The US is advancing toward the once-unthinkable prospect of default by next Tuesday, August 2, unless it turns out to be August 10 instead. While President Obama talks about "compromising" on a Big Deal, including new revenue, he's threatened to veto the Republicans' plan and Republicans won't vote for a Democratic alternative. Sarah Palin is the latest Republican to accuse the President of "fear mongering," but the head of the IMF says US default would be "very, very, very serious." In the midst of all the uncertainty, are both parties playing with economic disaster? Is it really all about next year's elections?