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Absent a super committee, now who'll lean on Congress to cut US deficit?

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Even after the debt-limit deal, Standard & Poor's lowered the US credit rating, on the grounds that Washington hadn't demonstrated the capacity to set the nation on a sustainable fiscal course.

"There may not be an issue of such gravity and magnitude, at least on the domestic side, that any Congress has faced in modern times," said Senate deputy leader Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois, at a rally on Nov. 16.

Why no reaction? Look at Europe.

Yet the failure of the 12-member super committee to agree to a plan to cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion – not even 3 percent of the $43.9 trillion that the United States is expected to spend over the next decade – barely stirred a reaction.

No fiscal Armageddon. No catastrophe. No flight from US Treasury bonds. Only a new round of partisan finger-pointing – and some recriminations within GOP ranks over lawmakers who even considered raising taxes as part of a deal.

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