Was the recent debt standoff in Washington, D.C. the first round of an escalating battle?
Or was it the final fizzle of a faction that was doomed from the start by its inherent contradictions?
The Tea Party movement in the U.S. Congress essentially held the world economy hostage for several weeks.
However, one has to wonder how far they can push it.
Although it portrays itself as a populist movement, the Tea Party is, to a large degree, organized and financed by a few wealthy individuals.
Those wealthy few would have had a lot to lose if the American federal debt ceiling hadn't been lifted and the world economy had descended into chaos.
Perhaps those few now see that they would be better off paying a few million more in taxes than risking losing billions of dollars in equity in a renewed global recession.
The United States has been fighting two major wars on the other side of the planet for close to a decade.
Wars are expensive and they usually don't generate any tangible return. At best, they might keep things from getting worse.
A large portion of the American public seems to have been sold the idea that they can spend billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan and not have to pay for it.
Instead they are borrowing hundreds of billions from China - a country whose Communist Party leadership is a far greater danger to American democracy than Osama bin Laden ever was.
According to a recent article in the Globe and Mail, the United States is one of the least taxed nations in the developed world.
They pay 24 per cent of their GDP in taxes, compared to Canada's 31 per cent.
There's lots of room for higher taxes in the U.S., especially at the top end of the scale.
The U.S. Houses of Congress and the White House might seem a long ways away, but the North Thompson Valley's economy is largely dependent on the U.S. recovery from the current economic recession.
Let us hope that Tea Party extremism goes the way of the Sarah Palin presidential campaign.