As President Obama and Capitol Hill lawmakers assess the need for spending cuts and tax increases against the risk of triggering a new recession, they might look across the Atlantic for insights from those who have already grappled with those budgetary questions.
The problem of excessive government debt has swamped economies across Europe and forced countries to take severe measures to cut their deficits. The first lesson from their "fiscal consolidation" experiences: It will hurt.
If I asked you to think of a murderer, what's the image that springs to mind?
If you're like most people, you'll probably think of an evil psychopath, or someone bent on revenge. Perhaps you'll see a criminal mastermind, who eliminates rivals on his way to riches. Or a strung-out drug addict, who kills because she needs money to get high.
All of these images have something in common: As a rule, we tend to associate murder with the behavior of individuals who behave in aberrational ways.
As of this year, the vocal group Anonymous 4 has been introducing modern audiences to medieval music for a quarter century. When the all-female quartet asked David Lang to help mark the occasion by writing them some music, he didn't need any convincing. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer was already a big fan.
Tax increases are only a part of what lies ahead if Congress can't come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff by the new year. Massive spending cuts will also kick in — and those cuts will be felt throughout the economy.
The current stalemate got under way two years ago when Congress, locked in a bitter partisan battle over whether to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, passed what was known as the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The president and House Republicans continued to snipe at each other Wednesday over the impending set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. They traded accusations and blame during another day with plenty of talk, but — until late in the day, at least — no negotiations.
Billions in damages and not enough in the bank account — that's where federal officials find themselves in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The White House says it will send an emergency funding request to Capitol Hill this week — expected to be $50 billion to $60 billion. Top administrators told Congress on Wednesday that they want at least some of that money to go toward preventing the kind of devastation caused by Sandy and other recent storms.
In her series for The New York Times, reporter Louise Story says that the manufacturing sector — automakers, in particular — benefit the most from incentive packages.
Credit The New York Times
Louise Story is an investigative journalist for The New York Times, specializing in business reporting. In 2009 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for her reporting on the financial crisis of 2008.
In her new series for TheNew York Times called "The United States of Subsidies," investigative reporter Louise Story examines how states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year in tax breaks and other financial incentives to lure companies or persuade them to stay put.