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.
In August, lawmakers will be heading home to their districts for the month's recess. Last summer, things weren't quite so calm.
A year ago at this time, Congress was in a nasty and protracted battle over whether to raise the debt ceiling. If they didn't make a decision, the government was going to go into default. It's a fight that cost Congress its already waning public support, and cost American taxpayers $1.3 billion.
Taxes may be certain, but growth and job creation aren't.
As the U.S. edges closer to a year-end "fiscal cliff," Democrats and Republicans haven't budged in their fight over expiring tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans — and how best to help the middle class and get the country back to work.