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Some of my middle-of-the-road columnist friends keep ascribing our difficulties to structural problems in our politics. But the problem we face isn't about structures or the party system. It's about ideology.

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Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Senate and House Republican leaders have announced their selections for the deficit-reduction "super committee." The 12-person council will attempt to cut about $1.5 trillion in federal spending over the next decade. (more)

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Still foggy on the basics of this week's debt and deficit deal? The Guardian has published a no-nonsense guide explaining the meaning and function of the congressional "super committee," the "trigger," the "balanced budget amendment" and more, including the deal's potential future.

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