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Episode #38

The Looming 'Triple Fiscal Fiasco'

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Friday, January 11, 2013

President Barack Obama makes a statement about progress with congressional leadership regarding the ongoing debt ceiling talks on July 29, 2011 at the White House. (Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images/Getty)

Congress narrowly avoided the fiscal cliff, but now lawmakers face a three-pronged problem that some in Washington say makes the fiscal cliff look like a cakewalk. 

Lawmakers must lift the debt ceiling before the government defaults on its debts on March 1. They also need to review mandatory cuts to military and domestic spending, known as the sequester. Finally, they need to approve funding for government operations in order to prevent a shutdown. 

Erskine Bowles, the chairman of the National Commission on Responsibility and Reform, calls it the "triple fiscal fiasco."

"These deficits of over a trillion dollars a year, they are like a cancer, and it's a cancer that's going to destroy our country from within," Bowles said at an event sponsored by the Campaign to Fix the Debt and NASDAQ OMX Tuesday.

You could also call it Fiscal Cliff 2.0.

This week on WNYC's Money Talking, regular contributors Joe Nocera of the New York Times and Rana Foroohar of Time magazine weigh in on whether the Democrats or Republicans are right when it comes to how they frame the debt ceiling debate. 

President Obama say raising the debt ceiling is about being able to pay bills we've already racked up, while the GOP argues it's about the size of government. 

They also discuss whether it's realistic for the federal government to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin or invoke the 14th Amendment to help solve the problem. 

Plus, more on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new rules for mortgages, AIG's decision not to join a lawsuit against the federal government and President Obama's cabinet appointees for his second term. 

Hosted by:

Charlie Herman

Produced by:

Daniel P. Tucker

Contributors:

Rana Foroohar and Joe Nocera
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
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