Special Report: Running in the Red

Special Report: Running in the Red

A continuing series examining the origins and consequences of the nation's escalating debt

Medicare’s immediate, inescapable problem

(TOBY MELVILLE / REUTERS)

The problem is a demographic one: the enormous wave of baby boomers who started enrolling this year. That concern suggests different solutions, experts say, from those needed to cope with runaway costs.The politically charged debate over Medicare tends to proceed, however, as though the solution lies entirely in squeezing more savings out of the program.

Lots of drama, little debt reduction

Lots of drama, little debt reduction

Lawmakers on both sides are frustrated and pessimistic about the prospects of coming to grips with the federal debt.

Majority of tax breaks go to households

Majority of tax breaks go to households

Broad tax breaks dwarf the “loopholes” for corporations and “carve-outs” for the well-heeled.

Social Security adds to budget woes

Social Security adds to budget woes

The program went “cash negative” last year and is now sucking tens of billions annually from the Treasury.

Origins of the debt showdown

Origins of the debt showdown

The frantic showdown that brought the nation to the brink of default was several years in the making.

GOP’s anti-tax orthodoxy runs deep

GOP’s anti-tax orthodoxy runs deep

Today’s GOP adheres to a “no new taxes” orthodoxy that has proved far more powerful than the desire to balance the budget.

Tax reality check

INTERACTIVE | Lots of numbers are being thrown around in the debate over who pays what in taxes. Here, an examination of what’s behind them.

How the U.S. detoured to massive debt

How the U.S. detoured to massive debt

The nation’s unnerving descent into debt began a decade ago with a choice, not a crisis.

How did the debt obsession start?

How did the debt obsession start?

GRAPHIC NOVEL | The debt-ceiling battle captivated, alarmed and annoyed. But why did it happen?

‘Young Guns’ origins

How key politicians shaped debt debate.

From surplus to debt

Tax cuts, spending and wars have played a role.

Our mountain of debt

Which foreign creditors hold U.S. debt.

How we got here

The history of the federal government’s debt.

Videos: Debt, tax policy showdown

Obama urges Congress to work without drama in 2012

Obama urges Congress to work without drama in 2012

President Obama spoke on Friday after Congress approved the payroll tax cut extension through February. The President urged Congress to extend the tax cut through all of 2012. (Dec. 23)
Rep. Hoyer: Tax cut a 'good Christmas present'

Rep. Hoyer: Tax cut a 'good Christmas present'

Congress on Friday approved a two-month renewal of payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and unemployment benefits for millions. Back-to-back voice vote approvals of the measure took place in the Senate and House. (Dec. 23)
Al Hunt on Payroll-Tax Cut Extension, Iowa Caucuses

Al Hunt on Payroll-Tax Cut Extension, Iowa Caucuses

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Al Hunt, executive editor at Bloomberg News, talks about final congressional approval of a two-month U.S. payroll-tax cut extension and the outlook for the Iowa caucuses. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "InBusiness With Margaret Brennan." (Source: Bloomberg)
Obama signs payroll tax cut extension

Obama signs payroll tax cut extension

President Obama signed legislation extending a payroll tax cut for two months. The action concludes an end-of-year drama that split Republicans and threatened a tax hike on 160 million Americans. (Dec. 23)
Harry Reid: Start compromising in 2012

Harry Reid: Start compromising in 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called on Democrats and Republicans to end partisan fighting and return to compromise in the new year. Reid made the remarks after the Senate approved an extension to the payroll tax cut. (Dec. 23)
Boehner: 'Our members waged a good fight'

Boehner: 'Our members waged a good fight'

Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that House GOP leaders agreed to a 2-month extension of the payroll tax cut on Thursday. (Dec. 22)
Rep. Steny Hoyer gets angry after GOP walkout

Rep. Steny Hoyer gets angry after GOP walkout

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer accused Republicans of "walking away" from Americans in need of tax relief. He made the comments on the House floor when the chamber adjourned for the day after conducting no business. (Dec. 21)
Obama: Congress must extend payroll tax cut

Obama: Congress must extend payroll tax cut

President Barack Obama says there is no reason for the government to shut down. He said Congress "cannot and should not leave for vacation" until they've made sure that a payroll tax increase doesn't happen. (Dec. 15)
Obama pushes GOP to extend payroll tax cuts

Obama pushes GOP to extend payroll tax cuts

President Obama says the nation's economy would be dealt a "massive blow" if Congress fails to extend a payroll tax cut. (Nov. 30)

Interactive graphic

Votes that pushed us into the red

A new take on the overlapping priorities that led us to record deficits, and who voted for them.

Motion graphic

Why boats get tax breaks

How one tax break, originally designed to encourage home-ownership for middle-class Americans, continues to allow the rich to write off vacation homes and yachts.