New York (CNNMoney) – The political bickering over the automatic spending cuts has done little but cloud the public's understanding of what's going on and why.
So we'll try to set the record straight on at least a few oft-repeated misconceptions.
New York (CNNMoney) – When it comes to budgeting for the federal government, things are about to get strange.
Starting Friday, federal agencies will be forced to make cuts to their programs without knowing what their actual budgets for this year will be. Why? Because Congress never passed a budget, just a stopgap funding measure that expires soon.
New York (CNNMoney) - Chances are slim that Congress will avert the automatic spending cuts before they take effect on Friday. It's more likely lawmakers will reach a deal to replace the cuts after they begin.
But there's no telling when.
Funding for numerous federal agencies and programs will be slashed, half from defense and half from nondefense spending.
New York (CNNMoney) – The budgets of most federal government programs and agencies will shrink on March 1.
Congress could prevent that from happening, but it's not likely to do so before the deadline.
New York (CNNMoney) – Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson proposed a new framework Tuesday to cut the country's debt by $2.4 trillion over the next decade.
Bowles and Simpson were the co-chairmen of President Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission in 2010, and their recommendations came to serve as a yardstick for other debt-reduction proposals.
New York (CNNMoney) – The $85 billion in spending reductions looming over the federal government will cut into the nation's homeland security department and affect how it carries out vital missions, a top Obama administration official warned Wednesday.
"Sequestration would roll back border security, increase wait times at our nation's land ports of entry and airports, affect aviation and maritime safety and security, leave critical infrastructure vulnerable to attacks, hamper disaster response time ... and significantly scale back cyber security infrastructure protections," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote in a letter to lawmakers.
New York (CNNMoney) – Like suspense, confusion and midnight deals? Draw a big red circle around March.
It's chock full of cliffhanger deadlines and budget proposals that could drive the country's finances for the foreseeable future.
New York (CNNMoney) – If Congress and President Obama are ever going to get serious about tax reform, they will have to rethink some of the biggest and most popular tax breaks.
It won't be easy.
New York (CNNMoney) - What's to blame for the big growth in federal debt? Republicans blame runaway spending. Democrats blame tax cuts.
Neither is quite right. The fact is both spending and taxes play a role.
New York (CNNMoney) – House Republicans have put aside the debt ceiling as leverage in their fight for spending cuts. Now their goal is to balance the federal budget in 10 years.
Leading the charge will be Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, who is drafting the GOP's proposed 2014 budget.