America: Nation of deadbeats

A nation of deadbeats - that's what one historian calls America. Because debt and default has defined the country since the very start, and debt is still a key issue. America may have swerved away from the fiscal cliff but faces another deadline - agreement on the nation's debt ceiling.

Stephanie Flanders tells Justin Rowlatt about the concerns over America's growing structural deficit - will it lead to disaster? And historian Scott Reynolds Nelson explores the country's debt dilemmas of the past.

Photo: Getty Images

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18 minutes

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Thu 3 Jan 2013 23:32 GMT

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