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Behind the rhetoric over the federal deficit is the reality of a problem that must be dealt with, and questions abound: Will Washington avoid an economic train wreck? Will Social Security and Medicare take big hits? This page breaks down the issues with proposals, tools and viewpoints.
Medicare: Where Experts Think Congress May Look for Savings
Social Security: COLAs in the Crosshairs
Too Much to Cut, Too Little Time?
The key terms you need to know, plus answers to frequently asked questions.
Play our interactive game to close the gap. It may not be as easy as you think.
How You'd Cut the Deficit- The Results Are In
You used our budget calculator and then posted your ideas. But is Washington listening?
The Fiscal Wars: An Interactive Timeline
See, at a glance, the daunting issues that Capitol Hill lawmakers have been wrestling with — and how each one could affect you.
Out of Balance: The $607 Billion Problem
Here, at a glance, are the projected revenue and spending levels for the 2015 federal budget. It's not exactly a pretty picture.
Obama's newest plan would spare Social Security and raise taxes on millionaires.
This bipartisan Senate plan targets Social Security and Medicare.
Obama pushes 'grand bargain' that would cut $4 trillion from the budget over 10 years.
“I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program," Obama says.
House GOP plan targets Medicare, Medicaid, and health care reform law.
Commission offers plan that would raise Medicare premiums and retirement age.
"Our political process is broken," writes David Walker, former comptroller general of the United States.
Reality Check: The National Debt
Economist Dean Baker talks with AARP about how Washington is handling decisions regarding the national debt.
Dealing for Debt Reduction
A leading defender of Social Security on the joint congressional ‘supercommittee’ talks about the challenges its members face.
Alice Rivlin: Leading Deficit Charge
An expert on fiscal policy, the economist heads efforts to close the nation's budget gap.
Time to Bury the Hatchet and Get to Work
"Both parties are playing chicken, hoping to force the other into a suicidal if courageous act of actual deficit cutting."
Tell Washington how you would strengthen these programs for the long term.
Reject Proposals to Cut Medicare Benefits
"Washington needs to stop viewing Medicare and Social Security simply as line items in the federal budget."
Ryan Plan Would Shift Costs to Older People
"We urge that we not upend crucial programs that will come at the cost of seniors’ health and financial security."
Panel Proposes Multiple Hits on Retirees
"AARP remains deeply concerned that the recommendations from the commission would take our nation in the wrong direction."
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