David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal and author, most recently, of Red Ink: Inside the High Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget, and Mattea Kramer, Senior Research Analyst, National Priorities Project, and lead author of National Priorities Project's new book, A People’s Guide to the Federal Budget, explain what the fiscal cliff means, why we’re heading for it, and ways Washington can solve the nation's budget problems.
David Wessel dissects the federal budget, a subject that is fiercely debated in the halls of Congress and in the media, yet is misunderstood by the American public. In Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown so far out of control.
Many Americans are angry about the sluggish state of the economy. On Tuesday, they went to the polls and took their anger out on elected officials. But the people who have a very large effect on the American economy aren't elected at all. They’re the appointed officials at the Federal Reserve Bank, headed by Ben Bernanke. As if to underscore that point, The Fed announced Wednesday that they’ll buy $600 billion worth of Treasury bonds, in an effort to stimulate economic growth.