government spending

Countries Spending the Most on the Military

The U.S. has a military budget four times larger than China even with a recent decline of more than $40 billion. Find out which countries spend the most on their military.

Could Slowing Health Care Costs Save Medicare?

The rise in health care costs has significantly outpaced both inflation and economic growth for decades, leading to increasingly dire projections about Medicare's long-term solvency in recent years. Yet some promising trends suggest the government program may get a new lease on life.

Government Downsizes Amid GOP Demands for More Cuts

Republicans and other fiscal conservatives keep insisting on more federal austerity and a smaller government. Without much fanfare or acknowledgement, they've already gotten much of both. Another round of huge cuts, known as the "sequester," will hit beginning March 1.

Debt Crisis Looms as Congress Digs in Its Heels

Legislators show no signs they're heading toward compromise in resolving the nation's next financial crisis, with Democrats talking about further taxes hikes on the rich, and Republicans saying a crippling default on U.S. debt is possible unless they get significant cuts in government spending.

5 Ways the Election Results May Affect Your Retirement

Whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins this election, it's going to impact a host of things beyond those the political ads have been focusing on -- among them, your retirement. Here are the five biggest the next president could make your golden years more -- or less -- secure.

U.S. Economic Recovery Is Weakest Since World War II

Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by a recovery that lasted at least three years. An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the one that began in June 2009 is the weakest.

White House Announces Plan to Ease Student Loans

Noting that it took President Obama 10 years to pay back his student loans, White House officials today announced a new presidential initiative aimed at helping others pay back the cost of their higher educations. Student loans have overtaken credit cards as the nation's largest source of debt.

Consumer Sentiment Index Jumps to Three-Year High

The markets may have had a rough weak as U.S. GDP growth was revised down and Middle East unrest caused oil prices to rise, but the consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level since January 2008. Sentiment has risen for about six months -- an encouraging sign -- but oil prices could sour the mood.

Getting to Zero: How Congress Could Balance the Federal Budget

It took about 10 years of decisions for the federal budget to get more than a trillion dollars out of whack, and it's going to take at least five years to balance it again. The only way to do it is piece-by-piece, with equal sacrifices from both Republicans and Democrats.

Why Interest Rates Keep Rising, Despite QE2

The Federal Reserve is doling out billions to buy bonds in hopes of keeping interest rates low and stimulating the economy. However, several powerful forces are working against that low-rate strategy, ranging from investor psychology to global competition for capital.

America's Malady: A Bad Case of 'Baumol's Disease'

Unlike an illness caused by microscopic invaders of your body, which might raise your temperature and cause you physical aches and pains, Baumol's Cost Disease raises wages and causes some painful shifts in a nation's labor balance. Unfortunately, it's natural, and there's no miracle cure.