Politicians, economists, and pundits consistently compare the federal budget to a family budget, so it follows that like a family with a stack of bills on the kitchen table, government must tighten its belt and live within its means. Whether accurate or not, it’s an easy metaphor for a complicated problem and an almost dizzying amount of line items, deficit columns and numbers followed by lots and lots of zeros. We asked an economist to help us take the analogy a step further. What would the federal budget look like when scaled down to a real household budget? And is that an accurate comparison? With us today, Matthew J. Slaughter, Associate Dean for Faculty at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
The last few weeks of 2012 were dominated by media coverage of the fiscal cliff crisis. News outlets covered everything from the projected impact of the cliff to shouting matches between legislators. Lost in the mix throughout the crisis were important, but less sensational news stories. Joshua Keating is an associate editor at Foreign Policy and he joins us to talk about some of these backseat news items.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she's optimistic that a deal can be reached to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year. Ayotte held a town meeting in Pittsburg Friday and the major topic was the economy.
NHPR’s Chris Jensen was there.
Talking to about 150 people in the tiny Northern town, Kelly Ayotte said the Democrats and the Republicans got the country into the debt crisis together.
“It is going to take two parties to get us out of it. We have divided government in Washington and we've got a lot of challenges.”
Now that the elections are over, It’s now the number one topic on Capitol Hill. If the parties can’t agree on debt reduction, we’ll see tax increases and spending cuts that many predict could slide us into recession. In New Hampshire, thousands of jobs are said to be on the line. We’ll talk about efforts to avoid this, why some say going over the cliff may not be as damaging as feared and what each scenario could mean for the Granite State.
Today , New Hampshire’s lame duck congressmen are back in Washington. Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta will join their Republican colleagues in negotiating with President Obama and the Senate to ward off the fiscal cliff.
That’s when the payroll tax cut and Bush-era tax cuts expire and sequestration hits--simultaneously--in January. And while Second District Congressman Charlie Bass lost his seat, the pressure’s on for the lame-duck Congress to find a compromise. But Bass says there’s not nearly enough time to reach a “Grand Bargain.”