Can I Just Tell You?Can I Just Tell You? NPR's Michel Martin gives a distinct take on news and issues

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

Finally, I have a few more words about the series we are running this week. We're calling it Show Me the Recovery and we are going to try to explain some of the challenges and choices around the budget that our government leaders are grappling with on our behalf right now.

As we said earlier in the program, talk about the budget and deficits are dominating the headlines this week because President Obama appointed a bipartisan group to try to get a handle on reining in the government's enormous and growing budget deficits and the accumulating debt. And that group is set to give its report on Wednesday after testing the waters with the chairman's recommendations about a week or so ago. Another group headed by two different people who also represent the two major political parties have released their recommendations already. Both groups call for a combination of spending cuts or caps on spending and tax increases.

Can I just tell you, I know this sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry. It's like when you were in college and the administration asked for student input on something or another and you knew it was important so youd try to find the nerdiest guy or girl in your class and try to get him or her to go so you could go party. But guess what? The party is over, or it will be soon enough. Simply put: the government is spending more than it is raising in revenue and is borrowing to make up the difference. Kind of like living on our credit cards. And just like your credit card, at some point the bill comes due and it is taking up a bigger and bigger share of the budget.

What happens then? Interest rates go up. Everything costs more and there is less to spend on everything else: On our kids, on our seniors, on technology, on everything else. So these are decisions that affect everybody and everybody deserves to understand what is on the table. We are also going to talk about what could improve economic conditions in the near term.

Now I know it's a lot more fun to talk about whether Kanye is an idiot or a genius and why Bristol survived when anybody can see she can't dance. And if you're like most people, you're worried about getting ready for the holidays. And if youre like too many people, you're worried about getting through the holidays with less money in your pockets than you wish you had or that you had last year or the year before.

But worrying and planning are two different things and if you are worried about what's in your wallet - and let's face it, most of us are - then this is the time to listen up because the choices our leaders make or don't make today will have a very great deal to do with what's in your wallet tomorrow and your children's wallets after that. We are going to try to make it as simple as possible, but make no mistake, it's important.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. Im Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Lets talk more tomorrow.

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Can I Just Tell You?Can I Just Tell You? NPR's Michel Martin gives a distinct take on news and issues