd like to think that we have more of an excuse than Mr Obama for constantly dancing along the edge of the cliff with a coffee in one hand and an overwhelming sense of foreboding in the other.

As the former, we're still learning how to manage the transition from school to the workplace where we suddenly take on a whole lot more responsibility for our own time management.

As the latter, we're always waiting to see if the story develops or if more important news arrives before we fill a page or commit to print. But for Mr Obama the problem would seem to be in an inability to rally the troops from both sides of the political divide, one which is caught between protecting public sector spending and the fabulously wealthy.

The latter, those on $400,000 a year, a salary which certainly smacks of a glaring target for the US tax man, won't be happy with the last minute deal in Washington which ramps up their annual dues.

Nevertheless, for the rest of us who rely on the US to buy our goods, invest in our economies and generally drive global commerce, news of the resolution to one of the most expensive games of Risk ever played will calm nerves.

Although there's still plenty to be solved in Washington, the immediate risks have passed.

With that it's time to go because the print deadline is looming.