By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
European shares traded lower early on Friday on waning hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama and key lawmakers would manage to reach an 11th-hour budget compromise.
President-elect Vladimir Putin's lavish promises of higher wages and benefits for soldiers, doctors and teachers were a key element in winning a new term in the Kremlin.
"Equities look set to exit 2012 with a whimper, after politicians in Washington said that a deal to resolve the budget issues is now very unlikely before the deadline," Chris Weafer of Moscow-based Sberbank CIB investment bank said in a note.
"Russia needs a different economic model if it's going to achieve the level of growth that's required to sustain stability, both economic and political," Mr. Weafer said.