Amid disturbing signs that the US recovery has stalled, President Barack Obama took a huge gamble in his approach to the debt-ceiling talks last week. Believing he had an understanding with John Boehner, leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, he declared he wanted a $4,000bn “grand bargain” on the budget. Barely a day later, Mr Boehner said the deal was off. By Sunday evening, with talks about to resume at the White House, the president’s gambit appeared to have failed.
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