January 3rd show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, who will pay for social security?, and life's biggest flops.  In our second hour, the politics of snow removal.
NPR logo January 3rd show

January 3rd show

What's your biggest life belly flop?

The Future Of Social Security
A new Congress convenes this week and one of the main issues on the agenda is the huge budget deficit. Many, including columnist Robert Samuelson, argue that significant cuts must be made to Medicare and Social Security to fund millions of baby boomers, the oldest of whom turn 65 this year. According to Samuelson, the alternative places an unfair burden on younger generations. Others, including Robert Kuttner, the co-editor of The American Prospect, argue that cutting Social Security is needless and the argument that society can't afford it is simply not true. Host Neal Conan talks with Samuelson and Kuttner about who should pay for Social Security -- and what's fair.

Life's Biggest Flops
Broadway's most expensive production ever staged, Julie Taymor's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, is now in previews.  It's already been plagued by money woes, injuries, and delays. Forty years ago, another production was in a similar position. 1972's Via Galactica, then the most expensive musical ever staged, was plagued from the start and closed after only seven nights. Writer Jennifer George calls it her family's big flop.  She writes in The New York Times that seeing Spider-Man brought back difficult memories of her own family's Broadway debacle. Host Neal Conan talks with George and listeners about their most spectacular flops.

Snow Removal
Major snow storms can shut down cities and strand residents.  They can also make -- and break -- political careers.  Frustrated voters often take their snow rage out on city mayors.  Paying for snow removal in this economy is a growing problem.  While the snow may be deep in some places, many state and local budgets are not.  Still, communities are coming up with innovative ways to deal with the deluge.  Neal Conan talks with Mayor Thomas Kock of Quincy, MA and Mick Mercer, a solid waste manager in Loveland, CO, and Joan Vennochi of The Boston Globe about the politics, budget juggling, and innovative procedures regarding snow removal.