Now that Barack Obama has surged to a second term in the White House after overwhelming Republican Mitt Romney by 303 electoral votes to 206, his voters expect him to work harder for bipartisan support to reshape the welfare state and revive growth as they have given him an opportunity to redeem his promise to lift the US out of the economic mess it finds itself in. However, the US President faces challenges in his second administration that almost match those that he faced in his first and he knows that a second administration for a President can either be a time to build a legacy or a time of minimal accomplishment since there are huge challenges—like an ailing economy facing a major debt problem whose resolution cannot be postponed much further, a flat growth rate and unemployment with minimal job creation. Since the Republicans have retained control of the House of Representatives, they have the potential to block key legislation. Obama will need to find a way to work with a divided Congress and address the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that will come into force at the end of the year. For the Republicans, their divisive politics and regressive social agenda seem to have alarmed large sections of the working class, women and minorities. To survive, they need to adapt to the changing demographics in America and widen their political base.
Dilbag Rai, Chandigarh
“Yields fall on IIP data; rate cut debate revives” (FE, November 13). It was a big disappointment when RBI decided to keep interest rates on hold in the half-yearly monetary policy review. It appears the move stung the finance ministry. But RBI is watching what the government is doing to bring down inflation and reduce fiscal deficit. It is not good for the country if it turns to be a controversy of growth versus inflation. RBI and the finance ministry should join hands to increase growth at a lower inflation rate. The country is running on credit. The national debt and the interest burden are increasing. IMF has estimated that this year India’s