It was the kind of thing one has to see with one’s own eyes. There were messages of congratulations on social media, saluting the US Treasury Department for convincing Republican leaders in Congress to ratify IMF governance changes after five years of trying.Reports by reputable news agencies confirmed the development. That wasn’t enough for me. After typing thousands of words on this subject (this, this, this, and this are only some of the examples), I needed to read the legalese myself. And there it was, starting on page 1,459 of the 2,009-page Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, the legislative language that would force people like me to find new ways to demonstrate the decline of the American Empire.
There still was time for things to go wrong, but the consensus view in Washington was that the omnibus $1.1-trillion (US) spending bill would pass before Christmas. The resignation of former House speaker John Boehner, and his replacement by Paul Ryan, a favourite of Tea Party hardliners, appears to have shifted the politics of Washington enough to bring about a compromise. There were so many political baubles, trinkets and goodies written into the legislation, that few seemed to care that the Republicans had ended its blockade of an international initiative to boost the IMF’s capital and enhance the voice of emerging powers.
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