Washington (CNN) - The deficit tangle is a web of complex, long-term, financial problems. But no one seems to ask a basic question: Do members of Congress have those kinds of math skills?
Some of them can't do simple math on the spot (example in latest American Sauce podcast: 642-211). Many of them have mixed up "billions" and "trillions". And the vast majority of Congress comes from professions that don't involve high-level math.
Capitol Hill (CNN) – President Obama rails against "tax cuts for the wealthy." Republicans passionately push back, saying the president wants to hike taxes on "job creators." Meanwhile, the spending cut knife and partisan debate hover over Medicare and Medicaid, two programs critical to many of the poor. Neither side admits it, but the massive budget battle of 2012 hinges on the age-old debate of rich versus poor.
The twist now: the gap between rich and poor in America is growing dramatically. Yet, few in Congress or the media tackle the uncomfortable topic directly.
Not so, CNN's American Sauce. This week we lay out exactly where things stand for rich and poor in the United States, the status of the middle class (what is the middle class?) and we have blunt conversations with a multimillionaire and a woman of more humble means who are neighbors in New York City.
The point is not to blame either side, but to take a sober look at a tremendous issue in politics and American life.
Comment below. Listen here.
Or keep reading for some key statistics on rich and poor in the U.S.
Capitol Hill (CNN) - On Capitol Hill, the end of Osama bin Laden is opening up a new chapter in the debate over the war he sparked. (See what Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, told CNN over the weekend here.) This week, American Sauce burrows into the basic and slippery question of "what is the mission in Afghanistan?" You'll hear a difference between how Presidents Bush and Obama described the objectives and how the military in Afghanistan outlined them to us last week.
Capitol Hill (CNN) - What do you think the deficit debate is about? How to cut the $1.5 trillion deficit? The dream of, some far off day, bringing down the $14.2 trillion national debt?
Try: It's about what Americans want their country to be. What society and government will become.
In this week's American Sauce, we look at the congressional deficit battle big picture. How this money fight could shape American society and government for years. We focus on three larger issues in this fight and compare how the plans from Team Obama and the GOP's Team Ryan would steer the broader future.
Capitol Hill (CNN) - As we shake off the political hangover from Friday, American Sauce brings you what we know about this shutdown-averting-(barely) budget deal. In three sensible parts:
1. The Money Details We Know
2. The Policy Details We Know
3. Why This Was All a Relatively Dumb Debate