It's funny. This whole business of austerity and the absurdly low tax rates. I think the US can stand to take a look Ireland's books and learn a few things. Ireland is maintaining its low corporate tax rate, while hammering the voters with higher VAT. I get the logic: a growing economy means that you can a continued revenue stream. The fact is though, you can't continually cut taxes without reasonably cutting services. The Bush tax relief program really has to go, the sooner the better. Sovereign debt problems will be a problem for NA. It's not like this kind of stuff is new in history, and given the volatile state of the economy, the US is in danger of blowing up. Another important lesson from the Irish situation is that sometimes, you have to put petty politics aside to get things done. Without the budget passing, Ireland could really start to sink all of the EU. The likelihood of the budget passing is high, but it's not guaranteed.