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What’s at Stake: Debt and entitlements

We may be in a financial hole now, but the situation is about to get a whole lot worse. Millions of baby boomers are turning 65, which, of course, makes them eligible for Medicare. And that program, which already consumes approximately one sixth of the entire federal budget on its own, is becoming less and less financially sound. With the country already facing huge debts, fixing Medicare becomes even more difficult. The question is does either presidential candidate have a politically viable remedy?


From Need to Know

The fiscal cliff

This deadline is known as the “fiscal cliff” — the confluence of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts that will go into effect should Congress not act before January 1.

Portraits of hunger: Stories of Americans on food stamps

Food stamps have become a political issue in the campaign, and Need to Know examines why a record number of Americans need help buying food every month.

Explaining taxmageddon

A panel of experts tells you everything you need to know about “the fiscal cliff.”

PBS Election Coverage:


Explore the NewsHour’s full coverage of the business and the economy. Take special note of the primer for all ages: “What is the Middle Class?” And, explore the fascinating election feature: Patchwork Nation.

Washington Week in Review

Explore Washington Week’s collection of essential reads on the economy and the election


FRONTLINE, PBS’ Peabody and Pulitzer award-winning investigative series on business and the economy: news, analysis and signature documentaries. Don’t miss “Ten Trillion and Counting.”


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    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
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    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
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      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.