You could call it a deadlock, an impasse, a stand off.
But you could equally call the inability of US Democrats and Republicans to set aside their differences on raising the Government's debt ceiling a game.
I'm just not entirely sure which game it is they've been playing.
At times, it appears to be like a game of political chicken - who will blink first?
At other times it seems more calculated, like a game of chess where both sides desperately want to be the ones to say "check mate".
But more often it seems like they're simply playing silly buggers with the Government's balance sheet and, if the doomsayers are to be believed, by failing to raise the debt ceiling they risk bringing the roof of the global economy crashing down.
It all sounds a bit like Chicken Little, doesn't it? The sky is falling, the sky is falling!
Or, it will do on August 2 when US Government debt will hit $US14.3 trillion - the debt ceiling.
However, the dire warnings haven't been the preserve of the children scrapping it out in Washington's political playground, but have come from the institution that holds the purse strings - the US Treasury.
It warned that if the Government fails to act it would trigger a self-inflicted crisis "more severe than the one we are currently recovering from".
As someone who had something of a ringside seat to the last financial crisis - that's a grim warning indeed.
But is it overblown?
We know the debt ceiling has been raised many times before; in fact 102 times since it was introduced in 1917, 78 times since 1960 and George Bush raised it eight times during his two terms in office.
But history also shows they've also failed to raise the debt ceiling three times before "and not one interest payment on debt was missed, Medicare has always been paid, Medicaid has always been paid and social security has never been missed," Kevin O'Sullivan from OM Financial told me on AMP Business this morning.
He argues that despite the warnings and even in the absence of a deal before the August 2 deadline, the US still has options and it will not default.
He says there will be some bills that it won't be able to meet but, even then, there are options.
"They could raid a pension fund, basically what that means is...you pay your mortgage, and then pay some of your other bills and go, 'Actually, I'll just steal from my KiwiSaver and pay the rest of my bills because the bank won't let me increase my overdraft this month'."
Most commentators remain confident a deal will be done. A vote on Republican John Boehner's plan is due to be voted on by Congress today.
Issues not over
But America's problems aren't over once the US Government eventually, inevitably, raises its debt limit.
Raising the limit must involve a plan to get America's burgeoning debt under control, in order to appease the credit rating agencies, but doing that will create problems of its own.
Unemployment in the United States is still over 9% and despite some pretty solid indicators of corporate economic health emerging on Wall Street, companies just don't appear to be hiring back the workers they laid off when they slimmed down to survive the global financial crisis.
That could well be exacerbated if the biggest single spender in the economy is forced to stop spending quite so much.
The technical term for it is fiscal drag, but the concept is actually quite simple - if the Government has to pare back its spending aggressively, it could affect the country's already tepid economic growth and that won't do anything to move people from the dole queue to the lunch queue at the office cafeteria.
Then, there's China.
China, as the largest single holder of US Treasuries, effectively has America by the short and curlies.
Regardless of how much the US permits itself to borrow, if China decides that it doesn't want to lend the US any more money or that it wants back what it has lent them, then "financial armageddon will probably ensue for the whole world".
When you consider that, it seems likely the games in the US have only just begun.
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