What you need to know about the debt debate that will dominate the 2012 election, thanks to the supercommittee's failure to come up with a deficit deal
The collapse of the supercommittee in November guarantees that arguments over U.S. debt won't go away in 2012. Instead, the presidential race should only intensify partisan bickering over our debt, who's responsible for it, and what we can and should do about it.
Consider this your end-of-year glossary and guide to next year's debt debate. Despite the noise, there are some objective facts underlying the debate to which we can anchor ourselves. Only after we understand these facts about the U.S.'s actual and projected fiscal health can we define a set of rational policy responses to remedy what everyone agrees is a looming, and potentially devastating problem.
The Budget of the United States
The Budget Process
The Budget of the United Sates is a plan, submitted by the President to Congress around the beginning of each calendar year, for raising revenues and allocating funding to various government agencies, programs and other expenses over the following year. For example, the budget for 2013 will set forth the President's view of how to best raise revenues and allocate funding during 2013, and will be submitted to Congress in early 2012. After the budget is submitted by the President, legislative wrangling follows, as Congress sets out to generate a bill containing Congress' answer to the President's budget. After this bill is passed by both chambers of Congress, it is presented to the President, who can then sign it, or veto it.