Let's take that idea of playing out a little further now. The budget standoff has been described in all sorts of dramatic terms. So we decided to look into what the great works of the stage can tell us about this debate over tax hikes and spending cuts, and how it will play out. Think of it as "The Fiscal Cliff for English Majors."
NPR White House correspondent - and English major - Ari Shapiro has this take.
As we head into the holiday season, political leaders are un-merrily locked in a battle over how to cut federal spending and raise revenue - and this could mean meddling with tax deductions that many Americans hold dear.
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So this week and next, we're taking a closer look at individual deductions and tax credits that might be on the chopping block.
A new report out this morning finds women are still not making much progress moving up the corporate ladder. Only a small number of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies are women, and the nonprofit group Catalyst shows the number has not changed much in years. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
The warnings have come from the White House, Western capitals and the U.N. Syria's president, Bashar al Assad, must not use chemical weapons against the rebels and his people.
Publicly, Syrian officials deny having a chemical stockpile. They insist they would never use one if they had one. But U.S. officials have said there are signs that the Syrian army is readying its chemical arsenal for use.
President Obama and House speaker John Boehner have been holding private conversations about how to avoid the fiscal cliff, but still no deal. That has many in Washington talking about how it wasn't always so difficult to get things done. For some insight, we called John Danforth. He's a former Republican senator from Missouri and spent decades forging deals across the aisle, including the 1986 tax reform law under President Reagan. As he sees it, lawmakers aren't approaching the current problem from the right angle.
Lines of communication remain open in an effort to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff," according to the White House and House Speaker John Boehner.
If no deal is reached between now and the end of the year, would the consequences be that drastic?
To answer that question, let's imagine it's January and the nation has gone off the "fiscal cliff." You don't really feel any different and things don't look different, either. That's because, according to former congressional budget staffer Stan Collender, the cliff isn't really a cliff.
Earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey announced an updated version of her popular book club, this time called Book Club 2.0. Her first pick, Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, experienced best-seller list success thanks to what some people are calling the "Oprah bump." And last week Winfrey announced her second pick, a novel called The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, a first-time author.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks about expanding Medicaid during a speech to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in Little Rock, Ark., on Nov. 14. The federal government hasn't set a deadline for states to decide on their Medicaid expansion plans.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing delivers his State of the City address on March 7. If Bing and the City Council can't agree on a plan to reduce the city's budget deficit, state officials are poised to take away their power over Detroit's finances.
Detroit officials face a tough vote Tuesday as they try to keep their city from going over its own "fiscal cliff." If the mayor and City Council cannot agree on a plan to reduce the city's budget deficit, state officials are poised to take away their power and assume total control over Detroit's finances.
It's been a continuing vicious cycle: Detroit's population exodus, lost tax revenue and chronic mismanagement have left the city burning through cash to the point where the state of Michigan has to provide funding to help the city meet payroll for the next few months.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who was recently fired, review military officers on Moscow's Red Square in May. Putin's decision to sack Serdyukov has touched off widespread speculation on the motive.
In a statement on Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department said it will launch an underwritten public offering to sell its remaining 234,169,156 common stock shares in insurer American International Group Inc., better known as AIG.
The U.S. government bought the controlling stake in the company as part of the $182 billion bank bailout in 2008. The sale would bring an end to the government's run as the company's largest shareholder, which represented a 16-percent ownership in the company.
By the year 2030, for the first time in history, a majority of the world's population will be out of poverty. Middle classes will be the most important social and economic sector. Asia will enjoy the global power status it last had in the Middle Ages, while the 350-year rise of the West will be largely reversed. Global leadership may be shared, and the world is likely to be democratizing.
To listen to Mandalit del Barco's appreciation of Jenni Rivera's life and career, as heard on All Things Considered, click the audio link.
Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera died Sunday in an airplane that crashed in the early hours of the morning in Toluca, west of Mexico's capital. The legendary musician, household name and feminist presence in the Latin music scene was 43.
Update at 7 a.m. ET, Dec. 11. Settlement Announced:
Saying that "we accept responsibility for our past mistakes," the chief executive of Britain's HSBC has confirmed that the banking giant will pay a record $1.9 billion to settle charges related to a money laundering scheme in the U.S.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama got out of Washington today. He visited a car plant this afternoon in Detroit. The president was there, in part, to talk jobs and to herald some good news for manufacturing in Michigan. But looming over today's visit, and over much of what Mr. Obama does these days, are the budget negotiations back in Washington.
After the U.N. General Assembly upgraded the status of the Palestinian Authority to an observer state the week before last, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with an expansion of housing plans on the West Bank, near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The U.S. called that counterproductive. And it came after Washington had backed Israel in the U.N., helped Egypt mediate a cease-fire in Gaza and funded production of Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.
A Nordstrom salesperson shows a customer an online selection of shoes on an in-store iPad. Like some other retailers, Nordstrom is using mobile devices to make on-the-spot sales and check companywide product inventory instantly.
Credit Courtesy of Nordstrom
More stores are processing instant payments using mobile devices, enabling customers to bypass the checkout counter.
The women's shoe department at Nordstrom's flagship store in Seattle is bustling. Shoppers are trying on everything from stilettos to rain boots — and when they're ready to buy, they can pay up right where they are.
The sales associate simply whips out a modified iPod Touch and scans the shoe box's bar code. The handheld device contains a credit card reader, too, so the customer can just hand over the plastic and sign with a fingertip. There's no trek to the cash register and no line to wait in.
Now an observation about budget deals, tax increases, ideology, and self interest here in the United States. It comes from writer Joel Kotkin, who covers demographic, social and economic trends. Kotkin recently wrote a piece for Forbes called "The Blue-State Suicide Pact." It's about who favors and who would be hit by a higher tax rate for income over $250,000 a year. And Kotkin says the states that would be hardest hit by the very tax increases that Democrats favor are the states where Democrats tend to be the strongest.
That raid is one of a number of recent examples of U.S. special operations taking the direct approach, conducting a targeted military strike. This is what special operators are best known for. It's the reason the special ops budget has more than quadrupled since 9/11, and it's the kind of approach that killed Osama bin Laden.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
Kennebunk, Maine, is the quintessential small New England town, attracting tourists every year to its beaches and shops. But this fall, it became known for something else: a prostitution scandal. Police publish new lists of alleged patrons every other week, and those who are rumored to be patrons face months of speculation. Maine Public Radio's Patty Wight reports.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 6:04 am
Pulling out a porcupine quill is painful and slow, as many a dog discovers to its dismay after tangling with the big rodent. But those tenacious quills are inspiring efforts to develop better medical devices, including less painful needles.
It turns out that no one had really picked apart why it's so hard to remove a porcupine quill. Barbs, sure. But the barbs not only stick like mad. They also make it much easier for the quill to pierce skin and flesh.
And if past negotiations are any indication, that silence could mean the talks are going well. We're joined now by NPR's congressional reporter Tamara Keith, who has been following developments on the Hill and beyond. And as Ari just said, neither side is talking about the details, but Tamara, what are they saying?