As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.
But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.
An occasional series,Fiscal Cliff Notesbreaks down the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and deep automatic spending cuts set to hit around the first of year.
About 80 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up if all the tax cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush were to expire as scheduled at the end of this year. And nearly 100 percent of the highest income earners would have to pay more — including both the Obamas and the Romneys.
Chicago's 49th Ward is better known as Rogers Park. It's a neighborhood of middle-class houses and apartment buildings, home to Loyola University. It's known for diversity and an affordable, laid-back kind of cool.
But the 49th has a new claim to fame: In 2009, the ward's alderman, Joe Moore, became the first elected official in the country to hand over the purse strings to his constituents. Three years later, the experiment is still attracting new residents to planning meetings.
California is facing a budget shortfall of $15.7 billion. Today, Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget that closes that budget with a combination of tax hikes and deep cuts to health and welfare spending.