30 Issues: Is The Debt Really A Crisis?

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30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: The actual significance of the national debt and how it might play into the election. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.

Open Prep: Questions, Articles, and Links to Get You Started

Key Questions

  • Is debt the central issue to our time, or a Tea Party distraction?
  • What can we learn from the European Debt Crisis to avoid a similar situation in the U.S.?
  • Is it time to revisit the Simpson-Bowles Plan? 

What are your key questions on this topic? Post them below and get the conversation going!


  • Alice Rivlin, former White House Budget Director and Federal Reserve vice chair, Brookings senior fellow, member of the president's deficit commission and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)'s Debt Reduction Task Force
  • U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9), dissenting member of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction committee.

30 Issues Interactive from WNYC Data News | Archive of Interactives



Try the interactive game Budget Hero at the Wilson Center


Got a Follow Up?

Each Friday we'll be following up on one of that week's issues. Got a particular follow-up question from this conversation? Comment below or tweet us. Tweet to @brianlehrer