America is on a collision course with itself. This month's deal between President Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress to extend the tax cuts initiated a decade ago by President George W Bush is being hailed as the start of a new bipartisan consensus. I believe, instead, that it is a false truce in what will become a pitched battle for the soul of American politics. As in many countries, conflicts over public morality and national strategy come down to questions of money. In the United States, this is truer than ever. The US is running an annual budget deficit of around $1tn, which may widen further as a result of the new tax agreement.